Posted on January 31, 2019
by Steve Janowick

How in the hell did I get here?

Of course, that’s a rhetorical question, because I know exactly how I got here.  But I don’t want to beat that drum today.  I’m actually developing shoulder issues and a bit of carpal tunnel from beating that drum so often.  I’m, honestly, a bit sick of hearing myself talk (write) about the how’s and why’s ever-advancing technologies have changed and affected me

But, damn.

Just the other day I was having a heated conversation with my wife.  I won’t get into the gory details, but let’s just say that I was the one who did the screwing up-as usual.  Thankfully, these arguments are very few and far between at this stage in our marriage, so when they do happen, not so thankfully, they’re more intense and potentially upsetting.

Every relationship experiences them.  Since the beginning of time, man and woman have disagreed and argued.  And up until a few years ago they all took place face to face or on the telephone.  You wanted to get something off your chest? You had to have the balls to look her in the eyes to say it.  And you better be prepared for a retaliatory engagement-and all that goes with it. Same with the telephone.  You want to start yelling your point? You better be ready for some high-pitched shrieks and shrills in return.

Ahhh, the good ole’ days.

But this recent argument with my better half?  Well, the whole thing played out on the illuminated screen of a 5-inch hunk of composite aluminum and plastic-while a hundred miles apart from each other.  I spent 45 minutes, pulled over on the side of the road, going at it with her as fast as my thumbs would allow me-and that’s not too fast. A grown-ass man grunting and sulking under my breath as I pushed letters to form words that would light up on her phone-and make my point!  And every time I hit send, I waited for the dreaded three dot response bubble! If it popped up, I knew I was about to get an “earful”. I actually felt my heart palpitate every time that damn bubble appeared, because I knew the argument would continue and I may bury myself deeper.

I’m trying to picture Charles Bronson getting stressed over animated screen bubbles…and I just can’t seem to envision it.

Anyway, our fight continued.  We went back and forth. Words misspelled.  Exclamation points abound! Entire sentences capitalized.  Until, at one point, I asked her through my anxious thumb pushing “why did you come at me like that?  Why did you take a shot?” But, of course, what she read was “why did you take a shit?” And that technological misspelling auto-correct blunder on my part was enough to momentarily dissipate the anger and frustration in both of us.

Yea, the good ole days.  When you could actually taste the salt in her tears and smell the anger in her breath.  When arguing was organic and substantive. When it was raw and real and in the flesh. When it was passionate and dramatic.  When you could see the eyes of your combatant. Read her thoughts through those eyes. And then, hopefully, when it was all over and resolved, embrace her, and maybe even cry with her.

Sadly, I experienced none of that in my last argument.  I was alone in my car, wondering if she was alright. Wishing I could hug her and tell her to her face how sorry I was, and how lucky I was to have her.  But instead I did the next best thing. What every 21st century tough guy would do.  The manly thing…

I sent her a pouting, smiley face emoji and a heart.

Please don’t judge me, Charles!

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