The plane is on the runway at Stansted about to take off.

I'm in seat 9E. The middle seat. On one side of me there's a bloke watching his Kindle. Some show with Dougray Scott set in Beirut. On the other, a man is playing games.

The plane begins to accelerate and I'm thinking, is this allowed now? Is it OK to use electronic devices on take-off? I thought you had to turn everything off. Maybe I'm sitting between two devil-may-care adventurers with a death wish. Am I going to die because some guy is addicted to Angry Birds?

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And since I'm sandwiched between them will those investigating the crash end up blaming me? They'll track down the problem to Row 9 and that will be it. Guilt by association. Or what's that thing that Jimmy McGovern wrote that drama about last week [1]? Yeah. Joint Enterprise. J won't even get a payout.

The plane takes off. Nothing happens. I guess you can use some electronic devices now. Still, I don't turn on my phone until I'm inside Edinburgh airport.

"One of them was probably watching something he'd downloaded," J suggests the next morning. "No good to you," she adds. "You wouldn't know how to do that."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you're useless with anything technological. You don't really know how to work your phone. I bought you an external hard drive for your laptop for Christmas and it's still in the packet. You can't work the telly …"

"I can."

"You can turn it off and turn it on and that's it. That's all you can do with any bit of technology. Turn it off and on. Anything else, you don't know what to do."

"It's the 21st century. I shouldn't need to be able to do anything else. Turn it on and it should just work."

"What about updates?" She catches my blank look. "You don't even know what updates are."

I say nothing. I don't want to admit she's right [2]. After a minute I mumble: "I'm the one driving you to work."

"Yeah, but if anything goes wrong with this car you don't know how to fix it [3]. You don't know how to fix anything. And the worse thing is you can't be bothered to learn. You've no patience. It's the female side of your personality," she says.

"What? Not being able to fix things? That's the female side of my personality? Not my sensitivity, my under-standing, my emotional intelligence?"

She looks at me like I'm a broken thing she has to fix. Like all the rest.


[1] Common, it was called. Very good by all accounts. I don't know. I had to go to bed early to be up to catch a plane.

[2] It's an unwritten rule of marriage, right?

[3] True, but that's why I joined the RAC.