White noise, I think the first time any of us gave it thought, was during the first scare your pants off movie “Poltergeist.” Little Carol Ann watched a white static filled television screen and looked at us with a devilishly innocent grin.
Personally, I realized the mass marketed necessity of it on a business trip, when one of my companions produced a small box that made – get ready for this little money maker – STATIC! Okay, it also made ocean sounds, whale songs and heartbeats, which seriously creeped me out more than the damn movie. I guess white noise became marketable when someone realized the beauty of silence after electricity goes out and all you hear is the sound of mankind. Heck, why not just ask Simon and Garfunkle? They figured out that quality years ago!
In our home, white noise is a battleground, where an osculating circular blade fan runs 24/7. I have never been overly fond of fans, and having to listen to it in the back of my brain non-stop during the night, hoping not to wake up with a headache doesn’t make it any better. Nevertheless, after passing the age of 49, and enjoying personal power surges of sweat and frustration, I have become friendlier with the cool air offerings the fan hands out, along with the noise. So, as I lay here listening to the fan, it comes to mind all the life getting blocked, along with the help from high tech double pane windows we installed last year. When did static become something we prefer over life
As an original Saturday Night Live supporter, I shunned away from the new version with its foul humor and minimal skit gags. However, recently there was a skit that was neither ethnically or correctly labeled as: “Brown Noise,” which left me thankful my texting smart phone had taught me how to ROTFLMAO. The difference between Richard Pryor’s honky flavored exchange with Chevy Chase on “white sounds,” and this “soulful” brown noise, was just that – soulful. The premise was sounds from a noise machine that mimicked those heard through very thin walls in a government housing community or cheap apartment. The point that seemed lost, was those are truly sounds of life and home, filling a tired soul and offering a normal person slumber from a comfortable place – not from a growling black and white vision of static. I found it in JMHO that the show got it right. Add one of those popular plug-in oil scent machines with an apple pie or cinnamon spice and you are that much closer to a week-end at grandma’s and not Bernie’s where most of us reside after a long 12 hour day.
The show left me knowing of course laughter is the best medicine. It also reminded me there is enough static noise in my life, be it white, texted, emailed, spoken or otherwise. I miss hearing the world from an actual window, with a hint of sunshine and clouds and not version 7 with a cloud that uploads. There is something to be said about being awakened by the sound of a random telephone ringing down the street, a train moving along miles from view and the laughter or voice of a child beginning another day in a life of wonder or even a curse or two when a lawnmower doesn’t work or a dog has gone running for freedom. It appears we have all forgotten how to turn off our lives and minds, as we were intended to do in preparation for a new day.
In the 70’s when cults were all the rage it was not uncommon to hear that someone had been “De-programmed,” and had later returned to normal. As I see it being programmed is the new normal and frankly I am tired of it. I welcome a day of quiet when the white noise is just turning a radio dial across a few moments of static, to find a local symphony of sound to break the silence. People working in their yards, children playing and traffic as it crosses the lines and stops at the signs both near and far. These are the moments that our imagination builds upon and our soul relaxes with on any given day. I can’t imagine a poet giving rise to “humming motors and electric static that comes on the little cat’s feet” or “I think that I shall never see a keyboard as lovely as a tree” and Mom’s apple pie is not a pun for a mathematical equation.
Today I will make a point of identifying a perfume, locating the bird I hear singing and as always walking barefoot across the landscape of my day. When it’s time to go to bed, I will open the window and the let air refresh my body and sound in a deep breath. I hope there will be at least one star or guest planet on the horizon giving me an Elizabeth Taylor worthy sparkle. Then finding the perfect cool spot on my pillowcase textured with at least a hundred washings I’ll shut my eyes. Tomorrow is yet to appear so I’ll give it some imagination and not cut it short before it begins ,with a static wasteland.