Sound isn't like light. You can close or avert your eyes but it's
nearly impossible to avoid an offensive sound. Here are some of the
offensive sounds in my recent life:
- Last night Ken's cell phone woke me up at 5am. It starts beeping
when the battery is low.
- Last week a quiet high pitched beeping woke me up at 6am. It took me 20
minutes to locate the source; a home security alarm panel.
- Smoke detectors make noise when their battery is low. The high
pitched noise is frustratingly difficult to locate.
- My microwave beeps when it's done microwaving. Then it continues
to beep, twice every 30 seconds, until you open the door.
- One of my officemate's cell phone beeps every 15 seconds when he
has a message.
- Trucks all over the US make loud high pitched noises when they are
in reverse gear.
- At every meeting, every conference, someone's Windows laptop plays
a little tune when it starts up.
These aren't big loud noises, the unavoidable
urban street life
. It's not even the deliberate environmental
noise of trendy restaurants that eschew any sound dampening material
to create "buzz". These are little noises intentionally perpetuated by
electronics. Each has some sort of purpose, a reminder. Each is offensive.