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LIKE Swiss clockwork, I find myself, at every opportunity, being drawn to my cellphone on the desk, to check for notices.

At every idle time between any chore, be it house work or just sitting down to write, there is always this as-a-matter-of-factly soothing inner voice in my head that coaxes, “CHECK YOUR PHONE!”

The urge is much stronger whenever I have posted anything online; an e-mail perhaps, a shoppee order for an item, or better yet, a joke or a photo i have uploaded today on social media.

With the latter, the instant self-gratifying effects of a “like” or any form of reply which, according to Jim Carey would complete the fact that “I am fulfilled”, then takes over my whole being, like a warm blanket.

Dopamine anyone?

In another universe, roughly sixty-two years ago in our old residential house along Ponciano Street, I was at the dinner table trying desperately to finish a bowl of vegetables and soup. Secretly, I had already apportioned about a third of the veggies to the floor under the table in the hope that the cat would eat it.

No success. Hovering in front of me was my unsmiling aunt, God bless her soul, armed with nothing more but a threat.

I now could not remember her full-length gangsta sermon during that unforgettable dinner, but what I remember at that time, everyone else had gone, leaving me to my fate, and we were the only ones left at the table. And yes, now only strains of her message remain, and it went like “…never leaving the table until the bowl was empty”.

Since then, I have never left the table unless my plate(or bowl) was empty. Fast forward to the now, I had just pored through a section of a work by this guy named Ruiz (I’m intentionally leaving with less info, so at that so you can do research, you lazy bones!), and in it, he had vividly described that mine was a classic case of domestication!
That perfect example of guilt, punishment, and finally, reward.

True enough, even if my aunt had long been gone from this plane, that particular dinner had permanently imprinted in me that unless I want to feel guilty ever, I should always strive to finish whatever I have started and always clean up that damned plate! Thus, I am… domesticated, tamed, and therefore civilized! In a sense, I speak for more than half of all you out there.

Oops, my phone just blipped.
Are both the situations related then? Being one with the urge to clean up lest be a messy diner, and the pathological phone freak now imprisoned by algorithms we have unconsciously created ourselves with each click of our fingers?

If life were a cartoon, we would be many things, a giant plant saying, “FEED ME!”, or seagulls at the harbor perched atop the docked boats’ sails, all yelling, “Mine, mine, mine…” All I know is that a movie about a bowl of veggies hadn’t been made yet. What’d it say?

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