"The bathtub was invented in 1850 and the telephone in 1875. In other words, if you had been living in 1850, you could have sat in the bathtub for 25 years without having to answer the telephone." - Bill DeWitt
"Middle age: when you're sitting at home on Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn't for you." - Ogden Nash
Another day at work means another day sitting just a couple of feet
from The Most Annoying Ring In The World. I mean it--I
hate the ring of my telephone. Why I have it as loud as I do is proof
of my own absent-mindedness; it's one of those strangely-designed devices that
only allows you to adjust the ring volume while it's actually ringing. That's
like a fantasy tale in which the heroes are only allowed to put on their
armor while the dragon is breathing on them. Whenever the phone rings, I
(internally, of course) shriek, and I curse (again only internally), and I
jump, as quickly as possible, to pick it up and stop the infernal noise. The teensiest sliver of a
second after the handset is separated from the base my brain kicks in.
First thought: oh good, it stopped. Second thought: dammit, I forgot to adjust the &*&%$ *(^@$-ed !%*(&-ing volume again.
The ring and subsequent panic are
always poorly-timed, too. They never, ever, happen when
I'm sitting there thinking, "Gee, now would be a good time for the
telephone to ring." Okay, granted, I don't believe that particular thought has ever crossed through the real estate between my ears, but if it had I can imagine when that might occur, and trust me, the phone never rings then. No, the crisis always happens during intense work, like when I'm
working on the population report where I have to take the three students
who transferred from Program A into Program B, and the four students
who transferred from B to A, and the dozen students who went from A and B
into C, and mark them as properly transferred out on the old spreadsheets while remembering
to add them onto their new spreadsheets. The phone always picks that
moment, after I've removed a student or three from one population segment and
before I've remembered to add them to their new program page, when its shriek nearly makes me forget all about adding the students back.
I'm lucky I haven't lost students as a result.
Then again, maybe I have and just didn't realize it.
My cell phone, meanwhile, is much more agreeable in its ring tones. For one thing, I have complete control over them. Ish, anyway. I'm relatively famous for going the entire day with my silent cell phone attached to my hip only to have beautiful harpsichord music--or worse, "The Time Warp"--blare into the middle of a meeting or training session for which I forgot to turn it off. It's downright embarrassing, that is.
Not quite as embarrassing, I must add, as when I changed the ring tone for one of my former bosses to The Imperial March from Star Wars. Oh, that wasn't embarrassing; it was actually pretty cool to hear him call me, as he usually did when I was either driving on icy roads or taking a different call on my desk phone, and then imagine Darth Vader walking down the hall. No, what was embarrassing was when he called me as he walked into the employee break room, a room I happened to be enjoying a cup of hot coffee in the middle of at that precise moment.
Sometimes it's funny how the stars of happenstance align, rendering circumstances appropriate for either good or evil to be done in great magnitude.
That time wasn't one of the funny ones, though. I've since moderated my ring tone choices to be more appropriate for the times when someone decides to call me from across the room.
Now if only I could remember to moderate my desk phone's ring tone volume.