Stress: Mobile Communications Have Made the World a Village and I Am Its Idiot

Stress: Mobile Communications Have Made the World a Village and I Am the Village Idiot

Part One: Anxiety and How Your World, Bad or Good, Is a Projection of Your Thoughts

Dateline: Flight American Airlines 859 Austin to LA. There are a hundred or so people on this flight. We will all go through the same sky over the same period of time. But each of us will have our own personally produced and directed experience. I hate knowing this. Makes me responsible for what goes on inside my chest cavity even when I’m surrounded with all these handy scapegoats.

While once you are on the plane your physical choices are limited, there are certain bits of advise you can follow to improve your chances of keeping your cool on a trip. here are a couple of stress preventing tips.

Travel Tip One: Do not buy a new pair of shoes before a trip. Not following this simple rule could land you bribing a taxi driver who is forbidden to pick up short street fares forty dollars to take you the six blocks between the Mandalay Bay and the MGM on the Las Vegas Strip.

Travel Tip Two: Do not buy a new electronic device, say a Samsung Galaxy Tab, on the evening before a trip. with the plan of conquering the new system and set-up so that you can transfer your current manuscript from your seventeen inch monster laptop into the new device and use the new device the next day, easily balancing it on the tray table on the plane.

Sure, I know this tip NOW. But not yesterday afternoon when I stopped at Best Buy to pick up a Hepafilter replacement and wandered, as always through the laptop section…just in case. “Any non-Apple seventeen inch laptops weighing less than a banana yet?” “No, Dr. DeShong, the one you have still leads the pack.” (I know. Way too many waiters and way too many electronics’ salespeople know me by name, the first because of my lack of kitchen time and the second group because every purchase I make comes with return trips and questions these young salesmen find hilarious.)

Had I zigged left instead of right last night, I wouldn’t have passed a table showcasing new tablets and so much about this trip would have been different. For example, I wouldn’t be on both the Best Buy and the Samsung Ten Most Wanted lists. When I spotted the shiny new toy my heart took off. I waved at my salesman friend and said, “I’ll take this tablet and this cover and this keyboard, and this stylus and this screen cover (VERY IMPORTANT, see below). “This will be easy for me to set up, right?” I asked.

“Practically automatic,” he said with the confident enthusiasm of a pre-teen IPhone owner.

I bring my new toy home. I haven’t packed yet, and the dogs have to have a bath, I haven’t eaten since breakfast, and I have a client or two before the workday officially ends. I should wait till later. There is absolutely no good reason to open this puppy and attempt a new system.

Foam and plastic flew as I took the Jaws of Life to the packaging. Tiny unreadable warranties and instructions flipped out into the foam, plastic and cardboard debris. I held the slim, glowing beauty in my hands and grinned smugly picturing myself whipping out my tablet while others on the flight struggled with clumsy laptops. Why can’t these people keep up with the times?

As I placed my new toy on my desk to await my magic fingers until I finished my appointments which ended at 7:30. The Voice of Reason, that witch so often ruining my good times, called to me from out of the fog:

“Pack first, bathe the dogs, return calls first…this new device set-up could take longer than you think…” That’s the problem with the Voice of Reason. The V of R is way too tied to the past, way too determined to hold that unfortunate and unpleasant weekend we call “The Hellhole Weekend of the Apple Air” against me. Hey, Best Buy took it back, didn’t they? Scratches and all.

Free tip: Those young boys at the Geek Squad return desk can’t take a mature woman crying in public. Okay, wailing.

So, forget it, Voice of Reason. Pshaw. Maybe most people would pack first, but learning how to use my new toy wasn’t going to take more than a few minutes. Again I flashed on myself on the plane, whipping out my snazzy new tablet and clicking through the manuscript I’d downloaded from the clumsy seventeen incher (the one I’m using now on the rickety tray table).

Appointments over, I began the tablet set-up. I made it all the way to “how to turn on” what we shall refer to as call that Freaking Samsung Techno Devil or the FSTD.

Oh, wait. Here comes the beverage cart. Pretty hard to find a place for my Coke can with this giant computer on my tray table. Oh, I’ll just stick the can in the seat pocket in front of me. Oops…sheesh…ouch! I hate it when my computer hits my bare toes. To be continued….



I'm a psychologist who goes to way too many movies, for the same reason I chose this profession. I love stories. I use movies and novels working with people in my office and during speaking engagements. "You should write some of this down," I kept being told. So, this is it, folks.

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