In college I had a friend who, whenever a woman he found attractive would walk by or come into a room, would say, “Boing!” It was pretty obnoxious. I told him so more than once. Some of the women would ignore him. Others would give him a look that just said, “Grow up.” I assume he did eventually grow out of it.
So one afternoon I walked to the bus stop. There was a woman already there. I kept a polite distance the way I would with any stranger. Then a noise came from my jeans.
BOING! BOING! BOING!
It was my phone. I’d picked this noise as the text alert message because I thought it was funny. And earlier that day it had gone off in a meeting with my boss. “I should probably change that to something else,” I said sheepishly.
“No!” she said. “It’s funny!”
It’s funny until it goes off next to a complete stranger and then it sounds obnoxious, and possibly even suggestive when the stranger happens to be a woman. I hadn’t thought about it that way until I was standing at the bus stop and I had flashbacks to college. I’m probably—hopefully—being overly analytical about this. When I pulled out my phone that should have made it clear why I was boinging. I still felt like a jackass. After reading the text I stuck my phone back in my pocket.
A bus drove up. It was one for a different route than mine. The woman walked over to it and I thought, great, she will never see me again, and we can both put this possibly creepy incident behind us.
Then as she was stepping onto the bus I got another text.