How did I miss the first episode of TVNZ's Apple Tree Yard? Luckily Deborah Hill Cone's Canvas article clued me in and I've caught up now.

It's my kind of television. I love watching functional, seemingly normal (maybe even mundane) lives spiral out of control. A single misstep precipitates an unstoppable domino-like effect of misery. (Unfortunately, I went online and discovered how Apple Tree Yard ends so I've cheated myself out of any surprise.)

Speaking of cheating, in episode one the central (married) character has an encounter with a stranger in a broom cupboard. It's all pretty much downhill for her (both of them, in fact) from there.

Cheating on a partner or spouse is an ideal plot-point in fiction. It's a springboard for breathtaking twists and turns. In real life, cheating can be similarly complicated.


There's big demand for duplicitous cheating, as evidenced by the millions of people who signed up to infidelity website Ashley Madison. These people were so desperate to have a top secret extra-marital affair that they didn't pause to consider whether the website could deliver on its promise of being "100% discreet".

What's that old saying? If it sounds too good to be true ... Sure enough, their faith was misplaced. The database was hacked and names were released.


Then there is the "cheating French businessman" who is suing Uber for many millions
because his wife received notifications whenever he took a trip to see his lover.

So he's the one being unfaithful and he's the one who used his wife's phone to access his Uber account yet he's trying to shift the blame for his divorce.

It's great how some people's minds work. I think I'd be accepting some personal responsibility for my circumstances about now. Just saying.

Is anyone sensing a theme here? Handheld technology, which once aided and abetted those intent on conducting a secret affair, is now turning on and turning in the cheaters.

At first our mobile devices were assets that enabled unprecedented levels of connection and communication. But, as far as I can see, every new iPhone update offers more accountability and less privacy for the user.


Once the biggest danger for anyone with a secret was possibly texting the wrong person, such as the wife or husband instead of the lover. If I have a dull moment during the week I've been known to send a romantic text to my other half. Then I send a follow-up text: "Sorry, wrong number." It never gets old.

Smartphones are now working against anyone who has a secret life. Do you know what I did three times within the space of about two weeks recently? I accidentally recorded a conversation between me and someone else, and then I accidentally sent the audio clip to a third person (the last number I'd texted).

That's right. I had no idea I was recording anything and I had no idea I was sending anything. You could not make this up. What am I like? The person who received all three recordings must have thought I was mad. I stopped sending an apology text after the first two.

Like the French Uber guy, I'm looking to shun responsibility. I'm pretty sure it was the fault of an unfamiliar update. It couldn't be my own stupidity. Surely.

Since downloading the most recent update, I'm almost certain my iPhone has been spying on me. It even tries to predict where I'm going. It often guesses correctly. When I get in my car, the iPhone provides a readout of estimated minutes to get to my destination, suggests which route to take and advises whether traffic is light, moderate or heavy.

That's spooky. And how does it know I've just hopped in the car? That's spooky, too.

Once it came up with an unfamiliar address. I thought its standards were slipping until I realised it was my local supermarket. I knew I spent way too much time there.

When my iPhone made an accurate prediction of my destination within eye shot of my husband, I thought: "I'm so glad I'm not having an affair." Fortunately, the tall, dark male I visit regularly has four hooves, a hay habit and a penchant for rolling in the mud.

If it was a less innocent liaison, I'd have surely been sprung by now.

So let's recap. If you want to have a covert affair, you can't trust Ashley Madison, Uber or even your own iPhone any more.


If you really don't want to be caught, you're going to need to get rid of all your technology. Just call it a digital detox. That won't look suspicious at all. Yeah, right.

Better yet, tune into Apple Tree Yard. You'll be put off affairs with mysterious strangers for life.