“No joke! I'm obsessed.”
“Ha! I believe it – if you're not texting, you're tweeting.”
“Yeah, I guess I'm pretty bad – one sec.”
It'd become pretty routine for her – feel the physical buzz of a notification, then feel the emotional buzz as she replied via tweet, text, facebook, snapchat, or any of the dozens of apps she used to keep the real world at bay.
“You know, you should really think about taking a day off,” I said.
“I take vacation days regularly,” she replied, eyes glued to the glowing box.
“You know what I mean – ditch the phone for a day.”
“Yeah, you're right.” She glanced up. “I really should.”
I knew the truth though – she'd lost most of her friends in real life due to her addiction. Real dates were replaced by OKCupid chats; real conversations by character-limited sentence fragments. Hell, even this encounter only happened so she could regain the title of “Mayor of Five Guys”. She hadn't even looked at her burger yet.
“Seriously, Julie, you're going to have to rejoin the real world sometime.”
“I know, Vicki. Just not right now.” I could see she was trying out letter combos in some game I'd not encountered before.
I ate my meal in silence as she took a fry, typed, sipped her drink, typed, took a fry, typed. I finished up just as she unwrapped her burger.
“Alright, I need to get back to work,” I lied.
And that's how I left her. I was the last of our friend group to do so – we'll welcome her back when she wakes up, but none of us see that happening soon.