21 May

Beep Rage Vs. Kairos

It turns out I’m not crazy after all. Or at least not in a cranky old woman kind of way. Yet.  Apparently other people also hate the beeping from modern appliances, so “beep rage” has become a thing. There’s also “second-hand beep rage” from having to hear other people’s toys beeping – seat belts, phones, lawn mowers. Maybe someday scientists will figure out that beeps are doing to our ears what second-hand smoke does to our lungs.

A recent article in the Boston Globe explained the phenomenon and offered insights from industrial designers, anthropology professors and home industry analysts. The beeps and other noises are meant to save us time, or to replace real noises appliances used to make. You remember how dryers would shut off and phones would ring?  LOL.

One expert explained reactions to beeps in terms of the ancient Greeks, who had two kinds of time. Chronos was industrial time and Kairos was human time, for things like enjoying sunsets or falling in love. Beeps jar us back into Chronos time no matter what we are doing – having a conversation, reading a book, working on a painting… Last year’s visit to Cadiz, Spain, put us firmly in Kairos time. We meandered through winding streets in the old city, then sat on a park bench to watch the surfers.

Part of why I paint is to ignore the demands on my time and get in “the zone.” It helps to recall a time of Kairos, like this scene of the cathedral across the bay in Cadiz, Spain. And partly I paint to help viewers and collectors enjoy Kairos themselves, be it a fond memory or beautiful sunset. See this painting and other Mediterranean memories in my upcoming Hartford exhibit at Morneault’s Stackpole Moore Tryon. Join us for the opening reception next Thursday, May 30, from 5:00 to 7:00.


  1. Good point, Rob! Hate to get flattened by a truck while daydreaming. Thanks for commenting, and I’m glad you found it useful.

  2. Chronos vs Kairos. Never heard of that before, but it’s a great framework for assessing the various pieces of our lives! Believe it will be very useful going forward.

    One piece of the intrusive & annoying beeping thanks we should pay attention to, tho, is safety. When some vehicle or heavy machinery is moving backward it really can be helpful to know that – and be out of their way!

    Wishing everyone good Kairos space in our overly busy & crowded lives.

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