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Ding goes the shadow beside the bed. It's a generic sort of sound—thrown together by an electrical engineer with better things to do. It's been thirty good years since 8-bit sounds and piezoelectric speakers were cutting edge, and still those sounds are the standard. Dings. Buzzes. Tones. Once they were a practical necessity, but now they're nothing more than a relic of the past. Thirty years and nobody's ever bothered to change the standard. Humans are like that. We forget why things are the way they are. We accept the status quo, and cling to it long after its lost its relevance.
Ding goes the shadow again. I can't tell what device it is from here. The sound is generic, so that means it's something I haven't changed the defaults for. I keep all my devices on a theme. The phone is Columbia, with the Songbird Call for its ringtone, and the vending machine clink for texts and alerts. The tablet is MLP, with a very sassy Twilight Sparkle as the background, and a few snippets from the music for alerts. The music is edited so it's not recognizable of course—I have a reputation to uphold. The laptop is well... off. And it doesn't ding in any case.
Ding. Just like that. Fine. So it's one of the two. Probably an app. Maybe WhatsApp or... Google Messenger? I don't know. Is the Google sound different? Maybe if I ignore it it'll go away.
Ding. Answers the universe. Marking another datapoint against my theory. Ding. Ding. Ding. Okay God, thank you. I got the point. You can shut up now.
The sounds continue as I stumble out of bed, staggering across the room for the light switch. I still haven't put away the air mattress, and it hits my foot in the darkness, flying weightlessly across the floor. I don't see it, but I can see the motion, and hear as it hits the desk. Finally, my hands find the switch, and the lights come on. I squint into the sudden glare, covering my right eye with one hand as I adjust.
Christ, this room looked better in the dark. How long has it been since I cleaned?
Another alert sound reminds me why I got up, and I make my way to the end table, pushing the air mattress aside with a foot. It's covered in crap: washclothes for my eyes, spare alarm clocks, tangled cables, loose paper, empty glasses, and no less than four water-bottles. I can't walk into a tech event without having one of those things shoved into my hands, but I don't mind so much at this point. The Google one is nice. Real brushed aluminum instead of cheap plastic.
Anyway, it's the phone. I pick it up and flip open the cover. My thumb types in the password. It's WhatsApp. Kumar, on the project team group. The message are flying fast now, but I manage to get the gist. We had a deliverable due tomorrow morning—or have a deliverable due in six hours. Of course, that arrogant little shit forget about it again. We really shouldn't have elected him group leader. But what was the alternative. Me? Hah. I'm not that much of a glutton for punishment.
Anyway, scrolling up, it doesn't look like it's so bad. Just a status report.
"Alright," I say, holding down the voice recognition button. Samsung, right? I've heard Siri is good, but, whatever. "I'll draft something up and send it around for approval." The little logo swirls for a moment, and then letters start to appear. It gets a few words wrong, "and sedentary around," but it's close enough so I send it without correcting. "ETA, 5 minutes," I add, and send again.
The laptop is on the desk, so I yank it open and hit the power button. While it boots, I step over to the window, edging behind the bed so I can reach the cord. I prefer the window open when I'm awake—the little room is too claustrophobic without it—so I give the cord a good yank.
And the lights of New York shine in.
I'm sorry everyone, but Daring Do is on Haitus for the next few months. Business school has simply turned out to be way, way more effort than I thought. I shall resume it as soon as possible.
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