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This story is a tribute – of the half-assed emulation variety – to my favourite humour blog, Hyperbole and a Half. If you haven’t checked it out, you really should. Seriously.  I cry.

My story begins with my decision to finally abandon my Modern Amish life-style. I simply couldn’t juggle my work schedule, the organization of two homes, my growing vacation rental business, French lessons, family and social obligations and keep track of where my shift-working husband and busy teenagers were. Not without some help. I was fraught. 

I was fraught!

So fraught, that I felt as though I was covered in a million little sticky notes. 

I felt exactly like this.

So, I swallowed my pride, and went to the Telus store at the mall to get a new whiz-bang phone. And there a fellow named Rory – and yes, that is his real name because he needs to know – struggled to find the patience deep inside himself to deal with the Luddite sent to test him on that particular morning. I only understood about a quarter of what he said.

A few days later I went to CAYA (or Come As You Are) – the LGBT- friendly Telus store near my office in downtown Vancouver. Luckily, I didn’t have to give a secret handshake or anything. I really could come as I was. Sarah was super patient with me.

The hiccup was that my Littlest Urchin (Lu) also needed a phone, and I thought our best deal would be made if I dragged him into a wealth-sucking three-year plan at the same time that I super-sized my own financial obligation.

So, after using the CAYA folk shamelessly to educate myself on my options, I went back to the mall in the ‘burbs with Lu to make our deal.  And that’s when it happened.  While I was going over the details one last time, Rory pulled out his own phone.

Rory pulls it out

So how’d I do, Hyperbole and a Half?  Did I accurately depict the amazument I felt when Rory the client service representative turned away from me – the client – and gave the gift of his attention to his phone?  Was it an urgent text regarding a catastrophic event or was he . . . he was…. it appeared he was checking Facebook!  He was appsturbating right in front of me!

 What I wanted to say – only I was too gobsmacked – was

“Are you fricking kidding me, Rory?”

Eventually, Rory noticed that I had fallen silent, and he put his phone away. Lu and I left. I went back to the CAYA store where Sarah set me up with an iphone, a Blackberry for Lu, and an Android for the Cottager – Take That Rory!

At CAYA they didn’t know anything about the 79$ mandatory Apple Care plan that was ‘packaged up’ with the ‘free’ iphone Rory was going to sell me, so unfortunately, I had to keep that money. They insisted I accept a free charge mat and a photo finishing bonus of one thousand prints a year for the three years of my contract, too.

 And a final bonus is that a new word is born. I predict this word will be my 15 minutes of fame. My last great word – ‘KLIG’ for Kind of Laughing I Guess – was meant to rout the overstated and sadly overused LOL, but for reasons I will never understand, it did not catch on.

But Appsturbate… now there is a word. I’ve launched it when phones came out at the table during dinner parties on two successive weekends.  It’s effect was immediate. Revolutionary. Time will tell if I become a dinner guest much admired for my wit, or a social outcast known for my inappropriate social behaviour.  

And while I wait to find out, I embark upon a new struggle between my fundamental belief in the basic goodness of old fashioned human interaction and my glee in discovering little gadgets that enable me to indulge my compulsive urge to list things, track what I’ve eaten, and launch sheep.  After all, appsturbation is a perfectly natural thing.

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It isn’t a style of furniture. It’s how my kids describe our family’s M.O. 

When new friends ask them if they have a playstation or a game cube, the answer is “Neither, we’re Modern Amish.”

No game system, no plasma, no HD – but we did get cable on trial last year. Still not much worth watching. The lads probably don’t realize that only my fascination with Euro-origin HGTV shows stands between us and a cablectomy. 

Big Urchin wants a cell phone. He says he is the only 13 year-old he knows without one, and I tend to believe him. We are both lucky and unlucky enough to live in that kind of neighbourhood. I sense that he aspires to a phone with ‘features’ – the bells and whistles that his dad and I, with our Free-with-Contract non-flip phones, don’t even aspire to. 

BU is increasingly out and about, and I do want to be able to keep in touch with him, so there may be a sort of mini-Rumspringa in his future. I have suggested that he use his considerable computer skills to find the best deal he can, then bring it to me, along with a cost-sharing proposal. That was last week, and I haven’t heard a word about it since. 

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