Photograph by Kyle Merriman, National Geographic
Aging & Attitude
Welcome to my beeping bleeping world where everything beeps, rings or vibrates. It is a typical sunny day in Florida, the sky is clear, the clouds pure white. The select button on our Mr. Coffee, is green. Fresh brewed coffee will be ready in a few minutes. Although the brewing sounds like a choo-choo train speeding into the station before screeching to a stop, Mr. Coffee will beep four times to wake me from a coma and remind me, I want caffeine. In the mean time, I open the refrigerator and ponder what to eat for breakfast; soy yogurt and rye toast or maybe… pumpernickel bread, perhaps egg white French toast or two suicidal eggs over easy (430mg cholesterol).
My thoughts are interrupted by the refrigerator alarm, four consecutive beeps, notifying me, like I do not know, the door is open. Why the alarm, I am retired, and deciding what to have for breakfast.
Simultaneously, Mr. Coffee beeps to signal the coffee is ready. I grab the half-and-half and close the door. The pot sputters, spits and spills but the coffee is not really ready. There is time to kill.
I open the freezer, grab chicken for dinner and use the time before beeps to rearrange the veggie burgers and throw out a Carvel cone experiencing frost bite.
Oatmeal seems a better choice for breakfast than the death wish eggs, and confident, I can outsmart the deafening microwave notification system by hitting cancel with five seconds left on the time pad, mix up a bowl.
Life is good. I get dressed and skip my way to the grocery store wearing a hooded sweatshirt as several dairy and frozen food items are on my list.
In the produce aisle among the melon, cucumbers, and squash is an electric cart shopper, a man, handling tomatoes: cherry, plum, beefsteak; comparing firmness and price, travelling in reverse. He is having difficulty making up his mind and a triple beep loud enough to reach Mars sounds every time he backs up. We have already said “Good Morning,” when he parked, not in a handicapped space, and walked into the store. Maybe the trip used all his stamina because he cannot stand to squeeze a tomato.
I toss a pre-weighed plastic bag of fresh green beans, three times the amount I need in the cart and sprint through the dairy aisle before escaping to the warmth in my car.
The car’s automatic beeps indicating; a seat belt needs fastening, the key is still in the ignition, or lights have been left on; are easy to ignore but not the variety of long, medium, and short signals from my Medtronic insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor that change to vibrate if not responded to and yes wake me from sleep. Checking the alarm message is equivalent to texting while driving. It is lunch time, so I find a Panera . After placing my order, I am handed a beeper device that will, blink and vibrate when the food is ready. I substitute as waitress.
The restaurant is noisy and includes banging sounds from the kitchen. I find a seat in a heightened state of awareness, and wonder, will I be searching my blouse for my concealed pump when really my lunch is ready.
Beeping Household Items
- Alarm clock
- Electric toothbrush (after every minute brushing)
- Telephone handsets
- Clock radi0
- Coffee maker
- Digital cameras
- Fax machine
- Stud finder
- 2 cellphones
- Security alarm
- Fire Alarm