Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I love silence so profound it makes my ears ring, but I wouldn't want to be deaf.

I enjoy some noise, certain types of noise. Indistinguishable background noise like the hum of a fridge. Orchestras tuning. I like the sound of the kids in the playground across the street when I'm home for lunch at noon, their shouts as they fling their coats on the brown grass on the rare days it reaches 50 degrees, the sounds of chains chiming on hollow iron as they swarm onto the swing set. I like the sound of diesel engines idling. I like the sound of sewing machines and distant roller coasters.

I like the sounds of a casino floor. I like the dramatic shiver of movie music right before something important or bad or surprising happens. I like birdsong in the evenings, but not in the morning. I love meadowlarks scolding or flirting any time of the day. I love the sound of the water flowing over the weir behind the wall in the pipe gallery at the plant or the blowers coming to life in the basement when I run an air purge on one of the filters. You don't want to be in the room with the blowers when they're running. Then you would be deaf.

I will blare the radio in the car (and not realize it until the next time I start the car), but I never turn the radio on at home or play mp3s or CDs or leave the TV on for company. To me, home is a place for silence and absolute peace. I suppose this is why my neighbors drive me insane. I had to ask Jasper to turn the bass down the other night. It's been throbbing through my earplugs until 3am lately and inspiring B.C. to have one-sided conversations with the bathtub drain. If I don't get more sleep, I may hear it answer him.

In Imperial Beach I grew accustomed to the crash of the Pacific on clear nights and the constant dual-rotor din of Chinooks in the airfield at the end of the street. I can sleep through any noise a train can dish out, no matter how near it is. I have so far failed to find a cellphone ringtone I could classify as pleasant. I like the sound of anything frying and small fires burning. Bonfires at Mission Beach were also fine, but not the demonic roar of a burning building, which I think I've only heard in movies. I like the quiet coughs, the flutter of pages, and the soft, self-conscious steps in a library, and the hiss of the vegetable mist system at the grocery store. I hate squeaky carts, because it usually means they also drive weird, especially with two 50 lb. bags of dog food in them.

I miss the click of flim cameras and I'm thrilled with digital cameras that approximate it, however unconvincingly. I like the choppy Tagalog babble at my favorite nail salon in San Diego and the buzz of Dremel tools on fingernails. I like the questioning tone Kitty uses when she wants attention and the sound of her claws getting stuck in the carpet when she walks and the way she crunches the cat food. B.C. swallows it whole. I like his fake cough under the table when he wants a squirt of Vaseline.

But mostly I just like it quiet.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

“This just in: CNN reports that the gas stations will now start playing porn at the pump so you can watch someone else getting screwed at the same time as you. Thank you, that is all.”

May 14, 2008 at 10:06 PM  
Blogger Doolin said...

Just letting ya know. I have signed my life away again. This time the Army. I ship out June 11th. Wish me luck!

May 14, 2008 at 10:07 PM  

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