I’ve been a little bit too glued to my phone recently. I know this is a worldwide issue and hundreds of blogs have been written about it, so I am not about to write another one. Frankly, I’m a little bit sick of hearing about it, but for the sake of the story, I will mention that yes: it’s been a problem.
I finished up a painting I’d been working on just after midnight last night and decided to take the little one out one last time before bed. It wasn’t really a “walk”. When it’s that late, I just take her across the street to the hill where all of the cats lurk at night. We have our late-night routine down: she sniffs around for a minute or two and pees a dozen times in the process. I scroll through instagram to make sure I’m not missing any pictures of my friends’ kids or cups of coffee as they’re waking up back in the States.
Last night was no different. I was looking at my phone. I could see her out of my periphery sniffing around, exploring every new smell. All of a sudden a bright light shot across the sky pulling my eyes away from a picture of a swaddled baby and it occurred to me- I was missing shooting stars over the China Sea to look at an app. Ridiculous. Shameful even. Rather than a wish, I made a promise on that shooting star to break my phone addiction. (If there’s an app for that, let me know.)
I spent the next few minutes staring up at a clear black sky, littered with stars. The night was just cold enough to cross my arms and cuddle into my sweater. I listened to the waves breaking wildly over the jacks and into the seawall. I just stood there, breathing salty sea air and soaking up all of the beauty around me, feeling like I’d just discovered the secret of life. And suddenly it occurred to me, I hadn’t seen a certain little dog move in minutes. She was just standing there, about 15 feet away from me. Not sniffing in circles, not moving at all. This is not a part of our routine.
It’s dark in Japan. Dark in a way that is difficult to find in Florida and impossible to find in New York. I pulled my phone back out and used the flashlight app (hey, it was necessary) to see what it was she was so interested in.
She looked up at me as soon as the light hit her, wagging her tail and licking her chops. While I’d spent the last few minutes overwhelmed by the beauty of the Okinawan night sky, making a renewed commitment to breaking my phone addiction… my dog had been eating cat poop.
As I took in her happy little face, bright eyes, and furiously waggling tail, I realized that she too thought she had just discovered the secret of life.
In 2013, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand. After four months of backpacking I returned to the States and fell in love with a guy whose job sent us straight back to Asia. Nothing has gone according to plan... and it's been absolutely magical.