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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thoughts On Silence, iTunes, & the Center of the Universe

It's so quiet here.  Even at midday, you can pause your music, shut off the TV, and get completely lost in the stillness.  I live on a relatively "busy" street, and you still only hear the occasional car speeding down towards the Great South Bay.  On weekend, sometimes, you hear laughing children, parents chattering, something delicious sizzling on a barbecue.

At night, you can see the orange glow of the streetlights, sometimes the flaring red of parked taillights, sometimes the light on the side of my house is triggered by leaves in the breeze or raccoons rummaging for leftovers, and it's enough to keep you up for hours.  But the quiet . . . it puts you to sleep.  You can be wide away, typing away, listening to music, the TV on for background noise, lights on and mind racing.  But, then, you pause.  And the moment the typing stops,, the music does, too.  The wind falls silent around the house.  You imagine hearing the lightbulbs hum, you analyze every tiny noise - because you can hear them all.

This is the terror of silence.  It is both a gift and a curse.

I've lived in three places in my life, one of which was a rented two-family home beside a Greek Orthodox church that liked to fire a canon to celebrate Easter.  And the other is your family-friendly town of Boston.  But just because one was a New York City suburb and the other was the middle of a major American metropolis, that doesn't make this quiet any less vaguely unnerving.  You're pumped and ready to go, when the sound dies down and you realize how silent it is.  The neighborhood is asleep; you're practically alone.

This is the beauty of silence.  It is both mystifying and magical.


Sheer joy is downloading new music.  You tire of your old tunes quickly.  You load the Purchased playlist with that song your friend was singing, those Top 40 hits you hear on the radio as you drive aimlessly around your sleepy hometown, the song that was in that car commercial once a year and a half ago and still won't get out of your head.  Sometimes, you download entire albums, because you fall in love with the lead singer.  Other times, it's soundtracks - Broadway musicals, sweeping instrumental pieces to recall epic battle sequences, an eclectic mix of old favorites and indie pop.  You need these new rhythms and melodies, to lull you to sleep and keep you sane.  You need to relive your past.  You need to focus on your dreams.  You need something to dance to while you type out the next great American novel.  Download music - legally, please . . . even though your music player of choice lacks some of your favorite selections.  And live happily ever after.


I'm exhausted.  This post is running overtime (currently 12:06 AM EST).  I spent all day wandering New York City in the rain.  Times Square for the Hershey Store and M&M's World.  Down Broadway to have a crazy man tell us how he stole some bread and got chased down the street.  His pants were evidence in a triple homicide, too, apparently.  Pizza Hut/KFC/Nathan's/Tim Horton's for lunch.  Down the street in a downpour to find Rockefeller Center.  Wandering the NBC store.  Being handed tickets to a closed rehearsal.  SEEING JIMMY FALLON REHEARSE HIS MONOLOGUE ON THE SET OF HIS SHOW, LIVE.  IN PERSON.  BEING HANDSOME AND CHARMING AND FUNNY.

Walking back in the rain.  Dinner at the Hard Rock.  The long, quiet train ride home.  Contemplation, relaxation, release.

Then immediately upload your pictures and blog about it.  Because that's the pace we live and play at, nowadays.  Enjoy the update on my life.  Maybe I'll expand my ideas on train rides at a later date, when I'm not falling asleep and waiting to see if Jimmy uses the Starbucks joke in his opening monologue.  (HE HAD BETTER USE THE STARBUCKS JOKE.)

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