2018-04-04 / Here's the Scoop

Sounding off

In recent years, I’ve become much more aware of noise. For instance, even a gently humming car engine puts me over the edge after about 30 seconds and gives me the urge to not only run outside and shut the car off — but to move it quite a distance away….just because.

Of course, I would (probably) never do such a thing. But, it’s fun to consider. Until the jail part, I guess. In the meantime, I’ll just continue to let humming engines drive me up a wall.

The funny thing is, it’s not just running engines in driverless cars that bug me these days. It seems I’ve become much more aware of many other types of noise. For instance, during my morning kitchen routine I’ve recently started noticing how much sound is involved as I stumble around, aiming to enter a state of semi-consciousness.

My first order of business when I arrive downstairs is to feed the cat. This act is relatively quiet — unless you factor in the constant meowing that sounds oddly like, “Hurry up, hurry up!”

Once the cat has been satisfied (and who wouldn’t enjoy a dish of cold turkey giblets and gravy to start one’s day?) I head to the coffee pot. When I remember to set the timer correctly, the “wake-up” effects of the brewing actually begin to kick in long before the first sip, as the gentle growl of the coffeemaker reminds me…of a running car…all the way upstairs.

That can't be true

Thankfully, even in a semi-awake state, I can usually reason there’s little chance of a vehicle being parked in the kitchen. Even if I somehow couldn’t figure this out, the five beeps that signal the end of the brewing process would push me back into the real world. “Thankfully, that’s not a car horn,” I often think.

This seems like an appropriate time to note that those of us who rely on the miracle of caffeine to help spring us into action each morning, actually have ZERO need for the coffeemaker to remind us that the brew is ready.

A note here to coffee pot designers: When the coffee machine shuts itself off after the designated safety period, there’s also no need to incorporate a beeping signal to mark this occasion. Interestingly, there are only two beeps when the pot is shutting down — probably the engineers realize that, by this time, coffee drinkers are well on their way to having caffeine hyperactivity — and more than two beeps would really grind on coffee drinkers’ nerves.

Waking up loudly

Despite my need for coffee to help bring the real world into focus, I still need a bit of prep before consumption can occur. I know purists will scoff at this, but I prefer milk in my coffee. No sugar, though. On the rare occasions when we’re out of milk, I go to bed knowing that my morning will already be off to a subpar start without a dose of cow juice to temper my brew.

As a result, on normal mornings, I’ve become acutely aware of the sound of the refrigerator opening and closing. And, because I’ve yet to find a coffeemaker that keeps my liquid caffeine at an appropriate temperature, I also have to put up with the sound of the opening/shutting of the microwave cupboard — and the microwave buzzing sound as my brew heats up. That last bit of noise is kind of like a car running — but I don’t mind, since it helps put me on the right road for the day.

— Brian Sweeney

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