The music of the microwave,
Is humming in a lazy way.
A drippy sink provides the beat.
The body starts to sway.
Percussion is a toilet flush,
A stroking brush,
The clatter of a shattered bowl,
The instruments of daily rush.
It's in the air conditioning,
If only we are listening.
It's in the creaky wooden floors,
Just hear the way they sing.
To some this stuff is only noise,
The kind of thing that just annoys,
But I hear only music
And the sounds of daily joys.
The modern world is a noisy place, but we don’t have to let that be a bad thing. I was watching Star Trek the other day and I noticed a few things I hadn’t before. First, the ship went to yellow alert and I noticed how obnoxious their alarm is on the ship. I don’t know why I never noticed that before. The camera also zooms in and out and people scurry around to emphasize the blaring alarms. It seems like the jumpy starship captain throws that alert switch at pretty much any provocation and suddenly everyone on the entire ship is woken from naps, interrupted in conversations, startled into missing the toilet, and generally thrown into a panic. They never complain to the captain about it, even though most of the situations end up resolving in a few minutes with or without the sirens. As soon as this particular yellow alert subsided and my blood pressure went back down, I started to hear the other sounds on the ship. There were beeps, dings, clicks, buzzes, engine hum, and a multitude of other technology nuisances making their presence known. I thought, “the future is pretty annoying”. You’d think they could design their fancy ships to be a bit quieter considering the fact that they can recycle matter into any food they want and travel, create fake gravity, and travel between stars in a few minutes.
They next day at work, I realized that I’m pretty much living on the Starship Enterprise. As soon as I pulled my headset off at the end of a meeting, I heard the humming of my computer’s processor and its swishing fans. They person in the cubicle across from me was typing furiously and generating a steady click-click-click. The air conditioner kicked up just then, adding to the caucophony and something started beeping for seemingly no reason at all. There were a dozen other sounds all competing with each other, and I had been working in this crazy noise-fest without even noticing. My world was suddently a very distracting and stressful place.
My 6 year-old doesn’t see things the way I do, and that’s often a wonderfully good thing. This poem actually came about because of an experience when it was just me and her cooking lunch. She was swaying back and forth and moving her shoulders up and down in a rhythm with a great big smile on her face as she waited for a frozen burrito to finish cooking. I asked her what the dancing was about and she said, “I like the microwave music”. Music. A good perspective on what I would have called “Star Trek noise”. The world is what we make of it, so let’s make it something good. Enjoy the music of the microwave and the toilet flush percussion. If it wasn’t there, we’d probably miss it.