The ringing in my ears

I have an iPhone. It's not the latest and greatest version with all the bells and whistles and FaceTime application, but I love it just the same. A few of the iPhone features make me nuts, of course, such as the auto correct (which it apparently does others, too, sometimes in hilarious fashion). For the most part, though, I'm quite pleased with the snazzy smartphone and consider myself privileged to have it.

One of the best things about my iPhone, I think, is that I can automatically tell who's calling me. Not because I have Caller ID—which I do—but because of how each person sounds when they're trying to reach me, thanks to the ability to set ringtones and text tones for callers. I don't even have to pick up my phone to check Caller ID to screen my calls.

Which is music to my ears. Because I pretty much hate talking on the telephone. So only if it's someone in my immediate family do I usually answer right away. Unless I'm in the bathroom. But at least then I know who it is I need to call back as soon as I'm out of the shower...or whatever...without even having to look.

We are a family of texters, so the same goes for when I'm musically notified that one of them is calling without calling at all.

The really great thing about having the ability to screen calls with the iPhone is that I've attached a sound to each of my family members that audibly resembles who they are. At least to me. Sounds that make me smile—not just because one or the other wants to talk or text with me, but because the sound I've given them is so, well, them.

To show you—or, more accurately, sound to you—what I hear that gets me grinning, I'd like to introduce you to my ringtone.

BRIANNA: I talk to Brianna probably more often than I talk to my other two daughters put together. Brianna likes to talk. And for the most part, I like to hear her talk. But she does indeed talk a lot, and we all like to tease her a bit about it. So I was quite pleased with myself when I found that my iPhone had a ringtone perfectly befitting my oldest daughter. When I first assigned it to her, I giggled every single time she'd call. Now I simply smile, for this is what I hear when Brianna calls. When she texts, my oldest daughter sounds like this, just because I imagine her texting as quickly as she can—and expecting me to respond as quickly as I can.

ANDREA: My youngest daughter calls me far less often than Brianna. Actually, she calls far less than Megan and Jim, too. But that's okay. She calls me just as often as she needs to and just as often as I need her to. Same with texting. But when she does either, she always makes me smile. First with the ringtone assigned to her. Or the text tone that she urged me to use—which is kind of like this one but not exactly (only because I couldn't find the exact MP3 to use for this post). The actual one is the iPhone minuet tone Andie suggested I use and imagine her dancing around each time I hear it. Which I do. Which along with some of the off-the-wall things she writes, is another of the reasons I smile when Andrea texts.

MEGAN: As the mother of my grandchildren, nearly every time my middle daughter calls or texts, there's some mention of my grandsons. Sometimes she even graciously treats me to photos and videos via text. So the ringtone and text tone for Megan require a smidgen of whimsy to match the fun (usually) found at the other end of the line when she rings in. So each time there's news of my grandsons—or my daughter herself—heading my way via a voice call, this is what I hear. The sound of a photo or video magically traveling from the desert to land in my hands in the mountains typically sounds like this.

JIM: When Jim calls to let me know he's left work and on his way home or that he's forgotten what it is I said I wanted from Taco Bell, this is what I hear. That's just the bluesy kinda guy my husband is. Of course, he'll text occasionally, too. Being the one in the family who is newest to texting and wee bit less adept at it than the rest of us, though, he doesn't know it, but he sounds just like this when he texts me. That's my Jimmy.

Bubby and Mac are clearly far too young for phones of their own. When the time comes, though, I'll likely create a special ringtone for each, something original to match the truly original personalities of each of my goofy grandsons.

That's how it is with my family. How my immediate family sounds to me.

My extended family? Well—and, Mom, don't be offended by this!—I've assigned the same ringtone to all of them, from my parents to each and every one of my siblings. When they call—which isn't often—there's typically some anxiety-inducing news they plan to share. So I warn myself in advance with a spooky little riff that sounds like this. Did you feel that as you listened? That is indeed the feeling accompanying most calls from my siblings. Best to be prepared before saying, "Hello."

My siblings and parents shouldn't be offended, though, for at least they get a special ringtone. Strangers? All they get is this generic old telephone ring. Yet even that sounds pretty darn cool coming over my iPhone—though I must admit, I ignore that specific ring nearly every time I hear it. Like I said, I hate talking on the phone; talking on the phone to strangers is something I pretty much refuse to do.

That's the beauty of screening my phone calls—made simpler by the ringing in my ears.

Today's question:

What are your favorite ringtones to assign to family, friends, and foes?