It feels like my phone is Vibrating…REALLY???

Photo By Kenneth Justice - All Rights Reserved (2013)

Photo By Kenneth Justice – All Rights Reserved (2013)

~ “Kenneth that’s absurd, you can’t stop texting!”

I was sitting at coffee recently and an acquaintance of mine found out (through a friend) that I’ve cut down on how much I use text messaging.

“Why would you not want to text with people?” he asked

It’s difficult for me to pin down the exact origin of when I started to get tired of smart phones, but I think there were two phenomena that finally pushed me over the edge;

–) throughout the past couple years I suddenly started suffering from the phantom vibrate disease. This occurs when your phone is your pocket (or purse) and you think you “feel” or “hear” your phone, even though nobody is actually calling or texting you. This started to occur with such regularity, that at least a couple times a day I found myself checking to see if someone was texting or calling me, only to find myself staring at a blank screen.

Being someone who has always admired men like Gandhi and Jesus Christ and has done their utmost to follow in the footsteps of their disciplined life, I started wondering what they would think if they saw me and my smartphone and the bizarre relationship that had developed between the two us.

–) the second phenomena that started occurring was what I would describe as forced text messaging  conversations. People would text at me instead of merely picking up the phone and calling. Text message conversations are very difficult for me to have, since I place a tremendous value on substance, context, and meaning. Since more than 90% of communication is not merely the words you use, text messaging conversations are a very poor way to dialogue.

I went to the phone store a couple weeks to asked them if I could purchase a phone that doesn’t have text messaging on it,

“Hey!!! Look, it’s the coffee shop dude!” said an employee behind the counter who I’d never seen before in my life.

“Uh, hello. You know me?”

“Of course we do! You’re the coffee shop dude, we all see you in coffee shops talking to people. I listened to an hour long conversation you had the other day” she said with a huge smile on her face

I wasn’t sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing.

“Oh….ok. Uh, I was wondering if I could purchase a cell phone that doesn’t receive text messages” I asked

“Sorry sir, nobody makes a phone that won’t receive text messages” the employee said

“You mean, if I want to have a phone I am being forced to receive text messages from people even if I don’t want to read them? ” I said

“Sorry, Mr. Coffee shop, that is the way it is, but may I ask why you don’t want text messaging?”

She looked like the Chesire Cat with a huge grin plastered to her face, but we ended up having a nice conversation. She kept me there an hour talking about how she had moved back to the Midwest from California because she had two daughters and she is a single mother,

“California was difficult to raise them without friends and family nearby. I really needed a stronger sense of community in my life” she said

While the employee was nice enough. Unfortunately, I left empty handed, and as I was walking out the door my pocket started vibrating. I grabbed my phone to see who was calling me, it was just a blank screen. Another phantom call….. <SIGH>

I think I’ll get another cup of coffee.

P.S. April 1st is the release date of my debut novel The Culture, it’s a dystopian story about technology, teenagers, and how the very fiber of our society is being changed by all of this technology. Stay tuned for more information.

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Categories: Culture & Society

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25 replies

  1. I am so glad I’m not the only one who suffers from phantom vibrations, mine coming from my handbag all the time. I have been paranoid enough to start thinking that phones are programmed to vibrate randomly just to make you look and then use some app or other (and then absorb the advertising) because you’ve pulled your phone out.

    I would honestly be quite happy with a phone that just calls and texts people (for the sole purpose of reminding them to pick up milk etc., not anything in-depth), rather than a smartphone, but I get free hand-me-downs every time my partner upgrades so I can’t complain too much.

    Hopefully the people who text you read your posts (on their phones no doubt) and will call instead.

  2. Maybe those phantom vibrations are the ghosts of text messages never sent to you, the ones people never hit send on lol.
    I actually place a value on text messaging. Certain people, especially those struggling with anxiety, often find it easier to reach out to others via text. Your tone can’t be misinterpreted, you have the ability to stop and edit your response if your first inclination was one of anger or judgement, you can take the time to craft a thoughtful response to a serious topic and the words you send can be re-read by the other person if they need to for additional comfort or reassurance. Now, much like anything, texting has its dark side. It can, and often is, misused. Texting can allow others to stay at a distance but it all depends on the person and how they use this tool of communication.
    If you prefer to communicate face to face or voice to voice you absolutely should. Other people should respect your choice. Many won’t be able to understand but that’s their own limitation. We don’t have to understand someone else’s preferences in order to respect them. The written word can never replace personal interactions, never has, never will, but it has its place in the arsenal of communication and it will remain a well used tool by the masses no matter how fancy technology gets.

  3. Most moderate latest annoying distraction human discovery…LOL
    Kenneth, did you get my text? 😆

  4. I can so relate to your plight. Great to “see” you again!

  5. I am feeling the same way looking forward to retirement so I can cut the wireless cord and go back to a home phone and answering machine

  6. It is funny in away how we people talk about the need of a strong sense for a community and we hardly ever deviate from our screen. It is like a small wall we have to climb in order to become that community.

    Have that sense of communication and being together rather than feeling a distant as your phone vibrates.

    We had a commercial in the 80’s 90’s I think where the mobile phone was praised.

    In short. They sat in a row boat and talked over the phone. the conversation and it be the last bit was something like this.
    “We will call.”
    “Yes we will.”
    “And still I feel a distance.”

    This was in a row boat. And the longer we use it the more I truly felt like it only widens the distance between people.

    BUt enough about me 😀

    Oh where are the dumb phones.. I want one or a set at least…

    • i’m gonna go on youtube and try and find that commercial : )

    • Hope you received the video link

    • For you my friend I will include the translation.

      M – But we could still talk about it right?
      W- That is what you always want
      M – Do you still love me?
      W- Of course I love you…
      M – But you never say it..
      W – *sigh* I love you.
      M – Yeah yeah sure Now now now your saying it just because I asked you.
      Say it from the heart.
      W – I love you!
      M – *SIGH* Yeah still i am feeling a distance

      The is pretty much similar except this time she has lost her phone

      Hope you enjoyed the Dutch langauge

    • TJ!!!! That was hilarious! hahaha, awesome : )

    • Glad you enjoyed them..

      As mentioned those were then made 20years already because it was so called cheap to call. Thus making distance shorter, yet these days we do sit next to each other and feel a bigger distance. Its is strange how we work..
      Have a great day

  7. LOL great post 🙂 Yeah, I can’t say I get the phantom calls or texts but it’s rather my hope of hearing from someone because I never do! My phone is so completely neglected ugh…lol. Probably for the best I suppose. Sadly, I think I have to get a smart phone because work and what not is simply getting too difficult to not have one. I hate that really but oh well. I’m a little stunned that with as “famous” as you’ve become that you are surprised that people know you lol. Um hello?!?! Your blog and your always being out and about tends to do that…just saying. Have a good day!

  8. Maybe the vibrations are from all of the coffee.

  9. Can I have your phone number so that I can call you instead of typing out my comments?

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