Ears April 16, 2008Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Earphones are the scourge of the stealth work-avoider. In the past, if I heard the front door opening or the screech of the Russian’s chair from the next room, I could panickily close any incriminating window and arrange my shoulders to reflect a stern hunch over an especially tricky translation. Or, though this was only a recent discovery, and could only be applied when I was willing to explain myself, press ‘sleep’. What a brilliant button! So much less drastic, and traumatic for the computer, than pressing reboot or the big off button altogether. I can tell the computer suffers PTSD whenever I do that to it.
But the Russian must have recently decided that the noise of me, or noise created by me, or the noise of what I am listening to, when I allow myself, you understand, a rare break between almost non-stop translo-slog, is too painful a reminder of both my existence and proximity and has decreed that I am now to sport earphones. Which I vaguely loathe. I’m quite a believer in ambient sound and there’s no noise on earth or no music ever created that I love enough to want it to fully occupy my hearing. Bar, perhaps, silence. Occasionally.
So I was caught red-eared when the Russian came in from actual out the other day – we could have been burgled and I wouldn’t have noticed. Mind you, any burglar of our flat would go away feeling very hard done by indeed – and walked in on me, with a deliberately sudden whoosh of the living-room door, watching the I Like to Move It, Move It scene from Madagascar on youtube. I hadn’t been so embarrassed since my ex came home early and found me bunking off work with my hand very guiltily in a packet of crisps. “The translation’s about raccoons,” I lied brilliantly, but the Russian was not for fooling.
They almost did for Michael Douglas’s wife in Fatal Attraction too, remember.
My father was of the view that walkmans were the creation of the devil, or perhaps Protestants, because folk would listen to their music on the street and, by some strange musical brain-numbing and fear-quenching mechanism, would forget not to be run over by cars until they were as much as dead. My objection to having my ears hijacked is less to do with worrying about being squished to a pulp, though I agree that is a perfectly good objection, and more about having free aural space for spontaneity, burglar-catching and spousely-moan-avoidance.
Do the world’s great religions pronounce on earphones? Surely it must be a sin to insert speakers, however small, into any orifice.