Modern technology has robbed me of much of my noise making ability.
It’s torn away my frustration outlets. It has taken all the loud, banging thumps and crashes that came with a satisfying door slam or phone hang-up and replaced them with sad-faced emoticons or one with a devil spouting tiny horns. There is no comparison.
I grew up with a black Bell phone on the kitchen counter. That sucker could have knocked out Mike Tyson if hurled correctly. Slamming down the receiver was not just satisfying, it sent a thunderous message throughout the entire house. It even gave a weak ring in the midst of the thunder, as if the phone cried a little and tried to duck, which is what I imagined whomever had forced me to such action was also doing.
Along came flip phones and I would watch people deliver a weak slap to that tinny flap, exasperation replacing anger.
Nowadays, it doesn’t matter how hard I push a button, the message received on the other end is the same. Call ended. Nothing to see here. I have never hurled a cellphone, though people in movies do it all the time. I understand why.
I cracked a phone screen a few years back; it shattered simply by falling to the floor from a table. What kind of wimpy phone does that? I hadn’t stuffed it in its kryptonite case yet, but I found myself wondering why they don’t just build them out of that stuff instead of selling me another layer that should have been there to begin with.
I just answered my own question.
Have you ever tried to slam a modern drawer? No matter what you do, the drawer rescues itself halfway in and gently tucks itself away. This is an upsell feature on many products: cupboards and drawers that are unslammable.
I have a toilet seat that does this, too, which I will admit is a blessing in the middle of the night when I am not rattled from sleep because someone chose this time to remember I like the lid down at all times.
My Dad used to make a lot of noise with his tools. Well, my Dad made a lot of noise all the time, but I grew up believing that the only way to work a tool box was to repeatedly slam the narrow drawers shut as you hunted for whatever was eluding you. I still do this; I like the zipping noise the trays make as they’re whiskered in and out, and it makes me feel efficient in a very inefficient way: the screwdriver I’m looking for is usually in the junk drawer in the kitchen.
I’m not an especially violent person, though I do love to toss on a pair of boxing gloves once in a while. It’s not that I want to end every phone call with a crash or find fault with a cutlery drawer. I just miss the household code. If Mom heard a series of drawers being opened and shut, she’d yell and ask what we were looking for and tell us it was in the laundry. If Dad sutured the front door shut with a shove after work, we’d know good day/bad day without a word spoken. A phone slam meant: don’t ask your kid how the relationship is going — or, maybe, do.
With an increasingly decentralized household — everyone has their own phone, most watch entertainment on their own devices, a shared dinner hour is often claimed by bashing schedules — I miss the subtle theatrical cues that modern technology keeps erasing.
I just realized how silently I typed this. I learned on an old Underwood and I threw that carriage return with intent.