ursangnome: (Default)
[personal profile] ursangnome
I hate my phone.

This is not the normal kind of techie-hate for a device's function, or the everyman's hate for crappy service. My phone and service work quite well, honestly. And, "hate," is probably the wrong word.

I fear my phone.

Or, perhaps more accurately, I have been conditioned to have my phone be a symbol that elicits anxiety.

My wife and I discuss animal training every once in a while, and I know humans often scoff at the idea that it can happen to them. But it is quite clear to me that we are very trainable. And, this also stands as as an example of how negative reinforcement training is a clumsy, unreliable thing. I take no social phone calls to speak of. So, over the past few months, with my wife's injury and attendant insurance issues, major challenges at work, and my mother's declining health, I expect 75% or more of the time, when my phone made any kind of noise, whatever came out of it was going to be a difficulty, or something distressing. Intellectually, I don't associate the problems with the phone, or even the people calling me, but with the situations behind all of it.

But emotionally, I seem to have associated that with the phone. I don't want the phone. I want to forget to charge it, leave it off, leave it behind. I get a little knot in my gut when I think about my phone.

I don't feel the same issue with, for example, my e-mail. The good things in the day, my wife e-mails me about! E-mail is where we arrange gaming sessions, and pleasant social engagements! While there are still problems in my e-mail, I also get good things in there, so it is ultimately positive. My phone is not so lucky.

I only recently consciously realized this has happened. That leaves me wondering how many things I, and people in general, have been conditioned to avoid. Subtly, just under the surface, so that we don't even notice it ourselves. How often is that foot dragging you might see from someone else not laziness, or incompetence, but just negative reinforcement training?

Date: 2013-11-01 04:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] autographedcat.livejournal.com
I totally get this. For a long time when I was the sole on-call sysadmin at my old job and we were going through a particularly bad period with a lot of technical challenges, I would get a knot in my stomach every single time my phone rang. Not just metaphorically -- I had acute physical responses to the sound of it. Not only that, but the feeling of relief when I looked to see it wasn't a work call was palpable as well.

Because my anxiety was very narrowly focused, I eventually solved this problem by getting a phone that allowed me to assign custom ringtones,and setting up a "work" ringtone separate to personal calls, but I still totally understand what you mean.

Date: 2013-11-01 04:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] autographedcat.livejournal.com
On the subject of training, I remember having a leadership meeting with members of my WoW guild, and we were discussing attendance problems we were having with our scheduled raid nights. I suggested perhaps we could give some bonus DKP to folks who showed up on time and were ready to go 10 minutes before the start time, and the guild leader grumbled "We shouldn't have to reward people for doing what they're supposed to do in the first place."

And I said "No, we shouldn't. But...that's how you train mammals. And while I've only thoroughly examined a couple of them, I'm reasonably sure most if not all of them are, in fact, mammals."

Date: 2013-11-01 06:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vettecat.livejournal.com
Makes perfect sense. Kind of like when your home phone rings at 2:30 a.m. and you wake in a panic, sure it must be an emergency. (This happened recently, it turned out to be a wrong number. But it took a while for the adrenalin to ebb so I could fall back asleep.)

Date: 2013-11-02 01:22 am (UTC)
citabria: (C Naked sodoku)
From: [personal profile] citabria
I get this. That happened to me after my dad died and even more so after my grandmother died, leaving my mom alone in her house. I had my cell phone by my side all the freakin' time and got to where I hated it and wanted it to never ring. It took months for me to realize that I no longer needed to have the phone with me at all times, and that its ringing was mostly a good thing.

Getting a new phone helped a lot, and now I'm wondering whether part of why I'm wanting to get a smartphone so badly is because I associate this phone with my former job in Shrewsbury. I would love to have no more reminders of that time.

Date: 2013-11-02 01:24 pm (UTC)
jducoeur: (device)
From: [personal profile] jducoeur
Sympathies. I don't know how many subconscious tics I picked up from Jane's traumatic last couple of months, but I'd bet there are several lurking down there...


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