I live my life to the rhythm of bells.
Growing up on the prairies of southern Manitoba, the school bell at Lorne School, the one-room schoolhouse I attended with my brother and three of my sisters, was the type that is seen only in nostalgic pictures representing “Back to School” sales and was rung by the one teacher assigned to teach all sixteen of the students from grades one to eight.
Back then, we had one telephone in the home that all eight of us shared. Our phone number was 313 R 22. The 313 notated the “party line” that we were on, and the R 22 stood for Ring: 2 long, 2 short. Truly. If the telephone rang, we would have to wait to be sure that it rang our particular pattern before all we children could run over each other in an attempt to be the first to grab the receiver! Our calls were always short and to the point, since any one of two or three neighbors might need to use our shared line of communication.
The necessary evil rings me awake in the morning. At work, chimes ping every 50 minutes or so, marking the beginning of the day, times for students to move from one classroom to another, and time to go home.
My cell phone jingles and jangles in a diversity of tones that are designated to an assortment of means of communication. The friendly whistle alerts me to the receipt of a text message. A strumming guitar lets me know that one of the boys are calling. When I hear “Bad to the Bone“, I know that Rod is calling. My phone made some random noise a few days ago while Ian was here. He asked what that tone was for and I told him that I had no earthly idea! The racket that sounds like a submarine ping is reserved for callers that I don’t know. I usually allow those to remain submerged.
When Rod or the boys call, I try my best to answer. However, it just seems to work out that if I’m upstairs and my phone rings, the phone is downstairs. When I’m downstairs and my phone rings, the phone is in the car. When I’m in the car and my phone rings, I can’t find the phone while I drive. On March 2nd of this year, Andrew tweeted: “@loried2 WORST phone answerer 5 years and running. #cancelyourservice.” I offer no apology.
I used to be much more enthusiastic about receiving a telephone call. It meant that someone was thinking about me. It meant that I could engage in a conversation. These days, I get most all of the social interaction that I need in the course of a day at work. When I really think about it, I get annoyed that someone out there – anywhere out there – can make a bell ring inside the privacy and confines of my home, which causes me to stop what I was doing and take a particular action! I feel a little like one of Pavlov’s dog.
There are a few bells that I really enjoy – like the one that I am hearing right that tells me that my dinner is ready to eat! Gotta go! 🙂