Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Pavlov's Cell Phone

Low Slung CellieLike most people today, I go nowhere without a cell phone. My whip of choice is a tricked-out LG number, worn low on the hip like Han Solo's blaster. It's not the newest of models, but it's alot sexier than the crankcase shoebox rig I use to lug around in the early 90's. Trouble is, the damn thing keeps ringing...or vibrates, I should say. Four dozen times a day the infernal gizmo shimmies and shakes in its plastic case, until I blindly swipe it off my belt and take yet another order. Swing by the courthouse - go spray the dog show - bring home a loaf of that good wheat bread. Whatever the directive, I vow to comply before holstering my weapon, knowing it won't be too long before my battered cellie buzzes again and I'll be off on my next misadventure.

But here's where the going gets weird. Lately, I've felt that familiar vibration on my lower right side and instinctively reached for my phone - only to realize I wasn't wearing it. In the kitchen, out on the deck, once while spraying petrified bird crap off the driveway - I'll fumble at first for my well-worn phaser until I look down and discover I'm telephonically unarmed. Am I becoming unhinged as well? Have 16 years of the daily chase so tattooed my psyche that I now grasp for phantom phone calls? Is it not bad enough that I drag my camera AND tripod through my own private dreamscape every night? (My dream back is killing me, by the way.) Is subconscious on-call status some kind of personal, Pavlovian apocalypse? Is it simply the residual effect of deadlines met? Or am I simply making too much of a few random twinges? Probably, but I worry about what may follow. Will I see a little red 'RECORD' light glowing in the upper right corner of my peripheal vision? Will I blink insistently, trying to feather focus some inner lens as my trigger fingers twitch with rack-zoom readiness? Probably not, but I can't help but wonder if I'll soon be able to tune in police scanner frequencies whenever I go for a scratch...

'Cause that would be pretty cool.

7 comments:

in-gun-ear said...

"Is subconscious on-call status some kind of personal, Pavlovian apocalypse?"

ABSOLUTELY YES! You are not alone in your "hip phantom." When I was between jobs 15 years ago, I kept reaching to see if I had lost the pager (pre-cell phone days) and of course it wasn't there! There was no pager to carry. When that thing was surgically removed upon my employeer severance, I rejoiced, no more pager!! About 2 months later I longed for another. Pavlonvian conditioning. I had carried it for too many years then and I was just 31!

Even now, if I go out without the cell phone, I am constantly reaching to see why my hip feels strange.

Yeah, that Pavlov. You can have him after I get done with him!

Anonymous said...

I was well into middle age (52) when I got hooked to my first cell phone jobbee. At first it was fun, but then I began to miss MY TIME; that alone just for me time when I was totally out of touch and could allow myself to reflect, or day dream or just drift from random thought to thought. Before the advent of the cell and pager we got by and no real disasters occurred because we couldn't be immediately reached. I decided then there would be times the tether would be cut and I would take back MY TIME. I wonder if some of the stress that is so much more prevalent today is due to this forever availability and never a moment for self? BB

dr. GONZO said...

Dude...The same thing happens to me every freaking day! I don't know if it's muscle spazams, or my subconscious telling me I need to be somewhere. Either way, it's really freaking annoying. Word.

Anonymous said...

Or when you are half watching TV and the Nextel "chirp" goes off in that TV show you were watching--first reaction is yelling at the station for bugging me, then realizing it was on the TV, not in real life-- still upset that it reminded me of work.

Cam said...

Happens here as well. My hip is buzzing! ...wait....where is my phone? I guess I don't need the phone anymore...I'll just answer my hip :-)

Andy Aldridge said...

I don't wear mine on my hip anymore but I do carry it in my pocket. Either way, I've had the same thing happen. I'll be in Costco, minding my own business and feel the vibration on my thigh, only to realize that it's either not ringing or I left it in the car.

Maybe it's my mind telling me that I enjoy the vibrations a little bit too much and I'm going through withdrawals.

Even worse is when I go on vacation. It takes me AT LEAST 3 days to stop looking at my phone to see if I've missed a call or message.

Anonymous said...

is this shithead full of himself or what?????