Pavlov’s Idiot

Back in the dark ages of 2012/2013 the Pebble watch came out. I jumped on the idea quickly. I was, after all, the guy who had email on his phone back when that meant using a Sidekick and making sure it could load telnet so I could check my mail via pine while I was on the road. I liked being in touch.

Being that connected way back then (good ol’ 2002) paid off, too. I sold at least one story because I could submit it when asked, and there was a time crunch going on. That was how I justified allowing myself to tether to the world that hard.

Recently, however, I’ve felt the need to step back in tiny ways. I find myself longing for the days of a pager, really. I mean I want to be in contact, but I don’t always love getting emails, and texts, and calls right to my pocket at all times. I don’t always love the idea that I am always available at a second’s notice.

There are some people for whom, yep I totally am! And happily. But mostly the feeling drags me down more and more.

So I decided to make a small change.

I love watches, I have always loved watches. I’ve worn a watch whenever I go outside (I don’t tend to wear them while typing, or in my house, not much at least) since I was around 10. One of my all time fave watches was one I picked up around then, and then lost somehow and never ever found and I am NOT still sad about losing that watch – you are! Shush!

Uhm. Right. Watches.

Realizing that the phone could go off in my pocket, vibrate to itself, and tell me there was something going on without me having to glance at my wrist instantly ot know what it was and respond, I made the choice to go back to wearing a normal watch.

Fine. Easy.

Just turn off the vibrating thing attached to my wrist, and put on a normal, nice watch. It’s been about a week since I decided to make the change and I’ve learned something about myself.

It goes like this:

My phone vibrates in my pocket.

I raise my right arm and look at my wrist and wait for it to vibrate.

It doesn’t because I am wearing a normal watch.

I read the time, feel silly, and go back to what I was doing.

Yup. I Pavlov’d myself something fierce in the last five years. As someone who still occasionally feels Phantom Pager (and kids, if you don’t know what Phantom Pager is, look it up) I have to wonder how long it will take to unlearn the reflex – if I even will. There’s a chance I’ll go back to the smart watch stuff, of course. Possibly just to stop fighting the reflex I have, possibly because I really do need to be that connected now – but I hope not.

Still, for right now it’s: Vibrate. Look at wrist. Sigh. Check time. Feel foolish.

By Adam P. Knave

Adam P. Knave wrote this, but you knew that, since this is his site. That’s kinda how it works.

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