On Fixing the Phone

Thursday night I stood in the kitchen, and I heard something.

It sounded like music. It sounded like the kind of music the Nintendo or the Super Nintendo would have made back in the day. But where was it coming from? What could be making it?

I turned my head this way and that, wandered in lazy circles trying to fix its location, trying to triangulate the sound.

I decided it was the phone. But it couldn’t have been the phone; the phone didn’t make music like this.

I picked up the receiver off the base. The music continued. I stared at the receiver, wondering if perhaps there might be some sort of visual notation — a flashing light, perhaps? — that the phone was, in fact, ringing.

I had no clue.

I answered the phone, put the receiver to my ear.

“Hello?” I said tentatively.

“Hello, Allyn,” came a voice from the other end.

I was confused. The phone hadn’t been ringing, at least not as I understood it.

Had I not been so confused by the strange, 8-bit music, I might’ve recognized the voice on the other end as my sister. Of course, it was a really mental week; I claim mental exhaustion. ;)

But what had happened to the very normal ringtone of the phone. What was the strange music it made?

I had no idea. All I knew was that someone, somehow had changed the phone’s ringtone.

I studied the handset and the base of the phone. I saw nothing that indicated a way to change the ringtone. But I had to change the ringtone; the music was annoying.

I went online this morning and downloaded the manual for the phone from Panasonic. The instructions were cryptic. And, once I puzzled out how to change the ringtone, I understood how it had been changed.

The ringtone is changed through the volume buttons on the handset. It wasn’t difficult to imagine that my grandmother had picked up the handset, perhaps because it was ringing, pressed a volume button, and then pressed one of the numbers on the handset. This would have changed the ringtone.

The ringtone has been fixed. It’s now a chirping tone that sounds like you expect a phone to sound. One of the other musical options was Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons (“Spring,” to be exact), and while I like The Four Seasons (I have the version that has Patrick Stewart reading the poems that Vivaldi wrote to go along with the music, which are rarely used today), that ringtone would grow quickly wearisome.

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