Losing My Religion, er…I mean my Phone

You have to laugh. I was doing some research on addiction – a story about a Poker Player who quits the game. A thought entered my mind – Quit My Phone. I don’t know why, but it did. so I Googled it. This led me to a NY Times article about Phone Addiction. A rabbit hole, although, apparently this is also called a K-Hole. Oh, the things I’m learning. This led me to a setting on my phone called Screen Time. You can set a daily time limit on your phone as to how long you would like to spend on certain apps. I didn’t know you could do this. So I opened it up and, right away, it starts counting time. You’ve been on 1 second, no, 9 seconds etc. Oh, it’s working right as of right now, so I guess it somehow doesn’t count the time before this moment. It’s not like somehow the phone, independant of me, knew I would arrive here someday. So I look at the choices and click “limit social media apps.” It doesn’t show Facebook per se, it just says Social Media. And then you set a limit. The default is 10 minutes, but I knew that wasn’t realistic, so I set 30 minutes. That’s not realistic either, but in my naivete, that’s what I set. Like, let’s see if I could do that. A challenge to myself. I back out, and oh, look at that, some of my apps are already ghosted or greyed. I click on the greyed Facebook app and it opens to a Time Limit screen, and it says “You’ve reached your limit on Facebook.” It also gives you a clickable option to ignore the limit. I back out and look again at the ghosted Facebook icon, and boom, there it is; I feel a loss, a pang of some sort. Uh oh, there’s my addiction. The phone full well knew what I had done today, and dang, according to my own setting, I shouldn’t open it anymore today. Like, hey, I was only playing with this idea of addiction, but what, you can’t even get through the first day? And that makes me laugh, in an embarrassed kind of way. In a room, all by myself. So we’ll see how this goes. And of course, I’m typing this from my laptop, so I wonder if it counts? Maybe my laptop and phone talk to each other on the cloud. “Psst, he’s back on.” “I know. Just try to be supportive. Listen, don’t judge…”


Her Friday Night

He was coming over for dinner. She had called him, and said, it was just leftovers but he was welcome to join her. He knew better. She had such an amazing touch in the kitchen, he would gladly ‘settle’ for her leftovers.

When he came in the door, she was on the phone. “I have to go,” she said, “my ‘Friday night’ is here.” She didn’t wink at him, like she was making a joke. It made him wonder, what she thought of him, or them. They had known each other for years, and finally, when they were both single again, had slept together. On more than one occasion.

She had a way of being direct. He thought, maybe it was cultural, she being of Chinese heritage. Or was it just her? He knew she was empathetic. He had seen her at her job, as a caregiver. She was kind and caring. She left that stable job at a large company, because they thought she was spending too much time on each patient, instead of pushing them through faster.

He had a special needs child, who was actually in his mid-twenties. The situation made life challenging. Single women were attracted to him, but when they met his son, they didn’t walk away, they ran. But she didn’t.

And now they were spending more and more time together.

But what was he to her? As time went on, he wanted a deeper relationship. But she had been resistant. He thought maybe it was because she was divorced. Maybe it had something to do with her three children, although the oldest was approaching 40.

Now he thinks he knows better. He guesses her first bout with breast cancer had left her wary of getting too attached to anyone else. In the months leading up, he had seen little signs that her health was changing, but managed to convince himself, he was worrying too much.

Then he overheard her talking to a nurse. “It’s in my bones now,” she said. She’s in hospice now, the cancer having spread throughout much of her body. It’s only a matter of time. He’s never seen anyone die like this. His father went quickly, with a heart attack.

Despite the fact that he was the one to accompany her when she was admitted, despite he being the only one with her for the first two weeks, the doctors and nurses don’t talk to him. They don’t tell him anything, because he’s not family.

Her three grown children are here now, and her parents, estranged from her for years, have flown in from Calgary. They don’t regard him as family either, if they regard him at all.

But in their private moments together, he knows, she knows, he’s more than just ‘her Friday night’.

Karma is a bitch named ___________ (your name goes here).


Recently a friend and I were out to lunch and he liked the salsa so much, he asked the waiter if it was for sale. The waiter said it was, for $8 a jar, but he could just have one. My friend asked for two jars, and when the waiter returned, he said they would be added to the bill. 

Out on the sidewalk, my friend noticed he wasn’t charged. I could see he was conflicted, as he looked at the bill three times. We both agreed it was confusing as to whether the waiter intended to give it to him. I added the only way to clear it up was to go back, but he mumbled that he had been fully willing to pay, and thought he had.

A day later, he emails me saying, ‘stuff like this eats away at me, should I go back and pay?’  I said the fact that he’s been thinking about his $16 salsa for two days is the answer he is looking for. 

Karma is a bitch named ________ (your name goes here). Because we know what is right, but sometimes we just don’t act on our instincts.

I asked my friend, ‘What would you teach your children to do?’ 

Every day, honest people return things that aren’t theirs and we hear how the person it was returned to was both surprised and forever thankful.  

Recently, a homeless man returned a $4000 diamond ring to a woman who accidentally dropped it in his hat. People were so inspired by this story, he ended up with over $188,000 in donations. The publicity resulted in the homeless man being reunited with his family.


So what’s the lesson?

Karma may be a bitch, but it can also be an opportunity named ___________ (your name goes here). It’s up to you. 

So next time, don’t be a shoulda, or a coulda, be a ‘did’. Act.

My friend did, calling back, Visa card at the ready.