Saturday, June 12, 2010

Don't you just love the appliances that 'talk' to you? I'm not talking about our telephone answering machines and voice mails, which were designed for the purpose of collecting important information while we're unavailable to answer our calls. A host of other 'smart' machines speakk to us all day long.

Our coffee pot gives us a gentle 'beep-beep-beep' signaling that the brew is ready to pour. The washer gives a continuous high pitched alarm if the load is unlevel, and another when the laundry is clean and ready for the dryer. The dryer beeps when its job is finished. The microwave sings for us to remove whatever has been place in it minutes before. Even our stove calls to us when it reaches the set temperature.

Alarm clocks wake us with music. Computers offer a greeting of "You've Got Mail". Even cars have voices, in some cases. I remember the story of a friend who had rented a car to make a road trip. He was smack in the middle of NY city heavy traffic when he heard a strange voice.
"Pardon me, but your windshield fluid is low." He was somewhat taken back and, being frustrated with the traffic, he yelled at the voice, "Who the h...... cares?!" As if that had caused irritation with the vehicle, it continued to give him reminders of various things on the remainder of the trip. "Excuse me but your door is ajar." He responded, "the door is NOT a is a DOOR." It was his, and my, first encounter with a communicating mode of transportation.

My wonder is, why did the manufacturer feel that we needed to be notified that the oven had reached temperature? Did he think that we're so mindless that we'd forget to check it as we prepared our recipe? We live in a mechanically noisy world. There's enough din to make one want to wear earplugs at times. I can live quite well without the audio from my appliances. I guess my husband feels the same way because when an alarm goes off, he can't distinguish one from the other. I've actually seen him spinning in circles trying to decide which direction to go in to attend to the appliance that's demanding attention.

Personally, I prefer the song of the birds, the soft, rhythmic sounds of the sea rolling into the shore, and rain pounding on the roof.


  1. My beef? People who can't push down the "lock" button before they get out of their cars and then do the remote lock instead, treating us all to the "beep" that goes with it. Noise pollution!

  2. Yes...that chirping drives me nuts too....and the ever-present cell phone ringing. I know that they're wonderful gadgets to have for emergencies or a reminder to stop at the store, but the incessant chatter of those on phones makes me want to hibernate from crowds! Noise pollution indeed!