I stood at the kitchen window staring out at a frolicking squirrel, coffee cup in hand. I didn’t hear it. I wondered “why”?
“What are you doing?” my wife asked, looking up from her book.
“I don’t hear it.”
I was already gone, walking through the house, my coffee edging toward lukewarm as the seconds passed. Her question would not provide the answer, so it was irrelevant. I ignored it. I looked in the laundry room, the bedrooms, stepped out onto the porch. Our flag whipped in the breeze making small snapping sounds. Traffic noise drifted up from the highway in the distance. But I still couldn’t hear it. I went back inside.
Later that day, I stood in the plumbing aisle at Lowes. My wife was perusing the light fixtures. I made my way up and down the aisles. Tinkering, muted conversations, the occasional robot voice asking for assistance on aisle so-and-so. I scratched my head. Something wasn’t right. The drive home was quiet. I looked over at my wife. Did she hear it?
At home, she settled in on the couch and turned on the TV. I was putting the plumber’s putty under the sink. I heard it instantly, smacking my head against the cabinet as I jerked my head up.
“Are you all right?” she called from the den.
I was. I rubbed my head. “Yes, I’m fine!” Or was I?
Let me back up a minute. You need to know this. I do not watch TV. It doesn’t hold my attention long enough and melodrama is not my thing. I am not challenged by the daily TV fare. Oh, occasionally I catch breaking news coverage, or the weather report, stuff like that. But mainstream TV evades my interest factor. My wife, on the other hand, watches her “shows” with a commitment level that only a baby boomer could appreciate. So, what does this have to do with my dilemma?
I walked back into the living room. Yes, I heard it, but it wasn’t mine. I stared at the screen. Three doctors stood around a patient. Idle chatter between them. What I heard was theirs, not mine. It was not my wife’s, either. Does she have her own? I stared at her rapt demeanor then back to the TV.
Okay…so what am I talking about? Do you really want to know? Okay….
They were talking, these three primetime MDs. About the hot nurse, the transvestite in the ICU, the range and depth of their infidelity (all were married?), the weather, STDs and the various “relationship” crises caused by them all, and on and on. Not specifically in that order, mind you. And overlaying it all was that “constant”. That one thing that I was missing.
Yes friends, the music. That constant droning of melancholy, angst, conflict, peace and wonderment. Mostly acoustic, mostly emotional. A “pop” sedative for overactive minds. Brief interludes? No. How about a nearly constant tune, artfully applied to enhance the moment. Be it tragic, sad, highly charged—it knows no bounds. It soothes and stimulates your emotions, weaving throughout the entire storyline. Just one decibel higher and it would “interrupt” the viewer’s comprehension of the dialogue. But they are clever, those sound maestros of primetime.
I fixed a cup of soup in the kitchen, the TV within view.
“How do they carry on a conversation with all that music playing?” I asked my wife with a bemused look on my face. She just turned and stared at me, the acoustics, presumably, resonating in her head. I knew that look. I was treading on sacred ground.
I backed off.
Standing at the kitchen window, I watched a squirrel (the same one, I’m guessing) perched on my fence, head raised, tiny ears attuned to every sound. Alert. Could he hear his soundtrack? Would my life be as interesting, as dramatic and adventurous, as whacky, as those standing in that operating room if I had my own soundtrack constantly playing?
But I’ll keep looking for it, that bit of cultural TV Land shenanigans. The soundtrack of my life. Maybe it’s George Strait or Alan Jackson, singing my life’s songs of melancholy, angst, conflict, peace and wonderment. In the meantime, I can always blame The Monkees. They started the whole mess back in ’66.
About the author:
Primarily a writer of southern fiction, Byron’s first novel, “Rockapocalypse: Disharmony of Justice”, is a tale of youthful dreams, adult peril, and Divine intervention by a few deceased rock icons. His second novel, Cold Currents, a southern literary mystery/thriller, is in the hands of his agent. He is currently working on his third novel, Bone Whispers,(a follow-up to Cold Currents), and a collection of short stories for future publication.
His short works of fiction have appeared in publications such as Aries: A Journal of Arts and Literature and Black Heart Magazine (e-zine).
A child of the sixties, his first viewing of The Wizard of Oz shaped his outlook of the world and erased any boundaries that could have stunted his imagination. He believes that a good tale should take you on an exhilarating adventure and leave you a bit more enchanted after you turn the last page.
*Byron is represented by D4EO Literary.
Where books can be purchased:
Publisher Website: http://www.written-world.com/WWC/book_rock.html
Amazon (short URL): http://tinyurl.com/8j95ums
Barnes and Noble.com: Coming Soon!
Other Social Outlets:
© Byron Suggs 2011