notes from the cottage/Making Pavlov proud



We are like Pavlov’s dogs here at the cottage. We can hear every device that makes a

English: One of the many dogs Pavlov used in h...

Image via Wikipedia

digital sound from any corner of our abode. At any given time of the day, night, or very, very, early morning we are programmed. Whenever we hear one of these annoying cries for attention, we twitch this way and that as if looking for our reward.

One such disturbance interrupted dinner the other night.

Steve’s first thought: “Is it my turn on Words with Friends?”

Mine: “What the hell was that? It sounded like a drowning bumblebee.”

All I know for sure is that we both popped up and started searching around for the offender. We managed to salvage a normal dinner, but it left me feeling uneasy. Then my neurotic thought process began: Are we becoming programed to respond to each and every sound with each and every new device invented? It’s as if these machines are our offspring and it is our job to care for them each waking moment. Is this what empty-nester syndrome looks like?

How about someone inventing a device that mutes all devices within a given range when it is necessary. No longer would we be interrupted at the theater, or a school recital, or dinner, when someone’s annoying phone/Ipad/toaster goes off at the wrong moment. And no one would have to ask us to shut off our various devices.

Or how about inventing a useful Pavlovian alert system for those (very few) times when I stray from my writing. Beep, you are eating a cookie. Beep, stop looking out the window. Beep, you don’t need a third cup of green tea, Beep, he really isn’t that good looking…

Well, it could be useful 3/4’s of the time.

What’s beeping in your life?



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2 Responses to notes from the cottage/Making Pavlov proud

  1. Trudy says:

    Geeze, Sal, I kinda like the buzz, bells and beeps. It makes me feel like I won a jackpot at Foxwoods.

  2. joan chandler says:

    It starts at 4:55 a.m. Rod gets into the old truck and drives two miles to the local gas station/convenience store to have coffee with “the guys”. The slam of his truck’s door is faint, but loud enough to awaken me. With zombie movements I turn on the computer, turn off the alarm clock (which never has a chance to buzz), and start the day.

    The school bus goes by our house at 7:30 a.m. The sound of that huge vehicle lurching over the frost heaves and pot holes signals that oatmeal or scrambled eggs need preparing, and its return at 3:45 p.m. announces time to get dinner going.

    Although I’m diligent about turning off my cell phone when at a restaurant, an appointment, or at a movie, I do keep it set on Vibrate, just in case some important message comes through. Of course, when it does vibrate, I fly upward off my chair or make surprised noises, which have been unsettling to the dentist, hairdresser, and dinner companions.

    And, like Pavlov’s dogs, I drool. This usually happens when the wind-up timer dings, indicating that the brownies are done.


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