It was a strange and rare occurrence — a night on which I wasn’t particularly hungry. I clicked on the gas and heated three slices of bread in the pan. No, I don’t own a toaster. It’s part of my ‘living with less’ lifestyle philosophy. Once golden brown, each slice first got a sliver of butter. As I watched it melt into the rye I contemplated my toppings.
On one slice, I spread almond butter — the kind with chunks. On the second slice, marmite — I like mine quite thick and gloopy and swirled in with the butter. On the third slice, I thought I’d try my new smokey roast-aubergine spread. All three slices fitted neatly onto my blue-grey side plates. With a steaming cup of chamomile tea in the other hand, I shuffled off to the bedroom, for some bedtime snacking and reading. As I arrived at my bedside my phone buzzed with the arrival of a message. I knew that particular buzz. It was from someone very dear to me. Excited by the prospect of them, I dismissively laid my toast-laden side plate down on the bed, scootched my mug into a free space among the towers of books on my bedside table and snatched up the phone. Thumbs were dancing. Emojis were flitting. The neck was craned downward in the fervently engaged chatting position.
Not three breaths had passed and I was fully immersed in the rapid exchange of blue ticks and speech bubbles. My body turned itself adjacent to the bed — it did this without my consideration thereof — knees buckled and I slumped my weight bed-ward, face still firmly fixed on the screen, feeding off of the exchange.
The second it happened my automatic response brain took control of my legs, leaping me back into the upright position before my thinking brain had fully realised what was going on. Aubergine on my butt was what was going on, was going on is what!
In my total succumbing to the digital temptress of communication I had disengaged from my present environment and, for the first time in my life, physically experienced the expression — landing with your bum in the butter. My butter was topped with aubergine. And it was chunky. And sticky.
And — contrary to the saying’s meaning — mine did not manifest in great wealth or fortuitous opportunity!
All it served to do, was yet again remind me how disastrous the consequences of vapid engagement in our pocket-sized digital devices can be. Sure, this time it wasn’t a millennial crossing a busy intersection without peering up. But just another woman with vegetable spread on her favourite pants and the impending melancholia of a tarnished meal. Still, the lesson is the same. Our relationship and dependence on connection, communication and validation from these damn phones is behaviour altering — even in someone who considers herself a relatively mindful person.
Using them while driving, walking and operating heavy machinery and now even simple suppers should be done at your peril, or in my case, the peril of pants. If you look at it that way, I did land with my bum in the proverbial butter. Except for the fact that my ‘proverbial butter’ was a nudge of wisdom in clutzy disguise.
PS: Coincidentally, I’ve been on the hunt for some punny wordplay using the word aubergines for another project I’m tinkering on. And low and behold — this strange little unfolding has given me a quirky gem:
Def– ‘auberjeanius’ — when distracted texting causes you to sit in your aubergine toast.
Do with it what you will.