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Silence, please… July 27, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in Miscellaneous.


High heels; Flats; Rubber soled sneakers; Platforms; Trainers. But concentrate a little more, and you can recognise certain patterns.

Confident strides in high heels; The decisive walk of formals; the shuffling steps of trainers; rubber soled sneakers pacing the same few yards over and over again; the dragging of the flat soles on the concrete; the thumping of the platforms on the pavement.

Walking sticks. Doors opening. The opening of a crisps packet. Crisps being eaten. The unfolding of a newspaper. Announcements. Jangling of loose change in somebody’s pocket. A trolley being unloaded from a train. Luggage wheels squeaking on the ground. Opening and closing of the train doors. A train horn hooting. Bottoms sqooching on benches to make room for more bottoms attached to various bodies.

Inside the coach.

Ventilation. The slight sigh of air brakes releasing. A distant horn. Plastic bags rustling. Muted whispers. Turning of the pages of a newspaper. Coughs. Somebody putting his hand inside his jacket pocket. Jackets being removed. The sound the train makes when it passes through a short tunnel. The soothing rhythmic sound of the train’s motion. The sound it makes when the coach you are in passes over a switch point. The crackle of the plastic sticker on a Coke bottle. Opening of a Coke bottle. The coach doors gently banging shut. Sniffing. The rustle of my pen scribbling across the page. Me keeping the pen down on the table in front of me. Me burping suddenly (Sorry!). People on cell phones. The cap closing on a Coke bottle. Creaking of the train coaches. Crossing a bridge over water. Gurgling noises. Keys jangling in the air. The vooshing sound the train makes when it passes a station without stopping. The ‘dede de dah dede de dah dede de dah’ sound when another train passes by the train I am in. The drivers announcements. Guards whistles. Laughter. The slow rhythmic sound when a train takes off from a station, before it picks up speed. It lasts for a minute or two, before it settles back to the soothing rhythmic pattern back again. Jewellery.

Me getting up. Footsteps shuffling to the door. Luggage wheels squeaking behind me. Doors opening and closing. The ‘ting’ of the door when it opens. Me getting off.

A sigh.

It’s amazing how many things you hear in a 10 minute halt at Southampton station, and the subsequent 20 minute train journey to Poole, if you stop bothering with everything else, and just listen to the world around you. I realised that after about the first 50 sounds or so, everything is more or less a variation on the same. So, what’s the big deal about it, you ask? So, I could hear what was happening around. But what good did it achieve? Well, it made me realise, that we have this amazing gift. To be able to listen to everything around us. To isolate every sound if we chose to and concentrate on what is happening around us. But, how many times do we actually listen?I for one had often hoped that I got a raw deal coz the powers that be didn’t give me any super human abilities. What would have been the point of having super hearing abilities, if we don’t even make full use of the some of the most basic human abilities we have taken for granted over the years.

Before that journey, I thought only Superman had the ability to isolate a sound and identity its source. For that half hour period, I realised later, I was Superman.

Try it sometime.




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