Stop the bleepin' beepin'!

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel a wave of violence coming on when they hear “the sound of the beep”?

Here’s my morning: I am awakened by the first of two alarms on the telephone/clock radio/microwave/Mir Space Station gizmo at my bedside. Zzzzzzmmmmmbwaaaaaahbupbupbupbup. SLAM! I shut it off with a fist. Ten minutes later, alarm number two goes off: deedle-deedle-deedle-deed—WHAP! I hate that thing. Okay, I’m up.

On the way to my son’s soccer practice, we stop at the bagel shop. I’m about to give my order when—beeeeeeeeeep beeeeeeeeeep beeeeeeeeeeep!—the “bagels done” timer goes off, and all three employees behind the counter IGNORE it. I tell them, “Please turn that off. I can’t think. I’ve forgotten my order.” They stare at me. “It’s telling us to flip the bagels,” says one of them. “Well, FLIP THEM for God’s sake!” I hiss. Customers in line behind me back away.

After the drop-off at the soccer field, I pull up to a service station for gas and forget to take my keys out when I open the car door. My SUV reminds me of this: Beep! Beep! Beep! I slam the door. Inserting my credit card into the pump produces a brain-skewering beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-bee-beep! I wrestle the nozzle into my gas tank as the pump beeeeep! asks whether I would like a car wash beeeeep! or a receipt beeeeee-bee-beep! Beep! Other drivers are filling their tanks, robotically responding to high-octave electronic stimuli.

Hands clapped to my ears, I run to my car, which BEEPS until I slam the door shut. I am breathing hard. I am foaming at the mouth. Inside, the station attendant no doubt is calling 911 to have me removed from the premises. And it’s only 8:30 a.m.

© Anne Nicolai

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