This morning I was thinking about all of the objects in my life that beep at me, and all of the different beeps that they emit. My iPhone rings when someone calls, rings differently when I get a text message, and beeps when it finishes downloading email or I plug it in to sync. My Tivo beeps and blorps constantly. Adium beeps, although a bit less after I told it to stop beeping whenever any of my contacts signed on. My car stereo beeps when I turn off the car in order to remind me to remove its face plate and take it with me. The car beeps if you turn it off with the headlights on. The dishwasher beeps when it’s done, as do the clothes washer and dryer. The refrigerator beeps if you leave the door open too long. The timer on the stove beeps when time runs out and the oven beeps when it’s finished preheating. The microwave beeps. The rice cooker plays a little song when it’s done cooking some rice. Any number of objects beep when their batteries get low although oddly enough, my iPhone does not.
It’s practically a language unto itself. I’m conditioned to know exactly what each of the beeps mean and what device they come from, even when they’re quite similar. Maybe one day identifying objects by their beep will be a discipline akin to identifying birds by their call. I can imagine the bragging now — “I just caught my first Nokia N70 receiving a text message in the wild, they’re not even offered by US carriers!”