Ah! I see you have the machine that goes “ping!”

Just about anybody over forty who’s ever been a fan of Monty Python will recognise that proud phrase from the hospital sketch in Python’s Meaning of Life, where the hospital administration show off their shiny new maternity features. If you’re not familiar, here’s the clip:


Machines that go ‘ping’ can be a fine addition to daily life. But how useful they are can depend upon the loudness and pitch of the ‘ping’. The ‘ping’ I was trying to follow this morning was the guiding chime of the find-my-iphone alert.

I was text-chatting with my husband just before getting back into the car after the school drop-off, so I was rather unnerved to find one back pocket empty just as I was stripping for a shower. I flung my clothes back on and was backing out of the drive to hurtle back whence I came when it occurred to me to use my iPad to find my iPhone. I parked (rather creatively), bolted back into the house and booted up the iPad, breathing quite shallowly until the little green dot settled over where my house was. Phew. After re-parking the car, I launched the iPad’s ‘make a sound’ option. First I checked the car. Couldn’t hear a hint of a ping.

I turned my hearing aids up, wondering if I was having a bad pitch deafness day, but still no ping.

Panicked, I dashed back into the house. I searched all the logical places. Then I started on the illogical places. In the far distance, I heard a faint ping. Very faint. But I have no sense of sound direction. I zipped from room to room and checked surfaces. I flung clothes up into the air. I moved furniture. I ran around some more.

On the top floor, the pinging grew a little louder. In my bedroom, it grew louder still. The problem is that I often experience something called acousma (echo after the sound), so I had no idea whether I was hearing a repeat of the last loud ping or a quieter ping because I was moving away from the source of the sound. I’ve never played such a maddening version of ‘hot or cold’ in my life.

I eventually found my phone behind the toilet in the top bathroom. It was hidden under the digital scales, which had crashed down on top of it. Naturally, I hadn’t heard the crash.

I’m delighted to have been reunited with my phone. But what finally told me that I was in the right room was the not the violence of the ‘ping’, but the sheer volume of the whistling, screaming feedback in my two Siemens hearing aids, which react peevishly when in close proximity to a high-pitched noise.

It would be lovely to be able to customise the find facility. For starters, I’d love to be able to over-ride the torch facility and screen glow to see the phone better whether it’s been left face up, or face down. Even better, I’d like to be able to over-ride the vibrate function (to find it when hidden under papers on the table). Most fun of all, I’d love my phone to work through a series of songs all chosen for my hearing pitch. I think I’d get less frustrated hunting for my phone to the strains of ‘keep the faith’, or ‘can’t get you out of my head’, even though I might feel slightly mocked by the song titles. An album full of heavy metal songs might guide me more rapidly to the scene of the lost gadget.

If you could programme your phone to compile a track list to play while you’re looking for it, what songs would you select?


11 thoughts on “Ah! I see you have the machine that goes “ping!”

  1. I love this post, Sam! My phone is kind of glued to me, so if it got lost, I guess I would be, too. Which wouldn’t be difficult – just ask anyone who knows me!

    Track list – oooh, I love this! With my erotica writer’s head on, these would be mine:
    Sex Kick and I Want Your Love – Transvision Vamp
    It’s a Sin – Pet Shop Boys
    Chains – The Beatles
    Lady Eleanor – Lindisfarne (oh, so erotic, and dark!)
    Let Me Roll It – Wings (hugely sexy song, for me)
    Nights in White Satin – Moody Blues (ditto)

    With my other head on (and now I sound like Worzel Gummidge), I’d add to that:
    Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush
    Hold Me Close and Silver Dream Machine – David Essex
    Vienna – Ultravox
    Don’t it Make my Brown Eyes Blue – Crystal Gayle
    Silver Lady – David Soul
    More than Words – Extreme
    January – Pilot
    A Little Bit of Soap – Showaddywaddy
    Half Heaven, Half Heartache – Gene Pitney
    The Bitterest Pill – The Jam
    Enter Sandman – Metallica

    That’s probably made me look suitably nuts! And, if I haven’t found my phone after all that lot – well, it probably means I was too busy listening to the songs to care! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First off – thanks for replying 🙂 you are officially the first visitor in my bid to bring my blog back to life, lol. See messenger for your “free gift” in about half an hour 😉

      Looks like we have quite a cross-over in music tastes. It’s a Sin, Vienna and Enter Sandman would all be on my list, too! I love Wuthering Heights, but given what the second and third verses do to my hearing aids, it’s more like Withering Heights these days…

      Oh – I’ve thought of another appropriate one: Enjoy the silence by Depeche Mode 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oooh, I’m excited now! 😊
        I’d put everything by Kate Bush on it, to be honest. What a shame Wuthering Heights aggravates your ears in the way it does.

        If you’ve been looking for your phone for too long, how about Ugly Kid Joe’s I Hate Everything About You?! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hair brushed and in ponytail; teeth brushed; and yes – clean knickers most definitely on, ye cheeky bugger. Bas’s school has a cunning scheme called the drop-off zone, where the nearby housing estate becomes a one-way system to pull up by the school, deposit your child outside the gates in the loving arms of a disgruntled-looking teacher, and then we drive off. It’s the local solution to what would otherwise be a really awkward parking situation. And nobody sees me unless they want to be appalled at my appearance through the windscreen or passenger window….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Why not just phone your mobile from the house phone and follow the ringing?

    You could even program your phone to play a certain song for different numbers, so put in a heavy metal one for home, and follow that instead of a little ping.

    My wife’s got hers set up to flash instead of ringing, which is useful for a lost phone at night…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I want to make mine flash!! I’ve tried phoning my iphone. And yes, i can connect a tune to my home handset number. Only problem is that my phone goes to voicemail after a maddeningly few number of rings. The voicemail message gives an email address or requests a text (because I can’t hear any messages). I had to set that up a few weeks ago because no matter how many times I check that my number is registered on the TPS, I still get a ridiculous number of cold calls. I let any calls to my phone ring out on principle because everyone who knows me who will be in a position of needing to get hold of me knows they can use text, email, messenger or whatsapp.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! I’m finding I’m using my house phone less and less. And mine’s started cutting to answerphone after two rings for about a week. I can’t be bothered to run and grab it before it does.


  3. Animal I Have Become by 3 days grace has a driving 250hz thump throughout.. might be helpful?
    For my own list, Aerials by soad, just because it’s loud and furious. Probably High Hopes by Panic, because, high hopes..
    I’m digging in to see if there is some custom way to play a sound/vibe on Find but nothing so far..


    1. I didn’t have much luck googling customisations of the ‘find’ facility either, but I have loved seeing people’s suggestions. I might borrow your 3 days’ grace suggestion to wake Bas up on a half-term morning though. Tee hee.


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