Life's a beep!

Yesterday I dropped into my local supermarket for some basics. Lining up to pay, I placed my items on to the slowly moving belt, but when it was time for my groceries to be scanned, shock horror! There was no beep.

The cashier was surprised at first, but when repeated attempts didn’t make the expected ‘beep’ sound she became a little anxious.

Frustrated by the missing sound, the cashier rang a bell to catch her manager’s attention, who came over to investigate our till. He concluded that it was out of order and escorted us to another checkout where everything seemed to be working.

Indeed upon hearing the familiar ‘beep’ once more, the cashier let out a sigh of relief. She cheered up and finished scanning my groceries, no doubt confident that she could now survive the day. Things were back to normal.

I couldn’t help musing over how our lives’ routines and mundane events are governed and affirmed by beeps. Gadgets surround us at home and at work. In our kitchens, microwaves and ovens make their presence known by their typical beeps; our phones and computers let out similar reassuring noises. At a more advanced level, in doctor’s surgeries and hospitals, our health is monitored and determined by yet more beeps.

In considering the matter deeper it occurred to me that these beeps, although designed for safety reasons, can also be a cause for concern. They can potentially raise anxiety levels, which we exhibit in our facial expressions. Often beeps make us frown, ultimately leading to wrinkles and expression lines on our face.

Maybe the beeping in our everyday lives should come with a health warning too: ‘Beeps may cause long lasting skin damage’ …

I know technology is all around us and is here to stay, but I try to remember that it doesn’t always work. Sometimes it fails us when we rely on it most. At a train station, airport or bank, when a computer is down it throws everyone off track. We customers become annoyed at the inconvenience; those who are responsible become stressed when conveying messages of apology to us.

We don’t like to surrender to these technological glitches, but there is often not much we can do about it.

We are controlled by the beeps, but beeps can make us stressed. And it’s our skin that suffers. So maybe we should take a break from technology for a while. We can’t live without it, but we can escape it temporarily. Whether it’s going for a walk in the countryside or reading a book, our skin will really appreciate it in the long run.