My Quest to Find Someone Who Isn’t Addicted to Their Phone

Upon awakening in the morning, I witnessed my wife reclining on the bed, engrossed in her phone. Unable to resist, I uttered, “I seem to have developed an insatiable affinity for mobile devices!” My wife, turning her head, responded with a disdainful glance, resuming her phone-scrolling activities, and retorted, “Go ahead, find someone who remains unaddicted to these gadgets. Show me such an individual.”

Motivated by a resolute determination, I retrieved the shopping cart and embarked on a quest to identify a person untainted by a mobile phone addiction.

Descending to the community’s flower bed, I encountered several elderly women with silvered tresses, deeply immersed in reading and singing from a musical score. Stealthily, I captured a photograph with my mobile device and discreetly shared it with my wife, proudly proclaiming, “I have discovered individuals who are impervious to the allure of mobile phones outside our abode.” In response, my wife suggested, “Seek out individuals who share our demographic—neither too young nor too old. Children need not be considered.”

Initially perceiving my wife’s comment as an excuse, I resolved to persist in my search, intent on persuading her otherwise.

Pushing the shopping cart toward the community’s entrance, a woman clad in a fitness vest hurriedly approached me. While she seemed to be of similar age, regrettably, she was engrossed in a WeChat conversation, clutching her mobile device with both hands. Her behavior indicated a profound attachment to her phone.

Undeterred, I continued my explorations. The establishments along the way remained closed, prompting a sigh of resignation. The business owners seemed to relish their comfortable mornings, still indulging in the pleasures of slumber. The thought struck me: Had they, like my wife, awakened earlier but now found themselves lying in bed, engrossed in short videos and refreshing articles?

A delivery boy appeared, evidently preoccupied with numerous tasks. Presumably, a resident of the community had succumbed to the convenience of takeout once again. The dexterity with which this “minion” controlled his vehicle was truly exceptional. With one hand occupied by his mobile phone, he skillfully maneuvered the handlebar, rushing forward with a sense of purpose, displaying both speed and stability. Undoubtedly, he was a master of his craft. I couldn’t help but admire his abilities, yet he, too, fell victim to the allure of mobile devices.

Pressing on, I arrived at the main road. At the bus stop, several men and women sat upon gleaming stainless-steel benches, awaiting public transportation. Unsurprisingly, each one had their head bowed, engrossed in their mobile phones, thoroughly captivated by the digital realm. When the bus arrived, they remained indifferent, failing to lift their heads in observation. Helplessly, they watched as the bus paused for a mere ten seconds before departing. I found this sight profoundly bewildering. Could it be that none of those at the bus stop intended to board this particular bus? Even the young man who disembarked from the vehicle remained an ardent mobile phone devotee. Earphones plugged in, one hand holding a video-playing device, the other grasping the bus’s door frame, he remained fixated on the screen. He executed a graceful landing upon alighting, akin to a skilled martial artist.

Upon reaching the vegetable market, I encountered a scene of indolence. The stall owner played with his mobile phone, while even the fishmonger, engrossed in WeChat messages, proceeded to slaughter fish.

Approaching a lady selling vegetables, I picked up a cabbage and inquired, “Madam, what is the current price of this vegetable?” To my dismay, no response was forthcoming, as she became captivated by her phone’s screen, bursting into laughter. I pondered whether she had stumbled upon something amusing.

Sighing, I departed and proceeded to the breakfast cart operated by an uncle, from whom I purchased a few deep-fried dough sticks, steamed buns, and two cups of soy milk. Despite his ongoing video call, he managed to attend to my transaction promptly. It was challenging to ascertain whether this uncle, too, was a slave to his mobile device.

The most comical encounter unfolded at the butcher shop. Armed with a small bamboo stick adorned with a plastic bag, the shop owner deftly swatted flies while simultaneously engrossed in a short video on his mobile phone. His resonant voice filled the air as he vociferously advertised his meat offerings, meticulously enumerating the price per pound for each variety. Whenever a customer approached to inspect the meat, he promptly paused the video, attending to the guest with utmost sincerity, skillfully multitasking without a moment’s delay.

Having decided to abandon the pursuit, I continued my search undeterred, as my wife’s words failed to sway my determination.

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