Spin the Globe with Justin Butner

A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.

Trapped by Noise

Written 14 November

If music were this loud it would seem all-encompassing and I would consider my neighbors. But this noise is nature and there is no volume knob. Here in my helplessness to affect any change the sounds blend into one crackling hum of a background.

I’m at the IndoChine Restaurant. It is high class on a level I am not dressed for and choose not to pay for. This is the type of place I’d expect rich, white shipping company owners to dine while watching the local labor unload the ships in eras past.

How I’ve come to be here and the background noise are one in the same. I’m not sitting at a white linen-draped table. I’m tucked away against a fence at the top of stairs leading to a service basement. I’m out of sight to guests and the staff seems content with that.

Ten meters away in either direction the roof disappears and a wall of water streams down. What had been overcast skies for a few hours and a light drizzle for a while opened up to a downpour at a moment’s command. This was the nearest and only place to jump into for shelter.

The wall of sound is a consistent one if you aren’t paying attention. But trapped here indefinitely I have the time to decipher it. The large droplets hitting the red patio stones give a flat, splatting sound. Those landing on the tarp covering bags of gardening soil give a more full and reverberating snap. A steady stream of droplets on a metal vent grind with a crackle and low roar, like a hot pot boiling just before it turns itself of. Rain hitting the canvas awning is absorbed with a background low hiss that fills in the missing tones.

The full well of sound is complete, constant yet not monotone, enveloping. I sit here, stuck waiting for it to end and trying to meditate in the meantime.

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This entry was posted on November 22, 2012 by in Handwritten, Singapore.

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