An apple a day…

Published 10:15 am Thursday, June 23, 2022

I am trying very hard not to be jealous of Paul as he continues to share photos of his garden tour across the pond, showing him and the gang strolling along the beach at Brighton, having lunch in the open air in the garden of the estate of Lady Collum (Lady Collum, herself, well into her 80s and wearing the most magnificent hat), and hoisting a pint of ale in historic pubs. All in the most perfect, breezy, weather.

 

To be honest, it’s the weather comparison that goads me the most. Fish and chips by the sea beneath glass blue skies and 72 degrees…does it get any better than that? Meanwhile, I step outside for 5 minutes in our South Carolinian heat and find myself collapsing on cool tiles, panting like a German Shepherd, trying to recover. We don’t even have any tile in our house, so I don’t know where the hell I am—the first sure sign of heat stroke.

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But to guard against any sort of collapse, or being hurled from a horse into a tree, Paul purchased an Apple watch for me before he left. Frankly, it’s the high-tech version of “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” one wears on their wrist. It tells the time, of course, and a million other things can be programmed into it that makes Paul’s eyes light up as a child’s on Christmas morning. The more gizmos to sort through, the happier he is.

 

“If you press here,” he said, holding up the watch dial, “It shows the time, and if you push here, it’ll send text messages.”

 

I nodded like an impatient child.

 

“And I can put in weather, email…”

 

“Who wants to read email on such a tiny screen?” I queried.

 

“It’s big enough to read,” he replied and returned to his list. “I can program in how many steps you’ve walked, heart rate…”

 

“I don’t want any of that stuff,” I interrupted. “All I want to know is if I get attacked by a bear or fall off a horse, will it show you where my body can be recovered before my eyes are pecked out by birds.”

 

Paul looked at me with the deflated expression of someone who is used to being met with a less than enthusiastic response.

 

“Yes. It has GPS and if you hit the ground it will text you asking if you’re alright. If so, you push ‘yes.’ If you don’t respond, it notifies me, as I’ve programmed myself in as your emergency contact.”

 

“Oh, that’s good,” I said. “So you’ll be making my end-of-life-decision in some British pub after three pints?”

 

“Oh, yeah,” he shot back. “I’ll have them pull the plug immediately. And scatter your ashes in the manure spreader.”

 

In the end, it was a kind and thoughtful gesture and I really was appreciative. After Paul departed I wore it religiously, charging it up each night. I did agree to the option of texting and phone calls which I liked because I could simply speak into it for it to then decipher, type, then send a message which was convenient and meant I needn’t carry my other phone with me.

 

Hand grazing one of the horses as the blazing afternoon ebbed into evening, a horsefly, the size of a microwave, began circling the mare, buzzing her head like a B52 bomber before settling on her rump to chomp into its feast.

 

“Oh, no, you don’t!” I hissed and felt the immediate triumph of having killed him with one, hard slap, before flicking his body to the ground.

 

Even the horse looked pleased and I led her to her stall. Within minutes, I received an anxious call from Paul, indeed from a pub. “Are you alright? What happened?”

 

“What do you mean, what happened?” I frowned.

 

“My watch just notified me that you’d had a hard fall.”

 

“What? Oh, wait a minute, I slapped a horse fly off Ilanka’s butt. It must have thought I hit the ground, or something.”

 

Exasperated, Paul said, “Your watch would have buzzed and asked if you were OK. You didn’t press ‘Yes’ so it contacted me.”

 

I glanced at the dial, “Oh, you’re right. And I did feel it buzz, but I thought maybe that was the horsefly.”

 

Paul hung up.

 

“Listen,” I said to the watch. “I lead a very physical life. You’re way too sensitive. You’re going to have to man up if you hang out with me.”

 

“Press Send.” it replied.