BEEP BEEP BEEP

New appliances.

A while back at the house we bought a new washing machine. Judging by the instruction manual which, as a man, I looked at for about 30 seconds, this thing is so clever I was expecting it to look after the kids for a couple of hours and put the dinner on after doing my tax return.

But it’s noisy. Not when it does a wash or a spin. Listen? Can you hear that? No? Thought not. That’s the sound of it on a 1600 RPM spin smashing the water out of the clothes.

It’s when its finished the noise starts. It beeps at you. AT you. A sound which gets into that part of your brain reserved for special moments of rage, like receiving a telephone cold call at 9.00pm or when someone knocks on the door 2 minutes after you’ve put your baby down for an afternoon nap. Sitting on the sofa watching T play with his train set, while K is sleeping and I’m kind of enjoying a nice relax. From the utility room comes a high-pitched beeping sound which tells you the washing is finished. Cool. Thanks for letting me know. I’ll deal with it in a bit.

30 seconds later it gives several more sharp beeps.

Yeah. I know. Washing’s done. Thanks. I’ll deal with it in a bit. Now let me just drink this coffee and then I’ll…

It beeps again. 5 irritating little beeps that tell you you need to get off your fat arse do something RIGHT NOW.

Actually I don’t need to do anything. I don’t need to hang the washing out now. I don’t need to sort through it right now. I’m having a coffee. I’m watching my son and I’m…

It fucking beeps again. Right. Now you have my attention you stupid bastard thing. You’re nagging me washing machine. Perhaps we should see someone about this aspect of our relationship because, really, this is never going to work.

The fridge beeps too. If you left the door open for a while it would beep at you. A little alert from your caring fridge that, should you fail to heed the beeps and not get up and close the door, then all your food will be ruined.

Problem is, when you’ve done a shop and putting fridge stuff away, something that takes a little bit of time and requires you having the door open for longer than 40 seconds, it beeps at you. And lights start to flash. Like some robot disco. Same happens when you’re cleaning the damn thing out.

My breadmaker beeps when the bread’s made. And then reminds you a minute later that you haven’t pressed that button and you need to take the bread out. And then again, and again until you do.

One morning I’d put a wash on, made some bread and was cleaning the fridge out. All at once the washing stopped, the bread was ready and the fridge was telling me the door needed to be closed. All three appliances were nagging me and needed reminding to do stuff. YES. I KNOW. THANK YOU.

I didn’t lose my temper, I simply said ‘Yes dear.’

When men landed on the moon I wonder if the lunar module had a beep in it to remind Buzz that the door was open, or that the vacuum packed tube food was nice and warm and ready to eat? No. Because if so they would’ve gone mad and killed each other. If this was going on today, the lunar module would have a special Moon beep to remind astronauts ‘Hey, you’re ON THE MOON. BEEP BEEP BEEP.’

I think all manufacturers should be required by law to detail if their appliance has an annoying farking beep which is intended to make you do stuff. A warning if you like. ‘WARNING. This appliance will beep at you relentlessly when it needs something from you. Not suitable for people with short tempers or those going through marital difficulties’

Labour saving devices which improve your life, or expensive devices that beep at you to remind you you’re shit?

Perhaps I should stop taking things so personally.

Do you have anything in your home that makes a noise and drives you a little bit mental? Partners and children aside? Please share with the group.

First published May 4th, 2012

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