Insurmountable pain delivered by the evil itches of chicken pox, incredulous blisters caused by continuous use of crutches, and the artic blasts of ice applied for back pain have all attempted to prepare me with endurance and stamina in dealing with life’s stem of certain unwelcomed and unavoidable thorns. There aren’t many bones I haven’t broken, twisted or otherwise overused. Fortunately, the common cold isn’t all that common for me. Growing up playing with large farm animals, jumping from barns, and being used as a human cannon ball to scare snakes out of swimming holes, I consider myself to be somewhat resilient.
There is a new ailment that pales my powers of prevention. No amount of orange juice, zinc or Mamma’s grits can tame the symptoms or shorten the suffrage of the formidable Notification Suffocation. This new disease brings forth challenges that modern medicine did not predict and simply cannot treat. Attacking the very core of any unsuspecting victim in unimaginable ways at tremendously inopportune times, Notification Suffocation spreads with warp like speed and leaves a path of certain devastation.
As a nondiscriminatory predator, it affects women and men. Paralyzing them both with a varying degree of shame, guilt, shock and reducing even the most astute attention span to that of a hyped up honey badger; it strikes with piercing preciseness. Symptoms in women can be spotted quite easily. Any female suffering with bouts of Notification Suffocation will exhibit obvious signs of distress. Women all over the world are dropping iPhones in toilets, typing on Blackberries in beauty shops, and utilizing iPads to photograph food, fashion and unfortunate friends. Their faces show signs of make-up application gone awry in an attempt to apply mascara while iMessaging. Their outfits are a desperate cry for help that portrays dressing while texting and their fingernails show wear from incessant updating on Facebook.
Men are not immune to the crippling effects, the outward signs or the immediate hazards. All across land and sea, obscenities are being shrilled at drowned Droids, backed over Blackberries, and irreplaceable iPhones. Fisherman are baiting while blabbing, contractors are trimming while texting, and business men all over the world are updating their profiles during presentations. The results are astounding and the adverse effect on production of any kind is staggering.
I too suffer from Notification Suffocation. Barely being able to compose a complete sentence without the desire to “lol” or “wth”, my conversation skills have fallen prey to a mere forty words or less regime. It has progressed to the point of text trauma and dropped call drama. Any chime, buzz, ring or rattle; with robot precision I respond to even the most unnecessary notification. The microwave goes off and I check my phone. The doorbell rings and I check my phone. It is a sad existence.
In a world of technological relationships, basic interaction becomes difficult, face to face second to Facebook, and eye to eye replaced by iPhone to iPad. I do miss the days of coffee shop conversations, waiting in line introductions, and real life smiles at real life updates. We can only hope to combat this illness with human interaction, complete sentences, and an ability to resist answering in the shower. We were able to put a man on the moon; possibly we can find a way to put down our phones.