PAgent’s Progress

Words Are My Favorite Toys

February 8th, 2006

Be My Anti-Valentine

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February 8th, 2006

A Little Young to Shave

I came home the other night just before my son got out of the shower. To be more specific, just before my son got out of our shower.

He is using his parent’s shower because the kids managed to pull their shower curtain rod out of the wall in their bathroom. Normally we would just put a temporary spring-tensioned replacement in, except this was an ‘L’-shaped curtain rod. We decided this repair could wait until we remodeled the kids’ bathroom, which desperately needs it, and they could use our shower until then. But I digress.

So, he’s in our shower, where my razor hangs on a little hookie thing. And his upper lip is bleeding, and he says he knocked my razor down and it hit him on the lip and cut him. Now, my razor hangs out of the way, sort of near the corner of the shower, and my son is pretty darn tall for a first-grader. Plus, he has three perfect little cuts on the exact center of his upper lip from the three blades on the razor. Right under his nose. I’m thinking that in order for him to accidentally knock my razor down and have it miraculously land handle down, blade in, right under his nose, the razor would have had to have more English on it than the bullet that killed Kennedy.

So I ask him: “Son, are you sure you weren’t just trying to shave with my razor?” Oh no, he says. He knocked it down and it cut him as it fell. “Are you sure that’s what happened?” Oh yes, he’s sure.

Well, I can’t press the issue, but I KNOW he decided to see what shaving was like and accidently cut his lip. Well, that should satisfy his curiousity for a few more years.

I recently downloaded a new ringtone for my cellphone. It’s an ‘old-fashioned telephone’, which means, it sounds like a traditional bell-based ring. I originally got it for novelty’s sake, and because I find the juxtaposition of the old-style telephone ring coming out of a cellphone humorous. I’m easily amused.

But what I’ve found is, whereas cute little snippets of digital music are either hard for me to distinguish from background noise, or are hard for me to identify as a ringtone, the sound of a ringing telephone bell is very nearly hardwired in my brain as ‘telephone’. It requires no thought at all to identify that particular sound and reach for my phone. But then, I am old enough to remember having a party line, and having to remember which ring pattern to answer. Not to mention hearing the breathing of a nosy neighbor listening in to our conversations. My children, on the other hand, are growing up with a collection of miscellaneous electronic beeps, chirps, and squeals that all mean ‘telephone’ to them.

I know there are other sounds that are similarly wired into my consciousness, sounds that simply don’t exist anymore. The pop and hiss of a stylus hitting a record. The shrill tone of the old Emergency Broadcast System alert. For that matter, the cacophonous warble of a modem handshaking with a server, which at one time I heard at least once a day, and now never hear (thank you, broadband).

I wonder what associations my children are wiring into their memories, what sounds they are filing away as significant, that may someday be just as obsolete as some of my sense-memories now are. What sounds will be nostalgic for them?