What the Beep Is Going On?
David Batstone on Culture
It started at 5:30 am today. The invasion of the beeps, that is. I am not normally an early riser. But the driver of the municipal garbage truck wanted to make sure that he did not reverse into my bed. In fact, a resounding set of beeps let me know exactly to where on the street the garbage truck had progressed.
An hour later the beeps returned for a second intervention. This time, they found an attack position inside the clock on my dresser. Ok, more honestly, I invited them to blast me awake. All the same, I relish the day that I can take a baseball bat to that alarm clock.
Maybe I could tolerate the interruptions if they ended there. But no, the beeps follow me around all day. Is it just me...have I fallen into clinical paranoia? Or are these beeps calculating how to take over my life? I feel like the poor coyote in the old Roadrunner cartoon. The beeps are beginning to taunt me.
Everything beeps. The coffee maker has to inform me the second the coffee is brewed, and my cell phone doesn't want a voice message to go unheard. My computer slaps my ears with a beep each time I click on the wrong choice. I fixed that, though, with my anti-beep weapon of choice, the mute button.\n\nMy car is immune to that weapon, unfortunately, I suppose because all the things about which it aims to remind are so deadly serious. It will not let me rest until I comply with a seat belt. The car also shows no beeping mercy for leaving my keys in the ignition or failing to turn off my lights. \n\nEven the office is not free from the beeps. The elevator alerts me that the door is about to shut, the copy machine beeps its readiness for full-time duty, and the printer cries when it's hungry for more ink. \n\nI guess the beep makers assume that absent an annoying prod we will overlook the supreme importance of the task at that moment in front of us. With all these beeps sounding off around me, though, I am having a hard time figuring out which urgency to prioritize. In most cases I am compelled to attend to the shrillest tone, no doubt.\n\nYet I can feel a rebellion brewing. Tomorrow I plan to walk out of the house and let my microwave whine all day about holding my bowl of oatmeal. \n