We all have them, basically. We use them every day for simple things ranging from making phone calls to checking a text message, but we also slam to the other side of the spectrum and delve into games, augmented reality, and video conferencing around the globe.
I’ll bet when the Finnish company Mobira Oy introduced the first car phone in 1982 (called the Mobira Senator NMT-450), they never would have imagined their 22 pound device would eventually branch out and evolve into the digital time-sink we all seem to can’t live without (at least for more than 10 seconds, 2 feet away from us).
Over the years as cell phones have morphed and changed into making and taking calls on the go into a full computing platform, we’ve come to develop a condition that many people experience, which has been dubbed as Phantom Vibration Syndrome.
As mentioned in the above Wikipedia article, there are other charming and colloquial terms such as “ringxiety” and “fauxcellarm”. While not an actual syndrome, essentially it’s when we experience a tactile hallucination where we believe we have heard our phone ring, vibrate, or chime to let us know we’ve received a call or notification when we in fact haven’t.
I tend to experience something a bit different.
While at work, I have my phone on silent/vibrate so if a call or notification comes in, I don’t hear it. I have enough happening at work with phones ringing: I don’t need my personal phone jingling at me as well.
One day not long ago, I put my phone in my pocket before I left the house and drove to work. As the day went on, I went about my business and had a fairly productive day with the standard amount of phone calls, messages, customers to assist, questions to answer, etc. Something wasn’t quite right however, and while I couldn’t pinpoint what it was, I simply shook it off as fleeting paranoia about something I couldn’t deal with at the moment.
After my shift was over, I grabbed my coat and satchel (YES I HAVE A SATCHEL DON’T JUDGE ME IT LOOKS COOL… I THINK) and started to head out the door. My smart-watch battery was dead (another article for another day) so I pulled my phone out of my pocket and went to flick the silent switch off… but it was already there. I checked for any calls or texts that I may have missed during the day, but there was absolutely nothing.
While a lot of people I know would be horrified at the idea of not that their phone was on full volume all day, but that they didn’t get any texts/calls/notifications AT ALL.
As I stood in the doorway (probably blocking people from coming in the building), I had a sense of calm and quirky satisfaction come over me. Not because I thought nobody cared enough to reach out to me during the day, but that I didn’t have a (seemingly) hundred texts, calls, and notifications to get back too. I realized that it was really ok to not have my phone “blowing up” (as the kids say… I think) only to have to spend a half an hour or so responding to everything.
Call me crazy… but silence is my favourite ringtone.