True story. Yesterday a company called Kelton Research released a study that found 65 percent of Americans spend more time with their home computer than with their spouse or significant other.
Admittedly most of my US knowledge is based on sitcoms (irritating guy with very attractive wife), but this seems strange to me. And you might think this reflected greater reliability on the part of PCs (you'd certainly think this if you lived with me), but those love-struck Yanks are not even getting on with their computers.
Eighty-four percent said they were more dependent on their home computer now than three years ago, but that they'd experienced computer trouble eight times in those three years. According to the report, an estimated 12 hours per month are wasted due to home computer problems. This may seem like a lot, but if your wife malfunctions, it'll probably cost you more time.
So can a computer replace a spouse (stop sniggering at the back)? There's clearly going to be a shortfall of, er, tactile affection (I said stop sniggering), but I'm told that this can happen in the human-to-human interface too. (Insert your own underpowered USB port joke here.)
And I certainly do spend a lot of time engaged in silent, cerebral commune with my home PC. We've shared good times and bad (Championship Manager will do that to you), and it very rarely asks me to take the rubbish out, fix the toilet seat or, you know, talk during the football.
But there may be more to the comparison than we first thought. More than half of those surveyed described the experience of their biggest recent computer problem as one of anger, sadness or alienation. Sounds like true love.