You know it. You have experienced it. You are, right this minute, suffering through it — confusion. The world, alas, is a confusing place. Will the Middle East ever know peace? Will religious fanatics (and here I refer to Kim Davis) be the end of us all? Yes, it’s a confusing place. Even worse, it’s a *bleeping* confusing place.
Our modest home houses approximately forty electrical devices. This includes seven elderly televisions that are robust enough to double as boat anchors. It also holds three computers, two of which are well past their “for best results, use by” dates. We have a fax machine that is extremely — extremely — perplexed about when it should sit quietly and when it should spit out an incoming fax. The land line has an answering system, the existence of which does not help with the fax machine’s bewilderment. We each have a cell phone and an iPad.
And every one of these devices, more’s the pity, bleeps out alert tones for multiple occasions.
Let us say someone, probably a telemarketer who got our phone number from the National Do Not Call Registry, calls our land line and leaves a message. The answering machine, not knowing we have no interest in helping out a Nigerian prince who is temporarily unable to access his bank account, records a message and flashes the number one in red. It also puts forth the faintest, most timid little beep you ever almost heard. It’s as though it is saying, “Yes, there is a message in here but I’m not very proud of it.” This answering system came with twenty pages of instructions, none of which deal with turning up the volume on the message alert. But a phone answering machine is just low-tech enough for me to understand and I am okay with it. So amid all the background noise of daily living, there is an insistent, barely-there beep announcing … something.
It’s hard to tell what is being announced because our cell phones also get in the act. My cell phone ring tone is a big hearty black-Bakelite-sit-on-the-tabletop telephone type ring. You know, how telephones are supposed to sound. There is no mistaking it. But, because this is 2015 and I really have no choice, my cell phone is equipped to accept text messages. Over the course of the digital age, I have received approximately three thousand text messages. I know, I know. Most people receive three thousand text messages a day. The people driving in the car in front of me certainly do. Five of my texts were important. But you don’t know if it’s important until you read it and you can’t read it until you know you have it. Thus, a blinging singing text message alert.
The phone also has voice mail. I’m not too enthused about having an additional distinct tone coming out of my phone, but the voice mail I like. It’s just an answering machine for your cell phone and we have already established that answering machines are acceptable. If you should be so fool-hardy as to let the battery on your phone run down, several things will happen. The first thing is, it will not work. This is not so bad. The second thing that will happen, though, is. The phone will shrill out yet another tone telling you the battery is low. This usually happens in the middle of the night. Not to me. I turn my cell phone off at night because I do not want it ringing, blinging, singing, or otherwise disturbing my sleep. The other person who lives here, however, likes to keep his cell phone on twenty-four/seven just in case that Nigerian prince is really desperate. His cell phone also has a ring tone, a text alert, the aforementioned low battery alarm, and voice mail notification.
Each iPad has an alert for instant messages, for Face Time, and for emails. Steve’s has one for, I swear I am not making this up, news alerts from ESPN as though the fact that Johnny Manziel is drunk again is news.
This adds up to, let’s see, four plus six, carry the one, double it for two of each … a lot of *bleeping* tones.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.