By Gary Marshall
Whether it's a grizzled cop and his rookie partner or a couple in a long-term relationship, whenever you put two people together they tend to settle into clearly defined roles. The older cop may do all the driving and the educating while the rookie buys the doughnuts, or the husband may sit in the car, looking at his watch and tutting while the wife faffs around inside the house.
I hate being late, but I always am. My, "We must leave at half-past at the very latest," goes through some sort of translator that turns it into, "Let's make half-past something to aspire to, but hey, if we don't make it, it's no biggie!" When it's time for us to leave right now, I'm standing at the front door and my wife has 20 more outfits to audition.
I thought I'd escaped it today, but as we reach the car my wife tells me she's forgotten her phone.
This is serious. My wife's phone is more like a life support system. It's her connection to the rest of the world, an oracle, an entertainer and an always-on information delivery system for the weather forecast and the news. She'd no sooner go outside without it than she'd take a walk without bringing her legs.
"I'll just be a minute," she lies. One minute becomes two minutes, two become five, and five become ten. By the time the car clock clicks quarter-past, I've ran out of tuts and I'm running out of patience. I go inside to find a house full of barking dogs, opened drawers, upturned cushions and very bad words.
"I can't find it!"
"Did you try ringing it?"
"Of course I did. It's on silent."
While my wife takes her search upstairs to add stamps, stomps and more swears to the soundtrack, I'm the eye of the storm, the calm at the centre, the man with a plan.
I mooch over to the laptop and open Find My Phone, an oft-forgotten Windows Phone feature that lets you track a missing handset and command it to make a noise.
But the phone's on silent? Piffle. I have powerful magic on my side and with a single click this meaningless obstacle is overcome, and in a couple of seconds a blissful beacon of sound floats through the house.
I follow the sound to the dog crate, to find it coming from underneath a confused-looking Labrador.
Reunited at last, my wife, her phone and I head for the car. We're late, but then we always are.
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