Blue light and beeping brings to mind Martian invasion

November 03, 2003

I thought Martians had invaded the other night when I awoke to a persistent beeping coming from another room in our house. My husband, Jim, slept peacefully as I got out of bed cautiously, creeping around our bed, then through my office, following the beep.

I crept toward the living room where an odd blue light was flashing off and on. What in the world could it be - this beeping, flashing thing that had invaded my sleep past midnight? When I peeked around the corner, the blue light was magnified, flashing off and on in a cylindrical shape that made me think of a spaceship.

But it wasn't. It was my husband's new cell phone.

As soon as I turned on the light, it stopped. Is it light sensitive, I wondered?

Maybe it's not only a cell phone, I thought, maybe it's some sort of bugging device and since it can't hear us sleeping it's going crazy. (My imagination goes wild when I'm awakened from sleep!)


I turned off the light and went back to bed, the alarm silent and the light show finished. Just when I was getting warm and cozy, it started again. This time, my husband was stirring, so I told him to go take care of his cell phone.

It's new, you see. We're behind the technological times once again and if the decision were up to me, we still wouldn't have a cell phone. Yes, I used one that belonged to a friend during a recent emergency and I was quite happy to have it. But that didn't convince me to buy one. Every time I drive down a familiar scenic road and see another cell phone tower, I cringe and wonder why we have to have everything at our fingertips. Besides that, I don't want to be reachable 24 hours a day. Sometimes, I like silence.

But Jim caved in to a sales pitch, justifying that it would be handy for his work. He does home renovations and repairs, so for most of the day he's usually away from a phone. So I can understand his reasoning. But his good reasons are not the point.

The point is that he's had the phone for little more than 24 hours and it's making him crazy. He says the instruction booklet is the worst he's ever read, and that it must have been written in a foreign country. He finally figured out how to make a call on it, but he's lost when it comes to retrieving voice mail messages. And he accidentally set the alarm to go off some time after midnight.

So he's still reading his manual, pressing buttons and calling me to see how the reception is from Ky. 52 and his sister's house and wherever else he might be. So far, he hasn't accidentally set any more alarms to wake me up after midnight. But if I follow a beeping to another room of the house once again, and the light I see is a color other than blue, I'll know we really are in trouble.

Beth Dotson Brown is a writer and editor in Lancaster whose husband insists she carry the cell phone with her when traveling.|11/2/03***

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