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How I fell in love with my mobile phone.

by Alysia Patterson Mueller, Air Force spouse

The other day I came across an article about a study of the way the human brain responds to an iPhone. The researchers had set out to prove that people are addicted to their phones—the same way we might be addicted to alcohol or cocaine or chocolate. They were surprised to learn that, actually, we love our phones. That’s right: Our brains respond to our iPhones in the same way that they do to the actual people we love.

I could have told them that.

Nowhere is the human-phone relationship perhaps more pronounced than in a military marriage. For the better part of three years my husband has lived, essentially, inside the confines of my cell phone. 

This Boy/Girl/Phone love triangle began back in 2007. I was going to school in Chicago and Matt, stationed at Buckley Air Force Base, lived in Denver. Or, rather, he lived inside my pink Motorola Razr. When I moved to Kenya the following spring to work as a TV reporter, I took a Blackberry with me. Some days we exchanged upwards of 100 e-mails through that phone. My Kenyan coworkers took to calling me, only half jokingly, "a beacon for crime," due to my habit of obliviously punching away on the Blackberry while sitting in traffic with the window rolled down or walking through Nairobi—notorious for its street crime—with my head buried in my phone.

What can I say? I was in love. 

When I moved to Washington, D.C., to finish graduate school, Matt and I resumed our habit of texting and calling at all hours of the day and night. My cousin, who generously shared her studio with me for the summer, is either a very heavy sleeper or a saint who pretended not to notice me texting under the covers at 2 a.m. on work nights. 


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