Laughing teenagers, and other sounds that haunt your nightmares

DO you wake up in a cold sweat, imagining you heard one of the many awful sounds of waking life? These will ruin your beauty sleep:

An email notification

While being contacted by work in any capacity is horrifying, this cheerful email tone always reminds you of the 4.59-on-a-Friday request asking you to come in early on Monday morning to have a serious chat about some poorly-formatted spreadsheets. It ruins evenings, weekends and your sanity.

A cancelled train announcement

That sickening three note xylophone melody must have been composed by a sadist as it sounds so optimistic and yet is always a harbinger of doom. You’re still traumatised by the time you spent four hours shivering on a train platform is Stevenage because of a light dusting of snow on the line.

Laughing teenagers

The sound of a group of sniggering teens is one of the most mentally distressing things a person can hear. It takes you right back to the misery and horror of your secondary school days and usually presages the realisation that your skirt is tucked into your tights, or you look over 30.

A bin lorry

The deafening noise of the bin men arriving at 6 in the morning is the perfect reminder that, no, you haven’t put the bins out and, yes, this is the second week in the row that you’ve forgotten and your partner is going to go f**king berserk. It’s especially awful if you live near a bottle bank and you’ve got a hangover.


Waking to a series of loud bangs is a frightening experience, but luckily it was just a dream and you can settle back down to sleep. Oh, actually, no, you can’t because it’s the end of October, those bangs were local kids letting off fireworks at 2.30 am and they’re going to be doing it for another three weeks.

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How to decode your mum's emojis

MUM is messaging and the emojis are flowing but her choices are utterly baffling. Here’s what she’s really trying to say:

‘Call me’ hand

She scrolled for a long time for that thumbs up symbol you always use and stumbled across this one. She now uses it constantly as it saves her spending four minutes trying to type out ‘ok’. Fear not, she’s not expecting you to call her. Well, she is, constantly, but that’s not what she’s trying to communicate in this instance.

‘Loudly crying’ face

She’s aiming for tears of laughter and, without her glasses on, this looks a lot like it. No need to put her right as hysterical weeping will often make sense as a response from her, like when your dad makes yet another awful joke on the family WhatsApp or you send over a funny video of your young child saying ‘f**k’ instead of ‘duck’.

‘Cringe’ face

She thinks the cringe face is grinning and uses it as an indicator of pure joy and excitement. Got a promotion? Cringe. Sent a picture of your new car? Cringe. The news that you’re getting married? Cringe. Actually, that one was correct as she really does not like your partner.

Blind man with stick

She uses this one frequently to say that Dad is out playing golf, which indicates both her level of knowledge of the game and her interest in it. Mind you, she uses the flamenco dancing woman to signal she’s off to aerobics, so perhaps she just sees the world through a different lens to other people.


Oh, for goodness’ sake, she’s making a veggie curry when you go round tonight and wants to make sure you like the ingredients, so stop sending back laughing emojis. The point you need to get embarrassed is when she accidentally sends you a message intended for your dad that ends with the rocket followed by the spurting whale.