Phantom Cellphone Vibration Syndrome Is Real, Damn It

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Talk about a first-world, (half) white person problem to have. This past week I developed a sporadic vibration in my left thigh where my cellphone usually resides when it rests in my pocket. I will feel a phantom vibration every few minutes that mimics my phone's notification buzz. It got worse at Free Press Summer Fest. I wasn't expecting any texts, and my phone is not defective.

This is obviously my brain jacking with me and my crippling addiction to social media, because after all, if I don't check my Twitter and Facebook accounts every five minutes, I will die. Of course, that's only partially true. I am not alone, though, in suffering this most annoying and trivial of ailments. Cellphone vibration syndrome is a real thing. I have seen it called ringxiety and fauxcellarm, too.

"It's weird. I'm convinced there's something evil growing in the meat of my left thigh under my pocket," says Charlie Ebersbaker, a Houston-area CVS sufferer. At first when this vile affliction began, I assumed it was just a twitch I had acquired from too much caffeine, but a quick Google search -- the solution to every modern problem -- filled me in.

A recent book entitled iDisorder, by Larry Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University, delves into these purely 21st century maladies. CVS can come in many forms, from that phantom vibration most of us feel, to hearing your ringer go off when it is not, to a constant compulsion to check or touch your phone, seconds after you may have just done so.

He also attributes it to narcissism, anxiety, voyeurism and an inherently compulsive personality, though I have none of those predilections, nor does anyone who is active on social media.

We are all normal people who just like to share our lives with our friends and family and nothing is wrong with checking in on Facebook at the grocery store. Or live-tweeting our gym time. Or taking pictures of our food on Instagram and using just the right filter to capture the essence of your plate of tacos.

Exactly.

Some people are trying to combat their CVS by using the ringer only and weaning themselves off of relying on the vibration.

"The 'Phantom Ring' started for me several years ago with a Palm Treo. I've turned the vibe off and rely on the ring," says Sam on Twitter. Jarod, a local radio producer, will feel a vibration on his thigh even while he's looking at his phone on his desk.

How do we even fix this? Do we all need to detach ourselves for a few days or weeks (FUCK OFF) from our phones until the twitching stops entirely, or is this evolution and will humans one day adapt a sort of telepathy with their gadgets? A natural kind and not a manufactured one from Apple or Microsoft?

This all begs me to question whether or not this is a "new" thing. Did our great-grandparents constantly hear their doorbell or telephone ring while sitting at home? Did our ancestors hear the tap-tap-tap of the telegraph only to check and see nothing? What about the Native Americans?

"I swear I just saw a smoke signal? Did you see it, too, Running Deer, or am I going crazy?"

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7 comments
Thenonymous
Thenonymous

I don't even use my phone all that frequently, and i experience exactly the same thing Craig is describing.

Htownglitterati
Htownglitterati

The muscle twitch is from the radiation your cellphone has been emitting. 

eudemonist
eudemonist

True story:  For a while, with a previous phone, I developed a similar twitch--not a sense of vibration, but an actual muscle reflex response in the right thigh.  Weird part was, it would PRECEDE incoming calls by just a few seconds.  Radio frequencies setting off nerve endings, perhaps?

Alexa Nash
Alexa Nash

Off topic, but now I'm getting all nostalgic about Rose McGowan's old face. :(

big red
big red

I believe that this syndrome is the final result of a generation that got a trophy for participating in children's sports, and other activities. After being taught that people adored you for just showing up, the sense of privacy, or modesty was lost. This translates into people exposing their entire lives to their "friends", some of whom they never see in  person or have not seen in many years on various social media sites, and actually believing they care. I would guess the percentage of people having this disorder, or syndrome, skews heavily to people under the age of 45.

Craigley
Craigley

Never had a mouse run up your leg while driving, eh?

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