Technically Speaking



It had sounded like a great idea after three mojitos.

“Jason’s driving, right, Will?” said Ron the bartender, handing me a glass of water.

“This guy,” I told Ron, my arm around Jason, “did laps around the living room last night. Just to get to 10,000 steps before bed!”

“What? I like to stay in shape,” Jason said.

“Obviously,” said Ron, winking at me.

“He’s obsessed with his phone,” I carried on, buoyed by an alcoholic river of truth. “He’s on it twenty-four seven.”

“So? I’m a gadget guy.”

“My gadget guy,” I said, planting a smooch on his stubbly cheek.

“You’re drunk, Will,” said Jason, smiling.

“Seriously, though,” I plowed on, “I bet you couldn’t go one day without that phone.”

“Good lord, why would you want to?” said Ron, wiping his hands on a towel. “Take a selfie with me, boys!” We all grinned at Ron’s phone.

“I could go a whole day,” insisted Jason.

“You’d shrivel up and die.”

“What about you? You’re always on your phone, too. Or your laptop. You wouldn’t last half a day.”

“A challenge!” I bellowed. “One whole day, no screens. Tomorrow. Winner picks our next vacation. Loser pays.”

“Oh, it’s on,” said Jason, a gleam in his eye. “What if it’s a tie?”

“Then we do it again, for two days.”

Ron cackled. “I give you both two hours.”

#

I heaved my eyelids open and saw Jason pulling on his running shorts. Sunlight streamed in. I rubbed my temples with one hand and patted our cat Molly with the other. “Morning,” I mumbled. “Where’s my phone…”

“Giving up already?” said Jason.

“Oh… right.”

“Eight a.m. to eight p.m. Only incoming calls allowed. Oh, and also? You’re going down.” Jason cocked his head and grinned. “I’m thinking… somewhere tropical.”

“Fat chance!” I threw back the covers.

During our morning jog, Jason asked, “What time was your mom coming over?”

“Eleven.”

“Crap. No FitBit… what time is it?”

We jogged home and showered. “Damn,” I said. “I was going to make Alton Brown’s biscuits but I can’t go online for the recipe.”

“Don’t we have a cookbook somewhere?”

I searched the pantry until I found an ancient Fannie Farmer book stuffed behind the waffle maker.

From the living room, Jason shouted, “Molly is being so cute right now and I can’t take a picture!”

I smirked. “You won’t last past noon.”

#

“I think it’s wonderful, what you’re doing,” my mom said, tucking into her food. “People nowadays spend too much time looking at screens. It’s unhealthy. Jason, did you make this gravy? It’s delicious. Will, marry him already.”

Jason beamed. “Will’s going to propose when he takes me on vacation.” I swatted him with a kitchen towel.

“Don’t forget, Will, your niece’s fifth birthday party is next weekend,” Mom said. “Mandy’s looking forward to seeing you.”

“Right,” I said. “Gotta get a gift. I’ll just go on…”

“Amazon?” asked Jason.

“Damn,” I said.

#

The afternoon dragged. I stuffed a Lego set into a gift bag, grumbling. “Would have cost half as much online.”

Jason sat on the couch, picking out notes on his guitar. “I’m so rusty! I forgot basic chords.”

“I miss TV,” I confessed.

“This is like that reality show, Colonial House.”

“At least we’re not churning butter all day.”

“What did people do before computers?” he griped. “You’re older, Will. What did you do as a kid?”

“Played Nintendo.”

“Well, that’s helpful.” Jason set the guitar down and left the room. I heard the bathroom door close.

“Will?” he called through the door, several minutes later.

“What?”

“I can’t do this without a phone!”

“Can’t do what?”

“Don’t make me say it.”

“What?” I was laughing now.

“Can you bring me a book?”

#

After dinner, settled on the bed, I realized I wouldn’t know when 8:00 arrived unless I went back to the kitchen to look at the microwave. Then I remembered my watch, a gift from Dad, that I hadn’t worn in ages. I pulled it out of a drawer.

Delighted, I saw that it was 8:02. “Finally!” I reached for my laptop.

Jason walked in. “Victory is mine!” he cried.

“What are you talking about? It’s after eight.”

“Microwave says 7:34!” he exclaimed.

I looked at my watch, at its frozen second hand, at its face that had probably read 8:02 for the past five years.

“Technology for the win!” Jason whooped. “Tahiti, here we come!”

Sighing, I opened a tab for Travelocity.






Writing prompt: Create a story where the main character does not win the competition




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