The Beep

I hear a beep. Something’s battery needs recharging, but what? Is it the alarm that goes off at noon each day? The alarm is a problem I should fix, but I’d have to figure out how it works all over again. It is the type of thing that you deal with so seldom that you forget how it’s done. There are other things like that I suffer from, but it’s not noon, and so it couldn’t be the alarm and so I expand my search.

First, I look to see whether the phone is in its cradle. It is, but a visual check is not enough and I rise to examine it and then reseat it just in case. I return to my desk, but a few moments later I hear the beep again. It sounds like the beep a phone makes when its battery is low. It must be a cell phone.

I look at my phone sitting on the desk next to me. It can’t be my cell phone, can it? The sound seems like it’s coming from the right, or maybe behind me. I plug my phone into a charger anyway. Moments pass and the beep returns. I’m sure now, it’s behind me, but where exactly and what. Then I remember, my iPod is in the book bag directly behind me. My analytical mind triumphs – I take it out of the bag and plug it in.

The phone rings, a ring not a beep, it’s the Power Company. “What the hell,” the man says, “are you recharging your world again.”

I assure him I’m not, “just a few small items,” I say. “I’m surprised you noticed.”

“Be sure to unplug them when you’re finished,” he says, “not only will it help with your power bill but we won’t have to build another coal-fired plant as soon as we would otherwise, and we know how you’re opposed to coal-fired plants.”

“How do you know I’m opposed to coal-fired plants,” I ask.

“Google,” he says.

He’s on the phone, but I’m sure I sense a conspiratorial wink at the other end of the line. I hang up. I’m pleased that the disturbing beeps have ended.

What, another beep. I look at my iPod just to make sure I didn’t dream I plugged it in, and then I yell, “Gail, there is beeping in our room and I can’t find it.”

“It’s probably my phone,” she replies, “it’s in my purse.”

I turn around, there is her purse, a few inches from my book bag. She arrives, removes the phone and plugs it in to recharge. “I sure hope the Power Company guy doesn’t notice,” I say.

She looks puzzled, but she knows me well. “I hope not,” she says and leaves.

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