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Is it bad this happens to me all the time?

October 13, 2007

CNN reports on an ailment that is sadly becoming more and more common, and one which I have become severely afflicted: the phantom vibration. This happens when your cellphone (or for most of the people in the article, their Blackberry) is set to vibrate and you think someone is calling/messaging/emailing you when they are not (Wikipedia prefers the term “ringxiety” to phantom vibration). CNN gets an expert to give a very philosophical reason for the phenomenon:

“As human beings, we’re so tapped into our community, responsiveness to what’s going on, we’re so attuned to the threat of isolation and rejection, we’d rather make a mistake than miss a call,” he said. “Our brain is going to be scanning and scanning and scanning to see if we have to respond socially to someone.”

I suppose this is nicer than them just coming and saying what the actually think about some of these people, which is: “you’re crazy.” Adding to the problem for some of these crazy people is that they’ve become addicted to their BlackBerry:

Zaback, who said he keeps his BlackBerry by his bed while he sleeps, checks it if he gets up in the middle of the night and wakes to an alarm on the BlackBerry each day, said [the phantom vibrations] didn’t worry him.

Even when I don’t have the BlackBerry physically on my person, I do find myself adjusting my posture when I sit to accommodate it,” said Dawn Mena, an independent technology consultant based in Thousand oaks, California “I also laugh at myself as I reach to unclip it (I swear it’s there) and find out I don’t even have it on.

Scott Adams (the Dilbert guy, whose blog is surprisingly interesting), has the best response to the phantom vibration:

Ooh, it’s an e-mail with good news!’ So far, the only good news is that my pocket is vibrating, and that’s OK because it gives me hope that the condition might spread to the rest of my pants.

At least I am not as bad as most of the people in this article are, yet. I just think my phone is ringing when it is not. Like people who hear voices, or talk to things that aren’t there.

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