Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Are You Nomophobic?

I heard a new word recently: Nomophobic. It means fear of being without one's cell phone. The derivation of the word is simple. "No mobile phone" fear. And it's on the rise.

Ten years ago when I was driving home from work I would notice the occasional driver talking on his or her cell phone. But that was then, and this is now. A week or two ago I did an informal survey and noticed that in one five-minute stretch a full 80% of the people coming toward me had a cell phone pressed tightly to their ear. Of course, that was about 5:00 in the evening, and it was possible that these folks were calling home to see if they needed to pick up bread and milk. But 80% of them?

Who are all those people calling while driving? Not everyone can be checking to see if they need to stop by the grocery or cleaners. My theory is that, in our modern world, we're so committed to multitasking that we can't stand the thought of "wasting" time behind the wheel of the car. We need to be talking. We need to be doing. Otherwise, someone might get ahead of us. Or, maybe they're already there.

There was an excellent blog post recently about quiet time for writers, time to "brood" as it were. Often, when I'm in the car alone, I keep the radio off and simply meditate. I have to admit that I get some of my best ideas then. But, as Wordsworth said, "the world is too much with us, late and soon." Apparently I'm in a distinct minority when it comes to having a quiet time. Others prefer to glue a cell phone to their ear. That's their choice, but it still makes we wonder.

Do you talk on your cell phone when you drive? Why? Or why not? Let me know.

12 comments:

Anne Mateer said...

I don't talk on my cell phone when I drive, but I do have it near me at all times. Partly that's because it is my only phone (we canceled our home phone a year ago and haven't missed it!) and I feel the need to be available should my husband or kids need me. However, my husband and I just got back from a week long cruise, where I would have had to pay exorbitant rates for our phones to work. And while the first day or so felt strange without them, by the end of the week we both realized we'd had a real vacation since we couldn't use our phones!

Richard Mabry said...

Anne, You and your husband are part of a growing group that has cancelled their land line and gone totally cellular. It's probably generational, but we haven't taken that step yet.
I have to confess that, after many years of being "tethered" to my pager and later my cell phone as a practicing physician, I enjoy the times when I can actually be unreachable, even if only for a short time.

Louise said...

Nope, I don't use my phone when I'm driving. I lock it in the back to stop me from being tempted! It's quite nice to have to ignore it sometimes....

Louise.Gibney.writer
@LiteratureLou

Richard Mabry said...

Good for you, Louise. Removing the temptation might be an answer. (Also, in this area, the fine for using the cell phone in an active school zone might be a motivating factor at some times of the day).
Thanks for your comment.

Kelly Combs said...

I use the time in my car to return calls. That is my designated phone time. However, I have a hands free bluetooth, so I can keep both hands on the wheel.

I guess you would have marked me in the 20% not on the phone in your survey. I suspect that many of those you marked as not on the phone were actually on hands free.

Richard Mabry said...

Kelly, I note that you're several states away from me, so I won't chide you about distracted driving (or have to watch for you when I'm on the roads). : )
And you're probably right--maybe the 20% were on their bluetooth. Thanks for your comment.

Donna Pyle said...

Hi, my name is Donna, and I'm a nomophobic. :) But not because I have to be doing something. It's more along the lines of living in a big city and the threat of being road kill on the side of the road with no way to call for help. Comforting, right? :)

Richard Mabry said...

Donna, I think there's a difference between having a cell phone as a link to others for use as needed and being permanently connected to it by an electronic umbilical cord. I herewith grant you immunity from any penalties and declare you, at best, a minor nomophobic.

Erica Vetsch said...

I don't talk on the cell phone and drive. I have only had my cell phone for about 18 months, and it's a flip kinda phone that has no internet access, no texting enabled, no apps. :) In fact, I still use the ringtone that came with it because I don't know how to change it to another one and don't care if I do.

I keep the phone with me so that my kids and husband can reach me if they have an emergency. Otherwise, I don't really use it.

Jackie S. said...

I don't talk on the cell phone while driving. I keep it handy, and if it rings, I pull over to answer it. I am retired and only get calls from hub or grown kids and not often.

Catherine West said...

Oh, don't get me started!! It's actually illegal to use a cellphone while driving here, and I'm always amazed at how many people do it. I will be the first to admit that I am an internet addict and when I'm home, my fingers are usually on the keyboard. I'm far more accessible on Facebook than I am by phone. I have a cell phone but I rarely use it. I don't text. And I don't have anyone I need to speak to at 8am while dropping kids off to school - that always amazed me when I was doing the school run! I believe cells have their place, they are great to have for emergencies or while traveling, but I'd go so far as to say that they've become a drug. If you can't put the phone down for five minutes, you've got a problem.

Richard Mabry said...

Erica and Jackie--bless you, and may your tribe increase. Thanks for your comments, and your common sense.

Catherine--ah, but I think I did get you started. And I'm fuming right along with you. Thanks for hopping over from Bermuda to join in.