Thursday, January 8, 2009

Is a cell phone a musical instrument?

I was planning to write a post today about my plans and non-resolutions for the new year, something reflective and maybe even a little profound. But then I got distracted, spending a good portion of the day sorting out a situation with Child One’s cell phone that was brought about by his love of music.

I’ve written before about the fact that both my kids are very musical. Sometimes their talent borders on the bizarre. For example, a couple of years ago our trusty old vacuum, which was duct-taped and repaired to within an inch of its life, became unusable. The new one is okay, but there’s one thing I hate about it: It emits a horrible noise, a high-pitched squealy kind of noise so awful to my ear that I’m tempted to buy an iPod just so I can wear it while I’m vacuuming.

A few weeks ago I heard Child One squealing along with the vacuum. He told me that he’d figured out that the vacuum made a high E, and now when it’s on, he’ll sing that note and hold it until I want to duct-tape him. Then Child Two told me that she likes to sing along to the vacuum too. What is wrong with these kids?

Child One hasn’t taken piano lessons, but he likes to pick out songs by ear on his sister’s piano. And since we bought him a cell phone in September when he started high school, he’s done the same on his phone. Remember when push-button phones first came on the market (please tell me you’re old enough to remember that) and we all learned to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” by pushing the right sequence of numbers? It’s quite amazing the songs he can get out of that cell phone keypad.

Well, last night he came to us, saying that his phone wasn’t working. After spending quite a lot of time on hold listening to “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” and other great tunes from my early childhood, I finally got through to a support person at the wireless company, who determined that Child One had somehow managed to enter the code that locks his phone’s SIM card. Locks it tight. Or “hard locks” it, as the term apparently goes. Meaning it couldn’t be unlocked and we had to buy a new card for $40.

Here I’d been worried that he’d accidentally call China or Australia or an equally expensive place while figuring out how to play some classic rock tune. I had no idea that he could actually break his phone.

It worked out okay, though. When I got home from getting his phone fixed, I found a message on our machine saying that the $40 parking ticket I got a few weeks ago had been cancelled. Twit that I am, I’d accidentally placed my parking stub upside down on my dashboard, and the parking company had, to my surprise, taken mercy on me when I appealed the ticket. So the money I would have spent fixing my mistake could go to fixing his.

Child One may have inherited his musical ability from his dad, but he definitely inherited his ability to be a twit from me.

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