Ever since we moved in three years ago, visitors to our home have announced their arrival with a sick-sounding doorbell. Ding–Dunk, it sadly played.
My reaction mirrored this dreary tune. Oh dear, who’s come to see us now?
When the button finally gave way—a crack became a hole became an entirely broken piece of plastic more likely to cut your finger than get you access—I felt gratitude. No longer would visits begin on a sour note. The way in had a more personal touch: a soft rap at the door, a friendly voice calling, Hello?
Still, we had a problem. The condition of our button brought down the value of the homes around us. Our exterior suggested laziness and poverty. Hard times beyond the means of a simple push-button device. Our doorbell was the stain on the tie that ruined our best suit.
Handyman chores are tough for a writer to embrace. I’d rather edit and improve a chapter in my next novel than drag the toolbox upstairs and stand on the porch in the hot sun fiddling with wires that, for all I know, might zap me.
But there I was this morning all the same. And when I climbed the step-stool afterwards to examine the interior chime, I was struck. I removed the chime cover only to find this:
The contractor who’d installed it so many years ago, apparently, couldn’t read “Up”. The two arrows, without literary context, meant nothing: regardless of how he installed, both would point in the same direction. So relying on my understanding of two-lettered vocabulary I flipped the thing over, avoided the flying sparks, and tested the results with my new button.
Ding Dong! it called merrily. I pushed again: Ding Dong!