My husband is beeping

May 12, 2019

Beep. Beep. My coffee is ready. Beep. Beep. The toast has risen. Stupid beep. Another stupid beep. You left the refrigerator open when you got the jam out, dummy.

A neighbor friend of mine told me that he feels like he lives in a world of beeping. We conferred and agreed that the construction vehicles near our home are driving us both batty. But my new dryer is driving me insane.

When I put a beach towel in the dryer, on the towel setting, it begins singing to me in a few minutes. The towel can’t be dry, and it isn’t.

“Modern appliances come with a built-in sensor,” explains the teenager who came to service the new dryer last Saturday.

“The dryer doesn’t dry,” I clarify. “The sensor doesn’t sense. The dryer sings a lovely tune, but the only cycle which works is the timed section.”

I point to the 11 choices on the console. Heavy Duty. Bedding. Delicate. Wrinkle Away. Refresh. I am afraid to try the Steam Sanitize selection. I think of my mother in the backyard on a sweet summer day hanging up sheets. Clothespins between her teeth.

“Why can’t you just use the timed section?” he asks.

“Why can’t you just make it work the way it’s designed to work?”

“Well, that’s the problem. They put the sensors in the front of the dryer when they should have put the sensors in the back of the dryer. It actually works best when you have a full load. Try drying three towels instead of one.”

I exercise enormous restraint here. No profanity. I think about coming home from my swim class with one soaked towel and suggesting he wear it around his neck like a caped crusader. I sail past him, saying, “I have grocery shopping to do.” I will return this dryer, I vow to myself.

Hey, the teenager brightens. “Did you know the new refrigerators come with a built-in camera? So when you are at the grocery store, you can check to see what’s in your fridge. So that way you know if you need eggs or something.”

I leave him and his screwdriver. When I get in the car, it beeps when I start the engine. I fasten my seat belt just in time to avoid you-know-what. Then when I begin to back out of the driveway, the car beeps louder. Someone is driving on the street by my house.

Moments later I am driving too close to the car ahead of me, and the car beeps and the word “brake” flashes on the screen. The sensors in my car were designed well.

My friend is right. We do live in a new age of beeping and sensors. But the story I am about to tell you now is true. The beep of all beeping stories.

One of my girlfriends (who will remain anonymous) told me that when she and her husband got into bed together last week, they both heard faint beeping. They checked the smoke alarms, the alarm clocks, and their cellphones. Nothing wrong there.

They get back to bed and as she lays her head in the crook of his arm, she says, “Honey, you are beeping.”

Her husband thinks she is crazy.

“No, really. Your chest is beeping.”

He looks down at his chest in wonder and fascination.

“It’s your pacemaker. Your pacemaker is beeping.”

In the emergency room an hour later, the battery is changed in his pacemaker, and the husband and wife resume their slumber. She tells me they were awakened the next morning by the trash truck backing up outside on the street. I have to bleep their reactions.

Write to