Ghost Ranger
A long haired, rednecked Indian Cowboy

Waiting on the Bell

Pavlov’s most famous experiment was done with dogs, food, and bells. Today we find many bells in our lives. There is the telephone, the e-mail notification, the school bell, the seat belt bell, the open door warning, the social media message bell and many others. Their purpose is to notify us but before that, it seems we had to be trained. We now appear to be spending a lot of our lives waiting on bells.

Listening for bells or alarms have become a part of our lives, but not all bells are auditory. There are a lot of visual bells; brake lights, turn signals, crossing signals, the news. We have been trained to react to bells, trained to the point where some people have been over-saturated with bells and now they ignore them. Are you inured to the warnings? Do you actually answer phone calls? Do you actually listen to the news? Do you listen?

After becoming a recluse, I thought I had refused to rejoin the realm of electronic umbilical cords. For most of my working life, I was tied to my job via walkie-talkies, pagers, mobile phones, two-way radios, and landlines. The problem is there are (or were) select people that I enjoy communicating with.  That problem is compounded when I really have a need to communicate. I have a tendency to overthink problems when communication is cut off; I tend to think the worst. When I anticipate some message or update on a situation, I tend to obsess about it.  I constantly check for messages. I start hearing that bell in my sleep.

As John Donne, said “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main…. Any man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Any therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” I used to think I understood this, but as I approach the end I realize that when the bell tolls for me, it is one bell that I will never hear.

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