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Kicking It with our phones

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal

Special to The Village News

And all of this time, you didn’t even know it. Sadly, you’ve probably even been guilty of it. Certainly, if you have children, you have had it done to you. In fact, it’s usually done to you by the ones you love the most.

Often you will be sitting right next to them, at the dining room table, or in a movie, a concert, at the theatre, or a restaurant, often in the company of friend’s ‘n’ loved ones, in the car, but of course, the worst is behind the wheel.

Call it a tick. A nervous condition. Society is hooked across the generations! And it all started with the movie, “You’ve Got Mail.” Instead of food, now we are rewarded by the sound of an electronic ping.

Like lab rats, our nervous system has developed a knee-jerk reflex condition to it. While for senior adults it may have taken us decades to acquire the response, our youngster’s spongy nervous systems have absorbed the concept from the cradle.

Regardless, we, like Pavlov’s dogs are now conditioned to respond. It’s like a mental tick.

Back in the old days, we had to wait for our mail delivery to see which friend and family member wrote to us. Now we are trained responders. It’s an automatic reaction to snag the phone and see who is reaching out to us. It sets our nervous system a dither. It is a now response. We cannot wait to see who has sent us data. We don’t even have to like the person. We just need to read it. Now!

Like those pesky dogs, we too respond to sound. Like me, you probably even have a special ringtone. It doesn’t matter. We’re all guilty of phone snubbing. Phubbing is the new word.

Although it was decades before we even got the answering machine to allow us to screen incoming calls, one wonders how long it will take for mankind to set aside our personal phones? Admit it, we are phrequently phubbed by total strangers!

Yet, phubbing is a vast improvement over strangers filling the air with their loud-obnoxious-babble. Too often I’ve been imprisoned at the boarding gate by a self-important passenger discussing their cat’s diet with their bestie.

By the way, when did instant communication become de rigueur? It seems big tech has conditioned us to the mindless flow of uninterrupted dribble. But mostly isn’t it just noise?

One ponders about the sanctity of our personal quiet space. Going a step further, here is the conjugation as I see it. To phub. To be phubbed. We can be the phubber or the phubee. There is the act of phubbing. And what of those who act phubbly? Legally we might be The Phubbor. It all boils down to being the last cocked-up opportunity to indict Trump.

Elizabeth can be reached at [email protected].

 

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