UNITED STATES—Have you ever got exactly what you wanted? Then you’ll know what I mean. I got exactly what I wanted, she was of independent means, encyclopedic knowledge, she had the answer for everything without being pedantic, loads of energy—she’s able to go sometimes for three days without sleep. Loves dogs and doesn’t mind hair all over the place—at least she doesn’t mention anything about it.
As if all those fine qualities weren’t enough, the meaning of her name (I looked it up in a book of names) left her sterling character insultingly obvious. Evangelina means good news. Once we had initiated this deep and deeply satisfying relationship, but also a deeply troubling one, I had to remind myself with a bitter smile: her name means good news. It’s in my face: this is good it’s really good or her unsinkable spirit wouldn’t be so obvious: she’s good news, for me, my friends, my profession, the world. And yet I’m nagged by the notion that everything good in accompanied by some kind of trouble.
The trouble with the trouble is it sticks out so disproportionately against the good. So let me share it, Sally.
It can be really hard to read her: she is a devil, she is a blessing, who can say? Evangelina was a struggle from the first, and just when I thought I had her all figured out, she’d go off in some new direction. Sometimes I couldn’t read her mind in the bright sun; she’d seem to be sneering at me, “Take off your sunglasses, doufus.”
It got to me that she wouldn’t shut up, either. Evangelina meandered through a panoply of sighs, hums and purrs that keep me on the move and checking up on her to see that everything is alright. High maintenance, baby, you said it. All the annoying tics of my first two wives seem feeble by comparison to Evangelina. I always wanted to be with the first, and she needed her space; the second always wanted to be with me, 24/7, and I made the mistake of telling her I like to be alone sometimes.
Now, Evangelina has all of me. In fact, she takes it one step further; she has to be right there and keeps interrupting. Amy, what am I going to do?
I hope this doesn’t get lost in the mailbag and by the time you respond, something really tragical may have happened.
Dang, if she hasn’t blurred all the borders of my life. She won’t let me work in peace from home, she’s always wanted a piece of my attention. She has made the truth impossible to convey; I want to scream I want to scream Leave me alone but I can’t for fear of hurting Evangelina’s feelings.
Heck, I can’t live with Evangelina, I can’t live without her. And I even take her with me and it reminds me how good it is to have something warm nearby to hold onto, and it reminded me how much I missed that.
When I am with Evangelina it’s like playing three levels of tiddly winks. I can’t stand the game playing any more, Parcheesi, Candy Crush Saga, and solitaire, and the constant urge to fact-check friends. I’m ready to go out of my mind, and I think I may do something really violent, like switching to Apple, if you don’t help me.
Signed, End of My Rope
Dear End of My Rope:
Before switching to Apple, give Android a chance. You indicate that you’re the last Man to give up a flip phone. So give Evangelina a chance; this transition may take time. True healing and adjustment occurs as a rate so much slower than we humans prefer.
Remember what Garbo really said, “I want to be left alone.” There is a Do Not Disturb option on your phone and, more importantly on off switch.
If you sprinkle a dash of naked truth here and there you may have a chance at saving this electronic relationship and you my want to see a therapist, as well, about your smartphone issues. Good luck! –Sally, Solver of Embarrassing Problems
Graydon Miller, the Wizard of Fiction, is the author of “Later Bloomer: Tales of Darkest Hollywood,” https://amzn.to/2Ljky3v