On Nomophobia

I learned a new concept last week. It came about as we were lounging about my brother-in-laws pool on Christmas night. He’s got this great little bungalow out the back of his yard with a built in barbecue, fridge, television and stereo and with an adjoining pool. We were chowing down on King Prawn kebabs and the like while the kiddies swam in the pool to cool off from the heat wave we were experiencing. Christmas in Australia isn’t so much about “Dashing through the snow” as it is about “Dashing across the hot sand at the beach” in 35-40 Celcius.

I noticed, however, that Jett was struggling down at the deep end of the pool. He was paddling like mad, out of arms reach of the edge. Despite all the swimming lessons we have invested in, our kids are still not competent swimmers. We met eyes, and his look told me that he was going down and probably not coming up again. Everything else seemed to disappear from view, and my ears could hear no sound. The only thought in my mind, and perhaps in both our minds, was to make sure that Jett could take another breath.

I do remember one thought: should I jump in feet first or should I dive? I don’t know how I arrived at my decision but I do remember being very conscious of that question. I did a flying leap off a three step runup that would have made Bob Beamon proud, took another step and gently lifted Jett onto my shoulders and over to the edge of the pool.

After we sorted Jett out, I wanted to check the time. Being a modern guy, I don’t have a watch but prefer to read the time off my mobile phone. It was then that I realised that I’d jumped into the pool with my trusty HTC Desire Z phone in my pocket. I took it out and I kid you not, it was like the poor thing was shivering and moaning in pain. The water had shorted out the vibration mechanism as well as the speakers, and it was emitting a shrill death cry as it shook.

HTC Desire Z

Alas poor Desire Z

Which leads me to the title of this article: Nomophobia is defined as the fear of being out of mobile phone contact, an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone phobia”. Yes, I later discovered that there’s actually a word for how I was feeling. I wasn’t scared so much as having an immediate anxiety of not having a tool which is pretty central to my day to day life. Everything I have is on that phone, or rather was. Under any other circumstance if I’d lost or wrecked my phone I’d be cursing like a mother fucker, but I just smiled at myself because I much preferred this outcome to the possible alternative.

The good news is that I now have a reason to go shopping, and also since everything in my online life is synced with Google (Gmail, Contacts, Drive, Play Books, Music etc) I haven’t actually lost anything. I’ll just turn my new phone on, log in, sync up and be on my way like nothing happened, which is exactly how Jett must want things too.