Monday, February 13, 2012

My Husband is having an Affair with Technology

During the last week my husband has been falling asleep on the couch in the arms of his laptop, leaving his side of our bed cold every night.

My husband is a brilliant man. How this brilliance realizes itself is in periods of total obsession with specific articles of knowledge that he wants to grasp. When he wants to get in better shape, he develops boot camps that turn the strongest among his friends to weak-kneed puddles of whey. When he wants to learn a skill on the computer, he is frustrated in his plans to spend the requisite forty-five minutes every day of practice, given his other commitments. He does no half-measures. Everything is done either to the point of infatuation, or it simply isn't worth doing.

Last week, he took the week off of his regular work to attend a conference on Network Security and came home every day full of the kind of zeal and enthusiasm one might expect from someone who has received wizard training, or lessons in wingless flight. As soon as the dinner dishes were done and the six year-old put to bed, he would station himself at his spot on the couch, with both his desktop computer with screen mounted on our wall, and a laptop at his feet, and attempt to unlock what apparently were the keys to the Universe.

During the periods of time when he has stopped his activities long enough to converse with the children, he has spoken in tongues:

"I'm going to be monitoring the network traffic, sniffing packets and reconstructing TCP streams. So if you're going to any web sites that you don't want me to know about, this would be a good time to stop."

"What?" Both my older children reacted with surprise and consternation.

"I'm not really sure how to make that any clearer." Mike replied.

"What he means," I said "is that he can see everything you do and if you are looking at stuff on the internet that you don't want us to see, you should stop now."

"Oh." They both said.

Yesterday, I went over to the couch, rubbed his back and let him know that we sort of missed him. He sighed, kissed me and explained in Pig Latin:

"I have been trying different Linux repositories and kernel versions, and I can't get my Wi-Fi adapter to work. I've had to re-install the OS five times because of that."

Don't you hate when that happens?

I hate when my husband disappears down the rabbit hole of some technological thrill because I miss his company. I understand though because, periodically, I disappear down a blogging rabbit hole and it is probably just as irritating. I appreciate him greatly because his genius with technology is what puts food on our table, and, if there is the hope of our ever owning a car that isn't a thirteen year-old minivan with a cracked windshield and a questionable heating and cooling system, that hope rests on his efforts, not mine.

Sometimes, though, I wish I could be as absorbing as that TCP stream he is so interested in. Maybe I should dress up as a stream of binary code on Valentine's Day.


  1. Sigh... I have a feeling this is what my family thinks of me. Between work and trying to maintain my blog and the 10 to 20, one, I think I spend more time with my cyber world than my real world :(. I'm about to invoke a standing cyber-free 24 hour period soon. It's just too much.

    1. Yes, blogging is a pretty absorbing pastime. Perhaps that's why no one has any time–every adult is glued to a computer. I have thought about a cyber-free 24 hourse, but I'm too chicken-shit. When I know I need to disconnect, though I make sure I shut the computer all the way DOWN to discourage me from starting up again.

  2. My husband is attending college online (for programming) and is an avid gamer. I was a technology widow--it's part of what drove me deeper into blogging. Now he's the one sitting in the living room calling me. "Baby, are you almost done blogging? Are you done yet?", etc. It's kind of a nice change of pace.

    1. Too funny. I know what you mean. I can just see the two of you, both absorbed in your computers. Oh, wait that's what it looks like at my house! Once, we only had one desktop computer between us. But it was clear this would lead to divorce, so we got that one of Mike's behind our couch. Soon, I fear we will have computers lurking all over the house...

  3. My dad was like this about every new pursuit - which varied from bonsai to binary code. Sadly, I think I inherited this specific gene for all-consuming (if temporary) passions. It bothers me so much that there might be something I can't figure out completely. The binary code outfit is ingenious and you should probably take pictures.

    1. I am like this about some things (like the reading program I teach) and in many other ways, I am happy to do a half-assed job. My husband puts my puny little perfectionism to shame. Binary code lingerie is such a natural item for the Think Geek catalog, I'm not sure why no one has thought of it yet!

    2. Just needs a clever designer to places to 0s and 1s appropriately. Who knows, maybe it beat out those fucking Pajamagram and Valentines teddy bear ads on TV.

    3. Why can't I TYPE? "…to place the 0s and 1s…"

  4. You are not the only one experiencing this problem. I myself gets irritated with my husband's obsession with technology. To know more about this matter, here's another article on how to find out if your husband is having an affair
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