Life’s funny. Sometimes a little thing happens to remind you of a bigger thing that carries the same pattern, and for one second there you halt and take in the staggering blast of the sudden analogy, the crystal-clear revelation, the hidden network of resemblance, pattern and connection that cloaks the universe. And then you go on with life.
Today’s the 5th. I woke up at half past five. Don’t take it that I usually do, but today I did, for some reason that’s none of your business. So it had been raining, and, you know, that always releases the special Raintenalin hormones (unique to me, and a few others on the face of the Earth), so I was — am, that is, it’s 6:02 now — generally in a good mood. I decided that whatever it was that I’d had to wake up for — yeah, right, the one that’s none of your business — could wait for an hour, so I decided to boot the computer and have another look at my nice new Live Space, and maybe do a bit Nothing, which I usually spend a lot of my time behind.
Mom and Dad were asleep downstairs. I didn’t want them to know I’m online before I’ve brushed, so I decided to quietly start the machine.
The quietly version goes like this: sound volume— zero. Main switches on. UPS on with the little amazing maneuver I’ve discovered that avoids the earth-shattering beep it makes when everyone else turns it on. The next step is the power button, and there’s never any problem with that. (People, everything I do, I do it best. Ahem. Even Nothing.)
Just when I’d turned the UPS on, the power reached the monitor with that eerie zwang that you can hear when you degauss it. I swear, I’ve heard the sound before while booting my computer, but never one that echoes for a few seconds. I realized beneath my active consciousness how quiet it was.
Next came the power button. And I’ve never in my life heard a fan as loud as that. I mean, yeah, I always know it’s there, but I never really do. Like the sound it makes gets fed into a tiny little box at a corner of my head and then it’s disposed of, letting the other, more important cycles continue. And only the vibration of the walls of the box as the sound reverberates through it can touch my active mind, and that’s such a minute impression that I feel nothing at all.
I wonder how many sounds I’ve been missing. How many sights, and smells, and objects I’ve turned a blind eye, deaf ear or <insert name for malfunction of olfactory senses here> nose to.
I wonder what would happen if all sounds cease and all the sounds of the world around me are fed one by one, in turn, to my head, in deathly stillness. Would the process ever end? Do I know what sound exactly the traffic is making outside now? Do I hear the rainwater falling? Am I aware of the sound of my own typing? Hey, that’s a bird right there. I heard that. For a fact, I’ve been hearing that for the past few minutes. Never knew…
I wonder what would happen if all people, all society, all of friends, family, fun, school, studies, home, love, all interaction, everything should cease at once, everything that keeps me busy, occupied. Yeah, even Nothing. What would I grow aware of then? What sounds will I be able to hear that I never even knew existed amid the hullabaloo of life? What interaction will drift to my consciousness, ever-present, never-recognized?
Is it the sound of myself? Is it the smell of who I am and of the world within? Is it the interaction that reaches from me to the far beyond into the darkness to touch the Meaning of All with a fingertip? Is it me that I never heard through all my life? That I never knew existed? Only a familiar word used in self-referential sentences, a reflexive pronoun, never bothered about, never prodded, left alone to itself, until all sounds cease and it has to come and stand before me naked and tell me who I am. Tell me what I knew all along but was so occupied with fun, family, friend that I never knew…
It’s gonna be a bad day, that one.