Can you go anywhere these days without hearing that fripping “beedeep!” that those Nextel phones make?

Back while Berta was pregnant with Abby in 2001, we were deeply concerned that she would be out somewhere when “the time” came, and rather than deal with the tedious details of dialing numbers, we found the one-touch instant-connect feature of the phone very appealing. This is the feature that makes that distinctive “beedeep!” sound.

We didn’t actually use the phone for this purpose, but we became familiar with the sound the phone would make. We eventually ditched Nextel, because they were needlessly expensive, but our neighbors bought a pair. How did we learn this? The “beedeep!” through our front windows, of course.

It’s pretty scary how ubiquitous these phones are. What’s most disturbing is their use by certain people who insist on using their phone using only this method. They walk around holding their phone about 5 inches from their face, button on the trigger, with the voice of an unseen and unaware person blaring out into the air between each “beedeep!”

Today in the drive-through at Wendy’s, I heard the “beedeep!” of the phone in the car behind me. Then there was a similar sound from the car in front of me. Next to the cashier window, the fry alarm chirped out its own mating call in response to its suitors.

Sure, I’ve got my phone in my pocket most of the time. I enjoy its ringtone, a clip from the promotional audiodrama for Halo 2. But most of the time my phone is simply set to vibrate.