Stay in the Loop
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Every morning, the screeching alarm rudely awakens me at 6:30. I reach for the nightstand to slap the top of Hello Kitty’s head to make it stop. It takes a few seconds to find it, then tap, tap, whack! When that doesn’t work, I peek open an eye and realize that I didn’t set the alarm. The screech squawks again, drawing my attention to the window — the noise isn’t coming from inside the house! It’s outside. It’s a bird, the howling monkey bird apparently, who shouts over and over with metronomic precision.
Ah, spring, and its many auditory annoyances: the price we pay for not having to wear a down jacket and cover every exposed body part with fabric. Winter is cold, but it’s extremely quiet. I think that’s the main reason it’s my favorite season.
The noises spring brings are plentiful, and Mr. Monkey Bird is just one of a slew of nonstop ruckus makers. More people dust off their cars and return to clog the roads, their rusty driving skills causing slow pacing, which makes others honk with displeasure. In the 'burbs, every John Deere wannabe rolls out the riding mower (at 7:30 in the morning mostly), even if they only have a quarter of an acre of grass to cut. And the thump thump of whatever rap and rock songs are trendy rattle the closed windows of my car from the wide open ones of the souped-up Tercel six cars behind me at the red light.
I wish there were quiet roads for drivers who refuse to honk, like the Quiet Room at the car dealership where I get my oil changed. Whoever thought to add that space deserves a medal. The waiting room’s a loud place. It’s filled with unsupervised children playing with Yosemite Sam mud flaps, running in circles listening to their sneakers squeak on the linoleum, and screaming for no reason other than that they can. Their parents and other waiters, who apparently don’t mind the commotion, sit half asleep, unfazed by the giant screen TV with its movie-theater decibels projecting Maury Povich yelling “You ARE the father” three blocks away.
The world in and around a big city is a noisy place, and spring just ups the ante. I mean, the library has a quiet study room. Why would a place where you’re supposed to be quiet have a room for deeper levels of silence?
Time to up the meditation practice to block out the world around me. When that doesn’t work, because the world just keeps intruding, the earplugs and escapes to far-out destinations hopefully will do the trick. If a bird screeches and I’m not around to hear it, is it still annoying?
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