Ring Tone Annoyance

I am not a trend setter. Not in how I dress, not in what I write, and certainly not in the music I listen to. I am, what one could accurately describe as, a square.

Perhaps this is because I grew up listening to scratchy 8 track cassette tapes of Waylon Jennings and Dolly Parton.

Or maybe it's because my parents always had a radio (perched on top of our refrigerator) playing; the dial never once moved from the local farm station on the AM channel, even when FM barged it's way into it's place in modern day culture. I always knew when the schools were closed, which country act was coming to town and the price of hogs on any given day.

(Pig prices wasn't particularly useful information for my family as we were a bunch of surburban city dwellers, but somehow it made a permanent way into my psyche. Go figure.)

The only vinyl my parents I ever considered playing from my parents large collection were a few scratchy Elvis records. I had no interest in listening to the plethora of Hank Williams tunes that seemed to dominate the entire selection.

I grew up knowing how to dance to a good polka and I can square dance with the best of them. Oh ya, I am hip.

My siblings, Stretch and Mouse, shook off this cultural immersion in all things country freakishly old fashioned and morphed into people reasonably in touch with modern day society. They listen to current music, buy the latest technologies available on the market and, when asked what the latest price in the pig market might be, have the appropriate blank stare and WTF? look on their faces.

Me? I'm still listening to that AM channel with the mid-morning piggie announcements and I can't get enough of Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash. There is even a radio perched on the top of my fridge that I turn on every morning when I pad my way into the kitchen for my morning coffee.

I am, and always will be thanks to my parents successful indoctrination, an old fashioned girl.

(An old fashioned girl who gets knocked up with two kids before marrying her babies daddy, finishes her post secondary after having children, sports a blue bush,  has a few nipple and nose piercings and is riddled with tattoos. Still, I am old fashioned, I swear.)


I am in fact, a crotchety old lady trapped in a young woman's body.

I totally blame my parents.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

Yesterday I spent the day with my father. The same man who constantly hums "There is a Tear in my Beer" and doffs a cowboy hat when ever he sits down for a meal. The man who has had the same hair cut his entire life, wears cowboy boots because they are practical and wouldn't know what a trend is if it bit him on the arse.

Other than the fact my father looks nothing like me and has a vocabularly that makes even sailors blush, we are pretty much the same people. Stuck in our ways, hesitant to try anything new and sporting the same grouchy outlook when it comes to our world views.

We are two sides of the same coin.

Or so I thought until yesterday as the two of us went shopping for his belated fathers day present. Picture him ambling down the hardware store aisles in dirty cowboy boots, jeans and a denim shirt with a black cowboy hat perched on his thinning hair and then picture me in my dirty cowboy boots, jeans and denim shirt with a straw cowboy hat perched on my head.

We don't dress for fashion around here, yo.

As we stood in the massive hardware store surveying cabinetry and counter tops, mulling over colour choices and variety of wood grains, his cell phone rang.

Except I didn't think it was his cell phone. I thought it was some punk ass kid's who must be lurking around the corner.

When my father put down the cabinet sample to reach into his front pocket to grab his cell phone I just about died.

My father, the man who refuses to even learn what an iPod can do and listens to the same scratchy radio station, has a fancier cell phone than I do. A cellphone that sings out "Kung Fu Fighting" at the top of it's lungs when ever some one calls him.

This from the man who threatened to throw out our television set whenever my brother Stretch and I wanted to watch Micheal Jackson's video Thriller on MuchMusic.

This from the man who swears the Beatles music is nothing but a bunch of British twits with too much time on their hands.

This from the same man who thinks the definition of disco is derived from the movie "Rhinestone" from Glen Campbell's song "Rhinestone Cowboy."

My 61 year old father had a itty bitty cellphone belting out a musical ring tone. As people turned to stare at us to see who the jackass it was polluting the hallowed halls of the hardware store with such a silly ring tone, I pulled the brim of my hat down lower, stared at my boots and wished for the powers of invisibility.

After my dad concluded his phone call, he slipped his phone back into his shirt pocket, picked up the sample we were examining and tried to pick up our conversation where it left off.

Except I was staring at him like he just grew a tail and horns sprouted out of his forehead.

"Whose phone is that Dad?" Because there was no way it could have been my father's.

"Mine. Why?"

"Where'd you get that ring tone?" Because obviously someone played a practical joke on him. Obviously. "I can CHANGE it for you," I graciously offered.

"I bought it. I like it. And I can change it myself if I wanted to," he huffed at me, indignant with me for thinking he was too technologically challenged to handle a simple task such as that himself.

"But DAD. It's embarrassing. Seriously." I gaped at him, while reaching for his cell phone to correct his obvious error in judgement.

"I like it. Your mom's phone moos like a cow when ever someone calls. It makes us smile," he replied as he evaded my hand.

I just stood there dumbstruck, wondering where my father went and how I could get the body snatcher out of my dad's skin and return the world to normal.

"I've even got it programmed to bark like a dog when I get a text message," he grinned.

That's when I fell over dead and saw my lifeless body below me as I floated my way to heaven.

Pigs grew wings in that moment and snow started to fly in the deserts of Africa too.

I don't get it.

What ever happened to the basic ring tone? Am I the only grown up in the Western world who doesn't need to hear a chicken cluck or a digital version of "Take me out to the Ball Game" when a call comes in?

As my father and I were leaving the store he asked me where my cell phone was.

"Why? Is your battery dead?" I asked as I dug in my pocket and handed it to him.

"No. I just want to check out what ring tones your phone has."