Mary-Lou Weisman’s hilarious collection of essays, Traveling While Married, is now available as an e-book! The book traverses a lifetime of travel-a-deux, from honeymoon to elderhostel. It features illustrations by New Yorker illustrator Ed Koren. To celebrate the new e-book edition, Mary-Lou Weisman shares her adventures of traveling while married . . . to a BlackBerry addict.
This past spring, after fifty mostly happy years of travel with my husband, Larry, we nearly broke up over his insistence upon bringing his BlackBerry with us on vacation. Ever since that holiday- wrecking device was invented, we’d been vacationing as a ménage a trois: me, Larry Lawyer, and Mistress BlackBerry.
There we’d be, cruising the Seine, touring the ochre caves of Rousillon, or canoeing on Jasper Lake, and there she’d be, vibrating incessantly in his pants. As soon as he could, Larry would attend to his email, thereby guaranteeing more emails, until he was spending the entire vacation in the parallel universe of his office, and so was I.
During our 2010 vacation to the Canadian Rockies, I finally put my foot down: I would no longer tolerate her constant interruptions and demanded that he limit his BlackBerry use to one hour a day. He couldn’t do it. I might as well have asked a chain smoker to limit himself to one cigarette after dinner.
When that effort failed, I proposed to keep the BlackBerry in my purse, and hand it to him once a day. Forget it. I’d turn my head to look at a moose, and he’d be riffling through my purse.
So, this past April, as we were contemplating a trip to Amsterdam, I played my ace. “I am not going if you bring her.” With unflattering reluctance, he chose me.
But could I trust him? Since I was dealing with an addict, I called for an intervention. Together, we visited his secretary and his assistant. Together we agreed that they would screen all his emails. In case of a genuine emergency they would call him on his international cell phone, which had no texting capacity.
I now had everything I wanted, but I still wasn’t satisfied. I worried about vacationing with a cold turkey, high text-tosterone BlackBerry addict. Would he hallucinate and hear that infernal machine buzzing in his trousers the way an amputee feels pain from a phantom limb? And, most worrisome of all, would he take his frustrations out on me?
Happily, none of my fears were realized. Larry’s addiction seemed to have disappeared without a trace into the cyberspace whence it had come. From time to time he would flip open his international phone for nostalgia’s sake and allow himself a quick hit of its dull yellow light, but essentially he was cured.
On Day One he thanked me for putting an end to his addiction. He was a free man, a happy man, a grateful man. I told him how thrilled I was, too. On days two and three, I again asked him if he wasn’t, in fact, delighted to be BlackBerry-free. He assured me that he was. On day four, I couldn’t resist querying him again.
“Isn’t it a pleasure not to have that damn BlackBerry interrupting our vacation?”
“It would be even better,” he said, “if you weren’t addicted to reminding me on a daily basis about what a good time we’re having.”