Beep, Buzz, Honk, Ring: The Sound of Technology

17 07 2012

Last week I went to Houston to do a job for an engineering firm. The week had been a wet one in Houston with a lot of badly needed rain pouring down. I arrived on Wednesday around mid-day and went straight to my hotel. As always, I plugged my cell phone in just before going to bed. My internal alarm clock woke me up at 4 A.M. but I quickly went back to sleep. I was awakened again at 4:17 by the blaring of a loud alarm.  Instinctively, I rolled over and hit the alarm clock. That was an odd instinct considering I never use an alarm clock. I have a very reliable internal alarm.

 

I immediately realized the annoying sound wasn’t coming from the clock. It sounded like that sound you hear on the television when they test the emergency broadcast system, but the TV wasn’t on. I scanned the still dark room trying to find the source, but saw nothing. I looked toward the ceiling for the tell-tale lights of a smoke alarm. There weren’t any. Besides, the sound seemed to be coming from the area of the desk. The only things there were my computer, my charging cell phone, my Bible and all the crap I had unloaded from my pants pockets before going to bed. After about five seconds this alarm, which I had never heard before, stopped.

 

Hearing a door slam down the hallway from my room, I decided that someone must have tripped the hotel’s fire alarm and some other hotel guest, hearing the same alarm, was checking the hallway to see if anyone was evacuating. I have had numerous experiences in which hotel alarms were activated and guests actually had to evacuate. Some were actually for fires. But I decided that all was well and tried in vain to go back to sleep.

 

I decided to go ahead and get up and prepare for the day. After showering and getting dressed, I began to load my pockets with the menagerie of junk… keys, coins, wallet, pen, and crap ad nauseam, until my belt tugged at my hips under the load. When I reached for my cell phone, I noticed a strange picture on the screen. It was a bright red triangle with an urgent message. The message, from the National Weather Service, advised of a flash flood warning in my area and was received at 4:17. Mystery solved!

 

I told you in an earlier post, We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Smart Phone!, that my phone has features I’ll never use. I’m becoming aware it has features I don’t even know about. I may not need a stinkin’ smart phone; but, now that I have one, I could probably use a stinkin’ tutorial.

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