It's that Great American Tradition when, driven by wanderlust, a sense of new adventures or just plain boredom, we load as many of our worldly possessions as will fit or can be crammed into our vehicles and take off for parts both known and unknown. Inevitably, before going five miles, we strike our foreheads and say an expletive, remembering an item of great necessity we forgot to pack. And so it begins.
And here we are ... road tripping our way to Texas to see family and friends. Yes, we could hop on an airplane and be there in two hours (with an additional four hours or more of airport parking, security lines and the dreaded delays). But why fly when you can enjoy seeing all the wonders of our Great Country up close and personal, especially parked in front of a sign saying "Road Work Next 117.2 Miles."
But I digress.
For Pam and I, we find it's the simple pleasures that are the best. And one of our guilty pleasures is definitely Raising Cane's Chicken. Along with the chicken, we especially love their dipping sauce and Texas toast. Their franchises haven't reached South Florida as yet, so we make it a point to scout them out as we head westward.
For entertainment, there's the commercial-free music stations on satellite radio, along with a handful of audio books we got from the North Palm Beach Library. The miles go zipping by, especially in parts of Louisiana and Texas, where the speed limit is 75. (There are toll roads in Texas where the posted limit is 85, BTW).
So here we are spending Thanksgiving with our Texas family. And right on cue, a cold front has blown in, dropping nighttime temps into the upper 30s and low 40s. After a decade in Florida, we hardly own a sweater anymore. So along with a road trip, that means a shopping trip. No matter. The house here has a big fireplace and a stack of wood outside.
With the warmth of family and friends at hand, we already have much to be thankful for.
Being an English major, and a general word geek, I always like discovering a new word. My new word for this week is "Nomophobia."
What is nomophobia? Basically, the fear of not having your cell phone. Short for "no-mobile-phone phobia" (although some argue it is more an anxiety than a true phobia).
Whether you have a weak signal, are out of range, a low battery or just plain left it at home. Any of those things could trigger a raging bout of nomophobia.
According to Wikipedia, the term "was coined during a 2008 study by the UK Post Office who commissioned YouGov, a UK-based research organization evaluating anxieties suffered by mobile phone users. The study found that nearly 53% of mobile phone users in Britain tend to be anxious when they "lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit, or have no network coverage". The study, sampled 2,163 people, found that about 58% of men and 47% of women suffer from the phobia, and an additional 9% feel stressed when their mobile phones are off. 55% of those surveyed cited keeping in touch with friends or family as the main reason that they got anxious when they could not use their mobile phones."
The study also equated the stress of doing without a mobile phone and a trip to the dentist.
Personally, I think anyone who has used a cell phone for any length of time has experienced some degree of nomophobia at one time or another. If you suddenly remember you left your cell phone at home, you'll drive 10 miles to go back and get it. How many times a day do you reach for your pocket or purse to make sure it's still there? Keys, driver's license, cell phone -- all things you keep on your person at all times.
And considering how the cost of smartphones continues to climb (now at $1,000 for the new iPhone X), it just makes the stress that much greater.
Just thinking about that makes my own nomophobia kick in.
Yes, I know it's spelled like "Jerry." No, I don't know why it's pronounced "Gary."