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PT (Post-Technology)

by Barbara A. Carrington


Barbara has put down her scientific pen after a long, diversified career in nursing for a creative writing pen. She hopes to become a late bloomer in the literary world. She lives in Houston, Texas where she is enjoying this transition.

     You are making progress, my therapist reminded me during our session yesterday, as I wistfully recalled the years PTT(Prior To Technology). Ah, yes, that time before my Identity Crisis when my self-esteem was reasonably intact, and before I suffered from the crush of the domineering boot of the technological tyrants which had disrupted my quasi-peaceful life.

     This shift in power began with the purchase of a home security system, which seemed like a wise choice, until it malfunctioned and continually screamed the message "FAILURE! FAILURE!"

      Unable to turn it off, I was subjected to its repetitive insulting words until I had to admit that my self-esteem was completely flattened by its vicious attack. After twenty-four hours of its incessant bombardment, a technician came and ended its reign of terror by removing the monster, leaving me unprotected from burglary, and with an  Anxiety Disorder.

     My psychiatrist said that I had also developed Paranoia because I held the security system solely responsible for my additional problem, Traumatic Neurosis. It did ease my tension when he conceded that the vile mouthed tyrannical system did indeed have a Repetition Compulsion.I concluded that I would rather be robbed than be intimidated by mean-spirited technology, especially technology afflicted with a compulsion.

     However, I am still at the mercy of the dictatorship of the remaining myriad of technological devices that co-exist with me. Coming home after a power surge to a frenzy of flashing notifications in every room alerting me to "RESET! RESET!" squelches my diminished sense of autonomy. Rather than kicking off my shoes and relaxing, I find myself rushing around like a dutiful servant, following the demands of these electronic rulers.

     In group therapy it has been established that I have a Hysterical Personality resulting from my submission to the collective bossiness of the devices. There will come a time when I will defiantly unplug every last one of them. I will assert my authority. I will. I will.

     There is one appliance though which has endeared itself to me because it is not overbearing and demanding like the others. It is my microwave oven, which I have described as having lovely manners. It displays the words, "Food Is Ready" in a demurely polite fashion, leaving it totally up to me to proceed in my own sweet time. I imagine my microwave as a respectful, congenial butler making announcements." Food Is Ready" very well might be "At Your Leisure, Madam" or "Whenever It Suits You, Your Highness." It is definitely my cup of tea.

     When I spoke about my microwave with affection to my doctor, I noticed that he jotted down on his notepad, "Idealization". After all, he commented, because it was now PT, disorders and neuroses have an uncanny way of piling up in some people.

     We made time in our session to discuss the delusions and illusions that I've been having due to never being able to talk to a human being when I try to reach a business by phone. He suggested that we role-play so I ran through a typical experience of making a call.

     "Your call is important to us. Listen carefully as our menu has changed. Press 37 to hear the fabulous make-over version. Press 71 if you care to reminisce over the old outdated menu. To leave a message, wait for the tone, press STAR six times rapidly, and speak in a pleasant, melodious voice. Spell your name, your favorite aunt's maiden name, your confirmation name, and the name of your grade school pet. If you want to leave a call back number, press 89 followed by the pound key. Be aware that you must press the pound key vigorously or this call will disconnect. Do NOT hang up or you will regret that action. You must enter 3016400000 to terminate this call. This message will not be repeated. You were instructed to listen carefully."

     My psychiatrist wants me to join his Assertive Training Classes which he believes will be helpful  in the treatment of my Social Breakdown Syndrome which has developed from SFP (Stress From Phone). I plan to enroll as soon as I am able to get my computer up and running. It crashed last week just before I could send the payment for my therapy electronically. The computer guy, who gave me his card in group, texted me that he will check out my computer as soon as his car GPS is back in operation.

     I left my therapist's office, not with exactly grandiose feelings, but with the reassurance that I am making progress. I am. I am. 

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