Thursday 26 March 2009

The woman on the bus goes cough, cough, cough

Sometimes, I am just not deaf enough

*Haha, ahem, sorry, just typed dead, which actually isn't that funny either…

Anyway, where was I, ah yes, not being deaf enough...

And here's why:

Last night I picked the last seat left on the bus and sat down. Everywhere I looked there were tired workers, eager to get home for a spot of TV and a glass of wine.


Cough, cough, cough

The woman behind me clearly wasn't well.

Wheeze, cough, wheeze, choke, sneeze

Seriously, I kid you not, she sounded to me like she was at death’s door. My actually hair moved in breeze caused by it all, and at that point I started to feel glad I'd had my TB jab.

And so she continued and her coughing was really all I could hear – it was a low throaty cough and low frequencies are all I really have left.

Now, I know it wasn't her fault or anything, and to the other people on the bus there was probably a whole other host of squeaks, chatter, creaks and mobile phone tones to add to her choking to death, but to me, that's all there was and it was driving me insane.

But it got me thinking about all the noise I make that I don't hear. Does it drive other people insane? I remember one time at school being told off for clicking the top of my pen repetitively. Apparently it made quite a din and my teacher was close to breaking point.

I also didn't know sweet packets made a rustling sound... cue lots of dirty looks at the theatre. And, when I was much younger and in a music lesson at school, I once spent a full 10 minutes hitting a triangle as I liked the vibration that travelled through my fingers, completely unaware of the noise I was making. I thought my music teacher might actually explode with rage.

Now I am older and wiser, I am better at judging what might make noise but I still wonder, do the keys of my mobile phone make noise as I tap away?

My flute is the weirdest thing in this category of noise I make but cannot hear. Over half of it simply disappears into thin air and yet, other people can hear it clear as a bell. In a flute lesson not long ago, I was getting frustrated as my teacher told me I wasn't getting the high notes on a certain scale – they were coming out as a lower fuzzy harmonic apparently.

But being the most amazingly switched-on guy, he then gave me a tip – to visualise the sound, to see it in my head and then it would come – along with the right diaphragm tension of course. But it worked and I started to get the notes and really feel the music in my head more – it was inside my ears already so it didn’t matter that I couldn’t hear it.

And, do you know what? You can do it with anything. So as I write this, I am imagining in my head the tap tapping of the keyboard, the din of phones ringing in my office and the higher notes of the music playing on the radio. And when I have had enough and need some peace and quiet, I will imagine it all away!

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