I’m pretty sure technology is ruining my love life. Either that or the problem is actually me. So naturally, I am going to assume society’s transfixion with serial upgrading to the next best thing is the reason I remain without a steady make out partner.
My theory was discussed over beers with a stranger I met last night in an Irish pub. I was chatting with my former roommate when a group of young men asked us for directions. They were pleasant and we wound up conversing with them for a bit. One told me about his ex-girlfriend. She was perfect, he said. But he wasn’t into her. After receiving a note from my ex-boyfriend not 24 hours beforehand I was particularly intrigued to hear what this person had to say.
ME: Why is that?
HIM: I don’t know. I guess it was too easy. It got boring. If it’s too easy you lose interest.
ME: Hmm. But I don’t like fighting. I like verbal sparring, but I am actually quite easy to live with. So what are you saying – should I be more difficult?
HIM: No. Don’t be difficult. I guess it’s like magnets. If they’re too far apart they don’t work, and if they’re too close together they repel each other. You want it to be like when you’re holding them nearby and you can feel that energy.
ME: I get it. So you didn’t have that magic?
HIM: No. Then again, I don’t know what I’m talking about. Maybe I’m a serial bachelor? I’m selfish. I like doing my own thing. I just didn’t want to give a lot of my time to her. But maybe if I was into her, I would have.
ME: You’re onto something there. I think if you like a person then you want to see them, you make an effort to be with them. You call them.
HIM: I don’t know. I don’t call girls.
ME: Fine, text them.
HIM: I hate texting.
ME: So what do you do if you like a girl?
HIM: I don’t know. It’s hard nowadays. And it’s been a while. I guess I’m always afraid there’s always something better out there.
ME: (Eyebrows arch in response.)
HIM: (Laughing) I know. I know. The grass is always greener.
ME: I think it has to do with technology. Our generation is one of serial upgraders. We were brought up to buy clothes we don’t need, throw away gadgets that still work, anticipate the release of the 3.0 and 4.0 versions of products while still unwrapping the one fresh off the shelves. We fantasize about the arrival of products that haven’t even been created yet because of the promise they hold for making our lives easier, better, and more fulfilling. No wonder our generation is having trouble settling down.
But the thing is, after we’ve waited in line for three hours at the Apple store for the arrival of the next iPhone, iPod, iwhatever, we get home, play with it for a couple of days, get excited about its new features, brag about it to our friends, then experience a few hiccups with the software, and our lives go back to normal. And then we look for something new to get excited about.
It’s like my grandparent’s stove.
HIM: (Forehead crumples.) Explain.
ME: Growing up I always thought they had this ugly stove. It was big and white with big round knobs and I remember my grandmother always had American chop suey sitting in a frying pan on top. I always wondered why they didn’t get a new one. But the last time I was home in March I really looked at the stove again. It is at least 50 years old. It still works like new. It’s extremely heavy. It was made in America. The thing is gorgeous. Nowadays, nothing is built to last.
HIM: (Smiling) Maybe that stove is symbolic of their relationship.
ME: Probably – No upgrades. I’m not saying things are perfect with them. Sure, they occasionally bicker. And when they play cards my grandmother walks away in a huff saying my grandfather cheated. He retorts, ‘I don’t cheat, I win.’ And then complains she doesn’t cook for him anymore. But you know what, at the end of the day, they come back to the kitchen table, sit in front of that old stove, and ante up for another round.