Friday, January 10, 2014


           I wear ear plugs when I go to bed. There are days, too, when I would like to plug up my ears. My ears are assaulted by sounds. Sounds I do not like and do not want to hear. I have sensitive ears. Hearing is my most highly developed sense and I listen to everything. Years ago, I had my hearing tested, for a job that had no bearing on hearing, but they tested my hearing anyway and the attendant noted, impressively, that I 'can hear flies walking on walls.' I have never actually heard flies walking on walls, but I hear rats in the attic sometimes and I bang the ceiling with an old golf club and that usually scares rodents.
Cindy Greer licked my ear one night and I knew she knew things I didn't know about ears and licking but I let her go and regretted it after she was gone. I don't remember if I licked her ears, but she did nice things to mine. The sound was kind of delicious and sexy and after that I never wanted to get my ear pierced or wear an earring. No, that sort of thing would damage my most sensitive sense, so my ears are pure.
It's the blowers and mowers that bother me now. Every day, they howl and whine and roar, at all times of the day. They start up at inopportune times. When I'm writing, reading, eating, watching television, petting the cats, moving around the house and doing little chores, they pierce my brain with their sharpness, invade my privacy with their ubiquity, vibrate right through walls with their gasoline or electric powered RPMs, come right in and sit down next to me and take over my day. And they each have their separate timbre and pitch, note and waver, up and down the scales of annoyance like brass bands pumping air, bellowing from across the street or down the open space from an adjoining yard. Mostly from across the street.

I have nothing against the men and women who trigger-pull these incessant devices into squeals of horrific noise. They're doing a job someone hired them for. Making a living. Cleaning yards and driveways and gutters. 
If it is endemic to our culture to blow and wheeze and create little piles of debris, then it is our sad collective loss of quiet solitude. There are all kinds of substitutes for solitude and silence. Headphones, the latest ear-ily switch-on, tune out gadget of compressed music downloaded from electronic devices. Cell phone chat seems to work for many. Timers beep in the kitchen, GPS devices tell us to turn left in two hundred yards, street signals tell us to walk, and how many seconds are left to safely cross the road. Serie can tell us where every Starbucks in town is located and be nice, now, she's only a computer. We can never lose our way, now, as long as the satellites stay in orbit and the computer servers geocode our every move. I know where you are because you Facebook-locate yourself at the same time of the day, every day.
The gardener weed-whacks and mows and blows your yard clean, and your neighbor next door hires another to do it again the next day. It is a symphony, a chorus of weed-kill-whine, day by day, week by week, out of key and off pitch but with no on-off switch, it plays on and on and on.


Timecheck said...

Liked the rhyme & rhythm of your piece. Have to say though, that from my age muted hearing point of view, I envy your cacophony.

Kurt Taylor said...

Thanks Ralph. I always like to see your comments.

spiker_writer said...

Hope for more rain, for the gentler sound, and a leaf-assualting hiatus. Loved your post.

Timecheck said...

And then there is Skype. We sat in our walking destination a few miles away yesterday. Consuming our pastry and coffee, bemusedly listening to a family gathered around the laptop, shouting their conversation back and forth with counterparts in the UK. Not a problem really, just unexpected entertainment.

The rats in the attic though, better do something about that. They chew on wiring. I have direct personal experience.