Sunday, July 12, 2009


I am going mad. It is the end of semester and I am frantically trying to grade, and being thwarted at every turn. Yesterday things kept happening, and I was busy with other routine chores, and then late yesterday afternoon I had finally settled down to do some serious marking of student papers when the phone rang. It was my brother. I haven't spoken to him for a long time, so felt obliged to continue talking to him even when we'd already said goodbye twice, I had run out of things to say, and he was starting to repeat himself. It was lovely to talk to him, but his timing was horrible. When I finally put the phone down it was time for dinner.

To make matters worse, I have caught a cold. After dinner I remembered to take my medicine, took it, and almost immediately felt sleepy. I don't usually take cold medicine, but I am trying to suppress the symptoms so I can get some work done. This is obviously not working. I went to bed right after writing this. (It is now Sunday.)

But it was not just because I am sleepy. I had had enough for the day. I am not sure what I had had enough of, because I hadn't achieved much, but perhaps it was just that I had had enough of not achieving much.

But on another topic, as I am taking a break from grading, let me tell you about my embarrassing new mobile phone ringtone. Perhaps you remember the frogs I had before, as my ringtone. I hate ringtones, usually, and had recorded the frogs down at the paddy field on the corner so that I could have a sound I liked. That worked worked well. The frogs were not very loud, but just loud enough, and I've been using them for a year. I usually have my phone set on silent mode anyway, but on the rare occasions I didn't, and my phone rang during class, or in a quiet bookstore, or somewhere, everybody was puzzled except me. The frogs worked PERFECTLY.

They continued to work perfectly until summer rolled round again, and the frogs started up again down at the paddy field. Recently, whenever I've been expecting a call or message and had the phone on, I've been scrabbling for it every time I hear frogs. I was scrabbling for my phone far too often, even when it was in silent mode. The real frogs down at the paddy field were confusing me. They don't sing all the time. They start and stop.

So I decided to change my ringtone, and a friend sent me some birdsongs I might like. They were lovely, and I was very pleased with them. I chose the song of the hototogisu (Japanese cuckoo – click on number 10 to hear its song).

I've had my new ringtone for about three weeks now, but for some reason I cannot get used to it. I just can't seem to remember that I have changed my ringtone. I still jump up to find my phone when I hear frogs, and when the hototogisu starts singing I stare around the place like an idiot, looking for the bird. I do this for AGES before realizing that the song is coming from my own bag, or pocket. It is embarrassing, especially when I am in the middle of a complicated conversation with one of the administrative staff at work. I felt like such an idiot.

How long does it take to get used to a new ringtone if you hardly ever use it anyway? I am thinking of restoring the frogs.


kenju said...

I would love a frog ringtone, but I probably couldn't hear it, and like you, I'd be jumping to find the phone every time the frogs sing - which is often.

I have to have the phone ring loudly, so I can hear it. I use the Wedding March mostly.

Tabor said...

Interesting how technology choices are making your life more difficult rather than easier...;-) Word verification is psyclab...honest.

Pkchukiss said...

Did you try pouring water into your nose and letting it drain out from your other nostril? I tried it once after my airway got irritated by cigarette smoke; the first time I did it I lots of stuff that shouldn't be in my nose came out, but I felt a lot better afterwards.

Since then, I've been irrigating my nose everyday.

Mr Curley said...

Frogs are OK - but the hototogisu is lovely!

I once cycled in the spring along the top of Mt Rokko (mountain above BadAunt's Kobe - 1000m odd) and the air was full of hototogisu, flying across the road around me, in the trees, and their calls sound everywhere - a magical 30 minutes.

But I see what you mean - my own solution to this one used to be a Bach Invention, but it got lost. Thesedays I use a bit of Coltrane - noone else has it, I always know it's my own phone - which in an environment full of tertiary students, is quite vital!

But I might just be tempted by the cuckoo!

Roy said...

It's like your subconscious mind has to "learn" the new ringtone before it will take over the task of alerting you when you (and it) hears it. They say it takes three weeks to break a habit, so maybe the same to acquire one. You're almost there! Keep it for another week and it will begin to work!
Like I know what I'm talking about.

Badaunt said...

Kenju: the cuckoo is VERY LOUD, which is another reason I am not used to it. I could turn the volume down, I suppose, but I have started rather enjoying the reactions from people now that I have finally started to get used to it, as Roy said I would. Also, I can hear it in the next room now, which I couldn't before.

Pkchukiss: Yes! I do that quite often - I use sterile saline solution I get from the chemist for it. It is supposed to prevent colds pretty effectively if you do it regularly. Doing it regularly is the catch, though - I keep forgetting. I started off the semester doing it the moment I got home from work, but then ... well, you know how it is. Bad habits are easy to get going. Good habits just don't catch quite as quickly.