The Countless Sounds Heard in a Day
As a musician, I always related to sounds in terms of musical application. The only sounds I paid attention to were those involved in creating and performing music. Musical sounds were the most important to me. Well . . . actually, as a traveling musician, any troubling sounds my car made were almost as important. The only other sound I appreciated was silence - something I valued after six nights of rhythmic and melodic saturation and the babble of three hundred or so party drunks.
Since I've settled down and become a family man, however, I have discovered a whole new world of sounds that give me more pleasure than music ever did. ...view middle of the document...
At least, I think it is ringing. Actually, it is just a subtle overtone, an aural hallucination that is produced by the shower. The whirring of a hair dryer can also produce this effect. Even knowing this, I'll scurry to the phone every time. That ring is so convincing.
Off to school I go, usually listening to a pompous AM radio talk show host pontificate about social issues. Other than that, it's a quiet, uneventful ride. I generally don't like hearing music in the morning.
A funny thing though. I still relate a lot of sounds I hear to music or musical instruments. One example of this is how I equate teachers' lectures to different instruments. Some teachers rattle off information so hurriedly, they sound like a clarinet rendition of "Light of the Bumble Bee." Others blurt out lessons like a trumpet fanfare. Some have the lilt of a Debussy flute cadenza. One history teacher's lectures reminded me of a forties trombone ballad, played with a plunger, slowly and endlessly rambling . . . oohwahh-ooh wahh wahhh oooo . . . .
Once out of class, I usually head to the day care center to pick up my daughter. I open the door of her classroom to the usual rumpus of two-year-old children testing the strength of everything they can get their hands on, including each other. The only thing I can hear over that is the exuberant chatter of their trebly little voices.
Upon rescuing my little sweetheart, we head to the park. On the way, she is aware of every honk, roar, squeal, and screech around us. She is also very aware of every unsavory epithet I utter, and lets me know it.
We arrive at Lake Mayer, home of who knows how many feathered beggars. There are all kinds of birds making all kinds of sounds. Geese are obnoxiously honking, crows are cawing, mocking birds are chattering, and even a chicken or two are moping around clucking like a couple of old women complaining about kids' manners these days. "Fowl" language abounds with every speaker making the same demand for the food we brought. But the most foul in this mixed up flock are the seagulls. Their demanding, irritating, nonstop screeching is enough to make me scream! The funniest sounding bunch to me, are the ducks, who, as most of us would say, don't quack at all. Actually, they pap - "pap-pap." When the food is gone, there is an almost insulting silence. Four hundred birds totally ignoring us as they wander off in search of another freebie.
So, it's home we go, my little one expounding half gibberish, half queries all the way. As we roll through our neighborhood, we hear dogs barking for attention, the chaotic chatter of kids in the street, and an occasional dinner whistle shrieking from someone's father's lips. There is also our neighbor, Jamie, a steel construction contractor who does much of his work at home. Many afternoons are colored with the ding of a ball-peen hammer or the spit and sputter of melting steel under a welding torch.