Of Doorbells and Stepping Out

Some years ago, I lived in a house with a passive-aggressive electronic doorbell. Not only would it ring when someone pressed the button next door, it would also reprogram itself. No matter whether you selected a classic bing-bong or something more reminiscent of Big Ben in a jolly mood, what you got, sooner or later, was Oh, Susanna. Which would insist on playing right to the very end, regardless of how soon you had opened the door, thus inhibiting conversation with the unsuspecting perpetrator.

Not surprisingly, this (and the other ills which electronics are heir to) rather soured me on electronic doorbells. Instead, I yearned for a classic old-fashioned mechanical doorbell, such as had resided on the door of our previous residence. This yearning only grew when we moved to our present home and discovered that you could still see the marks on the door where such a mechanical doorbell had previously been.

Türklingel Mechanik ca. 1894
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Eight Sorts of Solitaries

If you go by what one reads on the internet regarding the lockdown spreading across the face of the earth in the tracks of the coronavirus, there are two sorts of people.

There are those who are bored out of their minds, and resorting to all sorts of eccentricity to pass the time, and there are those who are suddenly gaining a new appreciation for the work of teachers and childcare professionals.

I fall into neither of these groups. I fall into the rather quieter group that lives most of its life at home anyway, and therefore find themselves busier than usual, since they have all their usual work to do still and can’t knock off all their people things at once. Not every meeting can be an email, but they’re all trying to be.

Nieuwe meubeltoonzaal van Van de Meer in Diemen Finse ontwerper Eero Aarnio bij, Bestanddeelnr 927-7336
Busy woman in her bubble.

However, since we are all in the same basket (figuratively speaking; try to avoid joining anyone in a basket unless they are part of your bubble), let us take a moment to consider the many and various kinds of people who have dealt with isolation in the past.

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…But You Didn’t Get It

A quote I have often found myself reaching for of late comes from Douglas Adams: “We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.”

To give programmers their due, it’s a convoluted world to operate in. However, I have recently discovered that the plugin I depended on to send post notifications to those who signed up for them was no longer sending said emails. At least, not to those who had subscribed prior to the ‘upgrade’ at the beginning of this year. For some reason the upgrade set defaults to “do not perform core function unless explicitly re-instructed to do so.”

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