The Midults’ guide to...

The ring­ing, the ring­ing

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - CONTENT -

RING­ING. ALL THE RING­ING. And ping­ing. And beep­ing. The noise pol­lu­tion. Un­der con­stant at­tack. One of us is cur­rently liv­ing with a kind of high­pitched, whin­ing ring in one of our ears. It’s pre­sent­ing the il­lu­sion of deaf­ness and ‘Whaat? Sorry? Speak up!’ is barked with in­creas­ing deg ees of ir­ri­tabil­ity.

So here’s an in­cred­i­bly un­sci­en­tific the­ory: have our brains de­cided that we don’t need to hear ev­ery­thing? Are they se­lect­ing what our ears can process and what they should re­ject?

We reached peak ring some years ago. Now we spend all our time try­ing to switch ring­ing off. This was last week:


I am ex­pect­ing a call. I am ef­fi­cient. I have a cup of cof­fee and a pen. My com­puter is on and ready for me to take se­ri­ous notes should the need arise. I am that per­son.

IT IS 10.03AM.

AndA I am still ex­pect­ing a call. Why is ev­ery­one al­ways late? Here I am, the very pic­ture of com­pe­tence and pro­duc­tiv­ity. What a shame. I chew my pen and log on to Asos. I am a lone pro­fi­cient in an in­ept world.

IT IS 10.06AM.

Still noth­ing. I pick up my phone to fid­dle with In­sta­gram and air­brush my hol­i­day pic­tures on Face­tune. There are three missed calls. How did that hap­pen? It was on silent . It ’s al­ways on silent. Ex­cept in the cin­ema or dur­ing a wed­ding speech, ob­vi­ously.

IT IS 10.07AM.

I call the num­ber back. ‘I am so sorry I was sit­ting here and I re­alised my phone was on silent and I don’t know why it didn’t vi­brate, in fact I don’t know why it was on silent but it might have been be­cause I’m on this What­sapp group and when it gets go­ing it re­ally goes wild and can be mad­den­ing, so most of the time I just flick it on to silent…’

Ring­ing. It makes us feel out of con­trol. At­tacked. Cor­nered. What does the caller want from us? It’s so ag­gres­sive to call. So anx­ious-mak­ing. And, if you are sin­gle and you meet some­one amus­ing and he calls you? Well, what man­ner of me­dieval throw­back is this? Oh dear God, just when we’re com­ing to terms with Tin­der and sex­ting and new­gen ro­mance, some men have de­cided to go all retro and post-mod­ern and pick up the damn phone. What to say? Who has time? Is my voice OK? This is a night­mare.

It was re­cently brought to our at­ten­tion that peo­ple un­der 30 do not ring or an­swer door­bells. They will only open the door if some­one has texted, ‘I am out­side.’ Imag­ine the missed de­liv­ery slips. So stress­ful. They don’t like ring­ing, the youth of to­day. Nor do chil­dren. One woman told us that her land­line rang the other day and both her kids burst into tears and tried to hide un­der the sofa.

Which is ex­actly what we would like to do if we didn’t think peo­ple might won­der about us. More than they al­ready do. The ring­ing, the ring­ing. Oh God.

Just when we’re com­ing to terms with Tin­der and sex­ting and new-gen ro­mance, men go retro and pick up the damn phone

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