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The Shocking Day My Husband Intervened And Took My Cell Phone

Randy grabs Laurie's cell phone

Husband, Randy,  snatches away Laurie’s cell phone.

By Laurie Stone

The other morning my husband Randy did something so unexpected, so out of the blue, so sudden, so surprising, I gasped in sputtering disbelief. “It’s for your own good,” he said as I stood there, blinking back tears. I never thought I’d see this behavior in my spouse of 37 years.

Yes, Randy snatched away my cell phone. “You’re always in your own world, Laurie. You’re addicted to screens. You don’t hear half of what I say.”

I stared in disbelief. “That’s not true. Wait…I’m sorry…what?”

He pocketed the device with an irritating knowingness. “Exactly. I dare you to go without your phone or laptop for half a day. If I’m wrong, that shouldn’t be a problem.”

I tried to appear nonchalant, but inwardly I panicked. How would I check my latest Facebook post? Or Twitter feed?

How would I know the weather forecast? News? Stocks? Mail? How would I listen to music or view the latest Eckhart Tolle video?

How would I play Words with Friends or see the latest cute puppy meme?

What would happen if — God forbid — I wanted to drive somewhere without my cell phone? What if my car broke down and I had to ring a stranger’s doorbell?

I took deep breaths. I can do this, I told myself. Since this was Saturday, I could go without writing and the laptop. But go without the phone? Good God.

Over the next few hours, I drifted around the house and wondered what we did before cell phones. How did we all exist? What did we do with our time? I honestly couldn’t remember.

But then a few more hours passed and something strange happened.

I took my daily walk. Instead of looking down constantly at my phone to put another song on my I-Pod or see how many steps I’d taken, I actually looked around. I saw how the light seemed brighter and stronger than usual. Something had shifted with the earth. I saw how beautiful the leafy tree branches looked against the blue sky.

I cleaned my house without stopping every few minutes because my cell phone “pinged” with the latest notification. I felt more focused and in the moment.

As more time passed, I realized Randy was right. I do spend too much time gazing at my phone. Without it, I felt lighter, not so tethered to the world and its problems. My ego didn’t base its worth on how many “likes” or “retweets” or “pins” I had.

Later that night, Randy and I went out to dinner. He had given me back the phone by then, but I had gotten used to it not being there. There were no furtive glances to check headlines as Randy looked at the menu. There was no diving in and reading texts and emails while he went off to use the restroom.

Out of habit, Randy had the waiter take our picture and posted it to Facebook.

A few minutes later, he picked up his phone to see if people were starting to respond. I took the device from his hand. “What’s good for me is good for you,” I told him.

He gazed in confusion. “But I need to check how many likes we have!”

I smiled. “You were right about the cell phone, but that goes for both of us. Remember in the old days, we used to just, er, talk?”

Like two scientists on an archeological dig, we tried to remember those ancient times, before children, when it was just us. Like a conversational high-wire act, we conversed back then without a safety net. We entertained each other. We didn’t have devices sitting there — distracting and diverting us with their seductive siren song. Come see what I have to show you. You can have the world at your fingertips. All you have to do is pick me up.

I looked at Randy and a strange idea dawned. “Do you think we can have a meal without any smart phone usage?”

His eyes became determined. “I believe we can.”

I felt like Thelma and Louise about to drive off the cliff. I took his hand. “We can do this.”

He squeezed back. “Let’s go for it.”

He slipped his phone back into his pocket.

11 Responses to “The Shocking Day My Husband Intervened And Took My Cell Phone”

  1. Carla says:

    I love this. I’m really working – – a little bit every day – – to lessen my grip on the cell phone. I find I’m tethered to the smart phone when the child is at school in case she texts but when she’s home I try to jettison the whole damn thing!

  2. My husband and I are so bad about this. I really didn’t think it was a problem until my phone charger broke one day. I felt my anxiety rising as the battery slowly drained. I was almost in a full panic when it finally died. I felt lost. Thats when I realized how dependent I have become on my phone. Now, admittedly, I am still bad about it during the week. But on the weekends, I try to put it down and forget about it for periods of time. Just making that conscious effort has helped tremendously

  3. Shari says:

    Something no doubt many of us can relate to!

  4. Jennifer says:

    Oh, this made me laugh because I can see me and my husband in you and Randy. It’s funny how we used to go everywhere without a phone. I’d just call my parents from my friend’s house or a payphone. Now we take pictures of payphones with our smartphones.

  5. Love this post! It goes to show any of us can get addicted to our screens, but how great that you’ve broken the habit and rediscovered talking to your spouse 🙂

  6. Lorraine says:

    Omg.. Laurie..its so true ! Most people can’t go 10 min without their phones..I long to see kids talking to their friends, and playing outside like we did as children.. When I go out with friends on a date in the car.. mine is shut off and put away..

  7. Diane says:

    I had to turn my phone off while we were vacationing early this year. It was SO freeing!

  8. Megan says:

    Loved it! I almost feel like it ended with… to be continued. What a novel idea. Actually look at and talk to the human in the room with you. Maybe I should give it a try!

  9. Smart husband. I am the same as you. Totally addicted plus my work is all online. We both need to stop our addiction! Love the photo!

  10. Erith says:

    This is so true. I came relatively late to iphones, so I haven’t reached total addiction point yet, but but my ipad is always at my hand when watching tv. I do have trouble setting it down.
    It is good to go time without them. I also feel ‘wrong’ if I am driving and I realise I haven’t a phone. How did I cope for years without one.

  11. Channon Gray says:

    This one made me smile – I’m not sure how long I’d last without my phone! Needs to be surgically removed from me sometimes!

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