Freudian Ring Tones

I’ve got time on my hands in the Phoenix Airport.

My short flight in the small commuter jet to Aspen is delayed because… ahem.. one of the crew has now shown up yet. Yikes.

Beyond munching on over priced food that one does not really need, and not wanting to read your magazine not wanting to finish it and just lug it on the plane, what’s there to do? Just watch people. It’s America’s favorite unclaimed past-time, raised to its highest art form on the New York subway where the trick is to watch without anyone really noticing you are watching.

For this observation, I need not my eyes. Thumbing through a discarded newspaper, I hear at least three times a nearby cell phone go off. It’s ready loud. And the tone is like a loud Spanish matador flourish. It’s just so silly and I cannot imagine what it says to the world at large. I’ve no idea who it belongs to but I bet it was not a matador. The best thing was I leaked out in a smile and the guy across the way was ready to bust a gut too. A shared silent joint laugh is a wonderful thing.

I’ve been in bank lines to listen to a loud jingle of “Meet the Flinstones” or “Love Me Two Times” blare out in its MIDI like glory from the phone of some middle-age guy in a suit. No embarrassment at all on their part. Cool. I don;t really care or pass judgment on your ring tones (oops, maybe I do in a New York subway kind of way), but in crowded places, in the elevator, does everyone in a 50 foot radius need to know your secret personality? Maybe.

I’m one to talk, since I’ve had a new mobile phone more than a month, and every time it rings. I am still not sure if it is the same sound as last or even mine. It’s hard to even find a sedate ring-like tone anymore, but I sure as heck am not blaring out Beethoven, 1980s pop, or the call to the bulls. Well who knows, maybe I am.

Oops, this must end. The missing crew member has arrived.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I dunno… maybe I’m just getting old, but a phone should darned well sound like a phone… Not a cheap rendition of Beethoven (the dog or the composer).

    The coolest cell phone ringtone I heard belongs to Brendan – who has it set to sound like a retro rotary-dial phone. It sounds like a phone. Not just any phone, but a REAL, analog phone. I have GOT to get that ringtone…

    Of course, I seem to be abnormally infatuated with the “low tech” used in the new Battlestar Galactica series… There’s just something so tangible about having dials and knobs instead of magical touchscreen or voice interfaces…

  2. Forgive the blatant ad, but I had the same thought about 4 months ago. Couldn’t find a ringtone that sounded like a phone (there wasn’t one on the new Motorola phone I bought) so started my own website. http://www.soundslikeaphone.com only has ringtones that sound like telephones. All the way back to a 1920s Candlestick phone. Have a look, and let me know if you like it.
    All the best,

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