If there’s one thing I love listening to, it’s the idle conversations between couples. That casually themed chatter is sometimes the most revealing and genuine to witness between a couple and I love hearing it. I spent so much time in our office last year. It being attached to the kitchen and me being attached to the couch put me in prime eavesdropping territory. My eyes were often closed and for a little while each day, I experienced life purely through sounds and every once in a while, through smells. That became some kind of fun for me. The game changes when you’re couch bound. You come up with new ways to pass the time. And your attention pays itself to things you never noticed before.
My step-dad is usually whistling when he enters the kitchen, and the last note always has a strong bravado, which is impressive, because not everybody can do it. If it’s first thing in the morning he empties the ice maker into the sink that is inevitably clogged and frozen over from the night before. It’s been broken for a while now, but it will most likely be some ungodly amount to fix it, so we haven’t yet. If anyone is in the kitchen then you can bet on Monty being in the kitchen, too, his paws lightly stepping just behind whoever’s in there… Just waiting for something edible to drop. And no matter who it is out of all three of us, we all say “Hi buddy!” when we see him, in a usually very high pitched voice. I can almost hear his tail wag back.
My mom is a softer walker than my step-dad. Her feet “slide” on the hard wood floor and I notice mine do the same thing. Maybe it’s the fibro. Too weak to pick up our own stupid feet. Marc walks with purpose. My mom sortof glides; her feet swish between steps. Sometimes she walks in a room, looks around and then squints her eyes and says out loud “Now what did I come in here for?” From my lifeless position on the couch, sometimes I try to guess. “Reading glasses. Kool Aid. Drugs.” I hardly ever get it right.
My favorite sound from the kitchen is the sound of coffee being made, but that’s mostly because I love the sound that the cannisters which hold the coffee grounds make when you open and shut them. They’re those flip-up air tight stainless steel containters, and something about the sound eases me. Then the filling of water, the pouring of water, the spoon from the drawer, and the grunting burp the machine makes as the first few drops peep their way out. I like the sounds of the whole method. And the finale; the cup clinks on the marble counter, the pouring into the cup and the topping off with cream. It’s a nice process to listen to and I never get tired of it.
But back to these idle conversations. I’m not sure precisely when I started to become so fond of them, but I really do love to hear them. Usually it’s about groceries or about who called that day or talk of how his clients are doing and how one says to say hi, says to feel better. And its usually against a backdrop of dishes being loaded or soup being made or ice being dumped or something equally mundane, but there’s something reassuring about it. Something very real about it that makes me feel like everything is OK. Maybe it’s because there’s been enough heavy stuff in life so these moments where my mom is rearranging items in the fridge and we’re talking about whether we want homemade chicken noodle soup or vegetable beef soup is something to relish. Because those are simple and pleasurable decisions to make. Ones I will never get tired of making, or listening to.
I find that it’s a habit I’ve carried with me. Now I sit in one room and listen to all the sounds unfold in another. I still love listening to couples talk about nothing. I like hearing how they greet each other first thing in the morning. I especially like when I hear a couple laugh, just the two of them. I even like to hear them argue! But the harmless kindof arguing, not the arguments that stem from not loving well. I realize this makes me a bit of a creeper, but we’ve discussed this. I put it all out in the open about my creepy tendencies when I wrote about stalking girls wedding albums on facebook that I wasn’t even friends with. Creep. er.
Anyway, I’m not writing from the office these days, from my couch that I was essentially physically attached to for so long. I’m a bit more mobile now. But I still think about for how long I layed in that room, quiet, and listened to what life sounded like. It’s funny that sometimes even listening to idle talk about soup and groceries still somehow managed to make me feel like I was part of the conversation–that I wasn’t so far from life. I still lie in rooms listening to parties or whathaveyou in the next one over. Last night I was listening to friends playing Catch Phrase, and I knew one of the answers and couldn’t keep it to myself so I belted it out. I knew the next answer too, so I belted that one as well. I heard them cheer, so finally, I got up, and joined the game like a normal human being. You can only listen to the next room for so long. At some point, you gotta crawl out of the cave. It’s something I’m working on.
Health, Happiness, Noise!