My husband and the boys mix a seaweed soup off the distant jetty. I gaze into a misty horizon, body limp; Yingling nestled in the sand. The rhythm of the waves at low tide aim to sooth.
Poing. A hand twitches.
Ding. Temples throb.
The allure of mommy solitude is not enough for me to ignore the sound. I reach for the iPhone.
Whose texting me?
Who shared my post?
How many friends “liked” my status?
Did a literary agent send an offer email at long last?
It’s the final evening of our family vacation. It shouldn’t matter. And yet my brain sizzles with curiosity.
Outsiders observe. An intervention ensues.
Crash. The waves argue their case.
Ring. The ice cream vendor shakes his bell with disgust.
Whistle. Even the diving kite overhead has something to say.
Nature’s hum is no match for the cocaine colored Otterbox clutched in my palm as I tap and swipe and stare.
My tween is wise to my growing affliction. “Mom, you’re always on the phone. Didn’t you say no electronics at the beach? We are on vacation, you know.”
“You’re right,” I nod, tweet discreetly and drum up an excuse. “I only use it to take pictures.”
The five year old is convinced the world’s problems can be solved and the universe’s questions answered with a search engine or app. “Why did my bucket float away? Where did the wave take it? When is it coming back? Mom? Mom? Mom?” He lifts my chin. “Type it in.”
Many of my peers seem in control. A walk on the beach with a childhood friend revealed her reasoning behind a quiet Facebook presence. Upon stowing her iPhone in my fanny pack she shared, “Years ago, I found myself sifting through a wedding album of a friend of a friend and thought, what am I doing? It was then that I made a conscious decision to stop.”
Tongue tied and stupefied, I rationalized a half-assed reason why, as a writer building a platform and in search of representation I needed to be savvy with social media.
There was a time when I sneered at the mother who looked at a smartphone in lieu of my face during a conversation at a preschool birthday party and rolled my eyes at the texting parent who barked orders from the playground bench. Now I am that mommy.
And I know better. I follow Hands Free Mama’s Facebook page. I Pinterest technology articles. I even held onto my Blackberry and a flip phone before that until recently because I prefer not to be plugged in.
I teach my children moderation. The tween survived an electronic free sleep away camp, Deletion Day and is painfully aware that a phone in his immediate future is unlikely. The Kindergartener doesn’t ask for technology at restaurants, in the car or on vacation. Both follow usage rules at home.
But my do as I say not as I do approach will not last much longer.
The sun is setting.
My little guy giggles up the dune chased by his brother who lizards across the sand. Their father brings up the rear. I stash the phone in the pocket of the Tommy Bahama lounger, pretend to scribble in my journal and mindfully confess – I am an iPhone addict.
Someone point me in the direction of rehab.