We are constantly bombarded with noise in our day-to-day lives. Most noises hardly even register in our consciousness because we’re so focused on the task at hand of annihilating alien life forms on our smart phones. But every once in a while a sound rises above the threshold of ignorability and we must decide what it means, and how we should respond.Here are the typical loud noises that I hear on any given day, and the potential choices that my well-regulated brain gives me to make.
My dog barking at 2 a.m.
- Son is just getting home from work and forgot his keys.
- There’s a fly in the house.
- A masked marauder has broken in and is trying to steal the dog food.
- Fire truck is headed to the Flanagan’s who once again forgot to set a timer on the roast in their oven.
- Rescue squad is coming to save Old Lady Thompson’s cat from the cat-eating elm tree.
- Police are chasing a rogue Russian hacker who was trying to shut down the nuclear power plant before FirstEnergy, our bankrupt power company, beat him to the punch.
Horn honking behind me.
- Driver would like me to go through the red light.
- Driver would like me to de-materialize, so he can move up one place in the traffic jam.
- I forgot to retrieve my coffee cup off the car roof again.
Gun shots at the office.
- Crazed employee who was fired last month has returned to exact revenge on everyone who ever stole his yogurt out of the office fridge.
- Psycho IT manager has finally snapped and is killing the malfunctioning computer server.
- Derek, from accounting, is playing Call of Duty on his lunch break.
Explosion next door.
- Jimmy Martin is playing with cherry bombs in the back yard.
- Jimmy Martin’s dad is trying to relight the pilot on his 40-year-old gas furnace.
- Jimmy Martin’s older brother Tommy has joined a terrorist cell but hasn’t read the bomb building instructions on the ISIS website carefully enough.
Neighbor’s 5-year-old sprawled on their driveway wailing.
- He’s run full speed into the garage door riding his bike.
- He’s run full speed into a tree riding his scooter.
- His mom has told him it’s time for a nap.
My kid, yelling.
- Mom finally carried out her threat of picking up all the dirty laundry in his room and throwing it out the window.
- I finally carried out his threat of shutting off his cell phone service until he gets passing grades in science.
- For the first time ever, Sister ate all the Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie, before he could.
My wife, yelling.
- “Why am I the one who always has to clean up the messes around here?”
- “Doesn’t anyone else in this house know how to make spaghetti?”
- “What happened to the Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie that I just bought?”
Amplified drums, piano, guitar, and bass that literally shakes the house.
- Because he’s the drummer, and the other band members’ parents are smarter than we are, son’s rock group always practices in our basement.
- Has there ever been a 7.0 earthquake in Cleveland during band practice?
- Son is visiting friend across the street and using the remote on his stereo to crank up a song loud enough so they can hear it.
Landline telephone ringing
- A robo-call to try to convince me that I’ve won the Nigerian lottery.
- A robo-call to try to convince me to vote for a convicted felon, instead of his opponent the child-molester.
- Wrong number.
Cell phone playing “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
- Rolling Stones calling to tell me they’re in town and invite me to a backstage party.
- Mick Jagger calling to tell me that Keith Richards’ back went out, and asking me to sit in with the band at tonight’s concert.
- My car dealer calling to say my warranty expired last week and wondering if my transmission has fallen off yet.