Something that Beeps

Do you know why I’m not considered a complete and total flake by my friends, family, and business associates?

It’s because I have something that beeps.

I’m a very "in the moment" kind of guy. I can get focused on something – a book, a game, a thought, a blog post, a conversation – and tune out the rest of the world, including the passage of time and my obligations and commitments.

But luckily, I own a Treo 650, which contains the digital version of my calendar. It’s my cellphone, so I’m pretty good at keeping it close at hand (or leg, in a trouser pocket).

And it beeps.

It beeps when I have to call a client for a phone meeting.

It beeps when I have to pick up groceries for dinner on my way back from town.

It beeps when I have to pick my mother up at the airport in an hour (feel sorry for me the day I forget that one).

My wife is a much more aware and together person than me, and she uses a paper calendar.

Now I love paper calendars. I love being able to add layers of meaning through color and handwriting and doodles. I love being able to scan a week in LP-size, not CD-size. I adore being able to flip right to the date in question and pencil in an appointment in seconds. I love that it’s batteries never die.

But it doesn’t beep.

So occasionally, she forgets things because she’s distracted by children, or weeding in the garden, or tending the beehives. She’s the earth-goddess type, attendant to cycles of nature rather than the unforgiving and relentless tick-tock of civilization.

I’ve taken to adding wife-friendly beeps to my Treo. Just this morning at 11:55am: "Call M remind pickup Y from camp." She appreciates it. Both the reminder, and the fact that it’s me, not her, dealing with the beep.

My AdWords and Analytics accounts beep. I’ve configured 4 different reports in AdWords. They run once a week and appear magically in my inbox. I print them out and examine them for clues about how to make more money. About twice a month, I find something significant to change.

Analytics now gives me the ability to send myself a PDF snapshot of the important charts and tables of my online life.

Without beeps, I’d have a hard time living in the digital age. With beeps, I can just about manage. And thanks to AdWords and the online life, I now have more beepless time to spend away from the gadgetry that makes it all possible.

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