Thank You for the Music


(Apologies to anybody who gets this song stuck in their head.)

Calpoly has a bell tower that has Winchester chimes. I grew up in a town with a bell tower, so I'm partial to them. But I don't think Calpoly has concerts on theirs, like Cornell did.

Do you ever think about how the world would be without sound? I mean, sure, if you're Deaf or know somebody is you certainly have some idea what I'm talking about, but those of us with statistically normal hearing probably take it for granted. I know that I think about how beautiful things look all the time, but I rarely pay attention to sounds.

Today I woke up and listened to the rain being blown against the window by my bed. It was a very soothing sound, the way you want it to be in the automatic carwash and it never quite is. I was having a hard time getting up -- I've got a lot of sleep debt to pay back this week -- and I spent quite a bit of time lying there, until i realized I'd better get moving if I was going do get to my midterms on time.

One corner of my apartment can sort of see down onto the street, so I get some street noise -- more than the really noise-sensitive could bear, I suspect, I don't mind it, chiefly because it is a sort of wooshing wave sound. Like being on the beach only without all the wind. In the rain, there's a splashing sound, too.

My favourite time of day is around 7:30, when I arrive in the studio and sit for a while in the silence, listening to the nothing. The studio is in an older building with limited HVAC systems -- no AC at all, in fact, just heating and a fan system. So usually in the morning it's actually completely quiet, with the only sounds being the occasional student crawling into class late (most of our classes start on the hour, so the half hour is a good time to get places without a crowd).

Campus sounds are usually rustly: the sound of papers shuffling, the sound of backpack zippers, the rustle of a raincoat (lots of those lately). Sometimes there's a bird or a rodent scurrying around.

During the day, there's the murmur of talking. At night there will be students running around yelling and making all kinds of noise playing night frisbee or capture the flag or something like that. In the architecture studios, there's the tinny sound of a couple stereos playing quietly, and the scraping sound of knives slicing through museum board or foamcore. We talk in studio, but not a whole lot when we're working. Talking while cutting leads to finger damage, and finger damage is so common that bandages really ought to be on the standard equipment list.

At home the sounds are less human: the hum of the fridge, busily freezing my milk. The bump and hiss of the gas oven. The plop of the drippy faucet in the bathroom. Sometimes I play music in the evening. Mostly I don't. It's a luxury to have silence, after a month in which every waking hour was drenched with the blare of the television and people talking. I don't know how people can live any other way.

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This page contains a single entry by Ayse published on October 20, 2004 6:44 PM.

Happy Little Clouds was the previous entry in this blog.

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