Tag Archive for Fear

Anxiety and Phone Calls

I don’t like talking on the phone. There are two reasons for this, I’ll get one out of the way quickly because it is less important than the other.

A key component for me when conversing with people is being able to see them. When you consider that I am posting this to a blog and I’m fairly active online (and have been since the late 80s in some form or another) it seems counter-intuitive. But, in my brain, this is writing, which is different from talking. I can write, and people write back, and if I get a particularly heated or spiky response from someone, I’m not on the spot to immediately reply. I can take my time and consider the position and give a thoughtful rebuttal if it is warranted. When I talk to people, how they react, in their face and body, to the things being said supply great information for keeping from kicking over too many hornet’s nests, and also to encourage conversation if the response is positive. But when on the phone, all that drops away, and I can’t see a person rolling their eyes or gritting their teeth or fidgeting with their fingers. They might be doing those things, but I can’t see them. I don’t like this.

But the larger reason why I don’t like to talk on the phone is almost a post traumatic stress response. For years, for more than two decades, I have worked in some form or another in a customer service related position. These days I do much more programming than support, but being at a smaller company I still have to occasionally answer the phone. Because my jobs have almost always leaned toward support instead of service the people I talk to usually are having a problem and not just asking a question. And more often than not they are angry about the problem. I can do my best to try to defuse their anger, but it doesn’t always work. So the bulk of my experience using phones is to have someone yell at me.

These days, when I need to make a phone call, I pick up the phone and before I start dialing I can feel my heart speed up. My foot will start to tap or my leg start to twitch. I might even feel my face flush with heat and break into a little sweat. I know, I know, that the majority of the people I speak to on the phone these days are not going to yell at me, but I’ve been conditioned. I cannot stop my physiological and psychological response.

It’s a terrible thing that I should probably talk to someone about so I can get past it, but healthcare in this country… I won’t go there, it makes me angrier than having to talk on the phone. Anyway, so that’s why, if you need me, you should email me, or text me, or catch me on Facebook, or just drop by the house and we’ll play some board games. All of these options are better than calling me on the phone.

State of Fear

This book, State of Fear by Michael Crichton, scares the crap out of me, and its not even a horror novel. The topic of the book? Global Warming. Now, it is a fiction novel, detailing a fictitous lawsuit against the EPA and a tangled web of espionage and adventure as the lawyer of a billionaire environmentalist gets pulled into a crazy plot to engineer difinative proof that global warming is a dire threat to all of humanity.

But why does it scare me? There is a point in most people’s lives when they finally come to an understanding of just how little we, the human race, really know about how our world works. And I am not talking about just a personal realization, because I had that many years ago when I discovered that I did not know everything. I am talking about how much science is going on and how little actual certainty there is about what they are studying, especially when it comes to complex systems like global climate.

The book reads like any other thriller type novel, but right at the beginning there is an author’s note that states “references to real people, institutions, and organizations that are documented in footnotes are accurate.” And the paperback copy of the book contains a 32 page bibliography. So while reading the book, I didn’t take everything Michael Crichton chose to spoon feed me. I looked up the books and articles and read some of them myself, and I read others not used in the book, and in doing this research I ultimately came to the same conclusions about the material as he did when it came to writing his book: the media and politicians exaggerate the hell out of conjecture and dish it up as solid fact. When you read a bunch of the data, you come to realize that it is very possible that we might one day have another ice age, or that we might have a global drought with searing heat, but that we cannot conclusively say which or what is going to happen because these is alot of data out there and it points in every conceivable direction and we do not know all the variables yet. Global warming could be very real, but right now we have evidence that supports it and refutes it, in fact if you restrict your view to the data that global warming supporters throw out you would be lead to believe that the planet is actually cooling. And what really gets to the core of why this book scares me is that the world is making policies based on conclusions that are not fully realized, that cannot be fully realized.

I highly recommend this book, and I also recommend reading up on what is really going on in the world. Do not settle for what the TV tells you.

Complexity

I was pointed to a transcript earlier today: Michael Crichton speaking about the environment.

A very interesting read. I might have to go read “State of Fear”.

I fear Hate, but I hate Fear.

Last night I lead my first “break” of the zone known as the Plane of Fear in EverQuest. And now I understand the above quote from an old friend.

It refers to two alternate planes in EverQuest: Hate and Fear.

Hate is, by far, a cakewalk. You zone in to a spot that is somewhat safe and, most importantly, defendable. In the days before people thought up all the different strategies for Hate, they used to zone in, and huddle together waiting for something to notice you. Then if you survived the first onslaught, you started slowly bringing the rest of the zone to you in a somewhat orderly fashion. However, since the plane has existed for quite some time, people now zone in, run along the walls to a safer camp and pretty much do as they please. Its almost smooth as clockwork.

Fear, on the other hand, is a bitch. You don’t zone into a somewhat safe spot, you zone into a shitstorm. You don’t sit and wait for something to notice you, it hits you on the way in. Now, to offset this incredibly annoying way to be greeted into the zone, Verant did make it so any schmuck level 46 and above can just walk right in, whereas Hate requires a wizard to teleport groups up. Sadly, this doesn’t make things easier. Because if one member of your raid party forgets to go into Anonymous or Roleplay mode, which hides your location from others in player queries, the word will get out that a Fear raid is happening, and all the schmucks level 46 and up will start heading over.

After almost 4 hours last night we had managed only to kill one denizen of the Plane of Fear. One. About 20 of us had died, and in the end, a few of them lost their experience permanently since we didn’t get to their corpses in time to resurrect them.

I fear Hate, but I hate Fear.

Those are words to live by.