It was in a crowded lift that my handbag started bellowing like an outraged bull seal when a rival approaches his harem.
My bag was no Fendi, but how people stared – first at it and then at me – as they pressed back against the lift walls.
Puce with embarrassment, I grappled with it and, after what seemed like forever, finally retrieved the phone.
Hello, I whispered, silencing the snarling and the lift passengers, who were eavesdropping quite shamelessly.
“What do you think of the new ringtone?” asked a cheery and familiar voice.
I’d always wondered about the poor sods who were seduced by those old adverts for freaky ringtones, paying $5 a pop for the crazy frog and demented cow and not bothering with the fine print so they ended up being charged in perpetuity.
Now it seemed I was married to one of them.
“Well,” he persisted, “whaddayathink? I put it on outdoor setting so you’d be sure to hear it.”
It, as it transpired, was the grunting of a territorial male koala, a sound imported from the website of a team of nature sound recordists who have made it their life’s work to capture the sounds of the Australian bush and of exotic forests.
Now there may indeed be people who can carry off the accompaniment of a cross koala in a confined space with aplomb. I’m not one of them, but I liked the idea of an “organic” ringtone to go with my Fairtrade coffee so now the phone gently warbles to me as a magpie.
What better than a bird in the handbag, to remind us there’s still a few in the bush.