The Two Worse Sounds

Published January 17, 2012

There are two sounds that I never want to hear. I can avoid one, for the most part, by driving carefully but the other is designed by the phone company to drive me crazy. What am I talking about? These two sounds are 1) the sound that metal makes when your car has hit something and
2) the sound the phone makes when you dial a wrong number.

The Crunching Metal Sound.

I bet most of you have heard this sound before. When the crunch of metal occurs, your stomach does an immediate flip flop. Shit! What have I hit? For me, it ranged from backing into a cement post in the parking garage or hitting the side of my garage when I pulled into my former townhome. (No, I was not drinking. Rather it was a narrow garage and I often misjudged it as I swung the car in). The crunching sound of buckling metal makes me feel terrible. This is because I know that tiny little bit of crumbled metal is going to cost me a minimum of $1000 to fix. It doesn't seem right and especially when it happens so frequently. For me, it would go something like this. I would pull into my alley, turn the wheel to the right and attempt to glide the car into my garage. The only problem was that many times I would clip the front left panel as it made contact with the side of the garage. I fixed the dent at first and then I began to notice a pattern. I always hit the garage in the same spot, the front left side next to the headlight and it happened right as I was pulling in. I finally realized that I shouldn't get it fixed since I would just hit it again.

Another problem with the garage is the garage door. I managed to get the car safely into the garage and was feeling good about that. I put the car in park and hit the garage door button. As I sat in the car, the garage door made a terrible whirling/screeching sound. I asked myself, "Now what in the @@@ is wrong with that stupid garage door opener?" What was wrong was that I had not pulled the car all the way into the garage and the door was trying to come down but was hitting the back of my SUV. Good grief. This incident left an unusual dent in the car that looks like two wavy lines snaking down the back of the car.

I think I am a careful driver. I just have a car (OK, several cars) that wants to scrape and touch other objects. I remember, as a teenager running into the house excited about something or other, that it never failed that my Mother would always say, first thing, "What do you run into now? How bad is the car damaged?" As much as I resented that first comment in response to my enthusiasm, I really could not blame her for that response. Learning to drive had presented several challenges for me and the biggest one was running into inanimate objects. One of the worse examples of this happened in front of the St. Mary's Catholic Church in Hearne, Texas. Father Fuchs was the priest and he ran a strict, with lots of rules, parish. After many years, he succeeded in getting a new Church. He was very proud of the new church and convinced the City of Hearne to donate the street in front of the Church. I never understood why he wanted the Church to "own" the street in front of the Church, but he did. Even though the street was now a private street owned by the Church, alas, other town people continue to drive on it. Father Fuchs decided to make it clear that this was a "private" street. The Church sat on a city block. At one end of the street in front of the Church, he constructed a short low brick wall in the middle of the street. Cars could pass on either side of the brick wall but it was a narrow squeeze and it sent a message that there really was no reason for Non Church cars to pass through. This same type of low brick wall was placed in the middle of the street at the other end of the block. Now it was clearly marked that the street was "private."

I guess you may know what happened next. I didn't mean to clip that wall when I was driving by and the memory is too painful to describe in detail for you. I do remember that I was so freaked when I hit the brick wall at one end of the street that I traveled on and demolished the brick wall at the other end too. Now the street was truly private since no one could drive on that block. The street was blocked on either end by a big pile of shattered bricks. I think memory loss in these types of situations is a good thing. I could go on and describe how I hit a guy wire and caused a telephone pole to crash down on my car when I was in law school. But again the memory is painful to recall. It is especially difficult to describe since I was driving my brother's car. It was his car that took the crush from the telephone pole. All I did was hit the guy wire, so obviously the pole was defective, termite infested, and ready to fall down at any moment. I told the telephone company that exact thing when they called wanting payment for their crummy pole.

Enough of horrible metal sounds. My other pet peeve concerning noise involves the phone company. There is simply no excuse for that hideous sound the phone makes when you dial a wrong number. It goes something like this. OHH WEEEEEEE WAHHHHHHHHHHH. It is an obnoxious ear splitting sound. Everyone has gotten an earful of that deafening noise. It's 2012 PHONE COMPANY!!! WAKE UP!!.

PHONE COMPANY, you can't tell me you couldn't come up with a sweet pleasant sound that says, "I am so sorry but you have dialed a wrong number." Instead, we get an ear splitting OHH WEEEEEEE WAHHHHHHHHHHH. PHONE COMPANY, are you trying to punish us for dialing a wrong number? Are you still mad about that telephone pole that crashed. Enough already. Get a different "you got a wrong number" sound. I think the PHONE COMPANY also raises the volume on the wrong number screeching OHH WEEEEEEE WAHHHHHHHHHHH sound. PHONE COMPANY, we are not going to always dial the phone numbers correctly. Stop punishing us……

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