Monday 27 December 2010

Aural (and nasal) sects

People are in one of two camps - either like it or can't bear it - background music, that is.  I'm not talking about muzak, because I can hardly believe that anyone likes that, of course.

As I said yesterday, I'm not a fan.  I listen to it if I like it, and if I don't it jars on my ear intolerably.  There was one occasion when I was in Al's shop on a Saturday.  I know it was Saturday because his then Saturday girl, Laura was there.  The Sage had just been in too and then said goodbye and left.  In those days, Al used to have the radio playing on a local station (of course, this had to end when the then government decreed that any business doing such a thing had to pay for a licence).  Whenever I was in the shop alone, it was turned off, of course.  Anyway, Travis came on singing 'why does it always rain on me,' a song I have no fondness for.  "Oh go away, you dreadful irritating man," I snapped, and then realised that Laura was gaping at me, horrified.  "Well, I can't bear that song," I mumbled.  Alex was snuffling with mirth in the corner.  "She thought you were talking about Dad," he chortled.

On the other hand, if something came on that I liked, I would be completely distracted because I wanted to listen to it.  And yet, if you are listening to something, whether music or the spoken voice, on the radio, people don't think it matters if they interrupt you.  My mother had that knack of speaking at a critical moment.  She was quite firm if I went in and she was watching something on television, I had to wait quietly until she was ready to speak to me, which was fair enough.  But if she came here and I had the radio on, she'd start talking immediately.  It nearly always seemed to be at a vital moment, when a mystery was being unveiled or a news item announced.  By the time I'd said, hang on a moment, it was too late - without a picture to give context, you had to hear every word or you lost the sense altogether.

I don't like wind chimes, either.  I find them very irritating because they are intrusive.  And I'm iffy about running water )of the 'water feature' type) in the garden.  It depends on how splashy it is.  Natural sounds are different.  Obviously, a constantly yapping dog is not a good sound (and Dave isn't too keen on our chickens squawking as they sometimes do) but normal outdoor sounds are fine.

Then there are air fresheners.  Now, if there's a bit of a whiff, then squirting around something to disguise it is all very well, I suppose, but those plug-in ones, that keep on puffing out at regular intervals are dreadful. I dreaded it when my friend Caroline took me anywhere in her car, fond as I was of her, because she had the air conditioning turned to 'too cold' and she had a dangly fruit-scented air freshener in her car.  I have no idea why, she didn't smoke, or even smell like rabbits, as Dave does.

I'm more intolerant than any of you thought.  Sorry about that.  Of course, whatever you have in your own home is fine.  I'm talking about other people, naturally.


martina said...

I can't stand windchimes either. Put a stipulation in the lease that renter could not put wind chimes out on her porch. Rental co. thought I was joking. I was not. Muzak-yuck, air fresheners--don't get me started!

allotmentqueen said...

Squirting something around to disguise a bad smell sounds very Elizabethan to me (the First, if anyone's wondering).

Anonymous said...

Oh these air-"fresheners" that dangle in cars: Once on a station I encountered a vending machine where one could grab a kind of "hose" and pump the "aroma" of these sticks right into the car. The description read to use the carpet behind the front seats. A warning "not to inhale directly" was also given.

Eddie 2-Sox said...

Asking people to pay for something they've already paid for is indicative of Rip-Off Britain, sadly.

Why can't we listen to the radio at work? The BBC channels are covered by the licence fee, surely. And commercial radio is intended to put their adverts into the workplace.

Christopher said...

Can't say I've ever felt so strongly about wind-chimes (we had some once tuned to a C maj6 chord, drives you up the wall) that I would want to take a baseball bat to them, but we never turn radio or TV on unless there's something specific one of us wants to listen to or watch. I think this outlook - and I share your views on interruption - is crystallised by those who apparently download John Cage's 4'33" as their mobile ringtone.

Roses said...

*note to self - put away wind chimes when Z comes to visit*

I love wind chimes, but don't have any in the garden. I'm lacking a suitable tree to hang them on. I'm a big fan of dangly things. And sparkly things.

I like scented candles and have one in the downstairs loo (the one the teenagers use), but apart from that, no air freshners. They always smell chemically to me.

Z said...

I do like scented candles, but then good ones are scented with natural ingredients and are fairly subtle in any case.

If there are any smells, Neutrogena neutralises them without adding its own. I've used it on milk spilt on a carpet and unfortunate dog accidents and it does work.

Dave said...

I'm not sure I dislike chicken noises. Perhaps I once said something on a bad day.

I can't have singing on while I'm working, as I need to listen to the words. I am afraid I can have classical music playing while I type though.

Blue Witch said...

Totally agree.

A GP once told me that most people's 'chronic headaches' are self-inflicted, caused by synthetic air-fresheneners.

I can't go in houses that smell of artificial air freshener.

Rosaria Williams said...

So glad to meet you! Now that you mentioned it, I hate sounds that invade my space without my permission. I want to choose my own music, my own thrills.

Thanks for the visit,btw.

Unknown said...

Ann says that some scents and nearly all after shave lotions can bring on an asthma attack.

One of the few advantages of having to wear hearing aids, is that it puts one in the position of being able to 'switch off' muzack.
And as for 'other people', didn't someone say:- 'Hell is other people' ?? although I do think that is a little harsh, and probably theologically indefensible. Ask Dave, I think he's the expert in your area ?

Z said...

It was that hen who always came around clucking loudly at the same time, you did look slightly less than relaxed after a while, Dave.

My pleasure, Rosaria, I do drop in regularly, but I thought I'd leave a comment this time. Thanks for calling back.

There are all sorts of problems that, if you don't suffer from them yourself (or know someone who does), you can be quite unaware of the triggers.

People can be hell - but we wouldn't be without them, would we?

yaya said...

Hi! I dropped over from Rosaria's blog. I work in a hospital and so we don't wear perfume because sick people might not care to smell that! I hate the smell of cigarette smoke but honestly, some air fresheners are worse! Have a happy New Year!

Z said...

Hello, Yaya, and welcome. I quite like the first whiff of a cigarette, but stale smoke is something else. Now that the smoking ban is established here, pubs and restaurants are much more pleasant places!

heybartender said...

I am usually able to drown out muzak. I have a fairly well-developed ability to block out crap (a survival technique learned from years spent working in a live music venue). What I can't seem to do, though, is drown out the so-called "classic rock" radio station that is often on in the kitchen at work. Drives me completely insane, especially since I know most of the songs very well and they get stuck in my head easily.
Wind chimes don't usually bother me, but the especially tinkly sounding ones are a bit much.
Smells, however, make me ill. I have to hurry down the aisle in the grocery to get my (unscented) laundry soap and (unscented) dryer sheets. I get a headache after just a minute of exposure. I can abide candles if, as you said, they are naturally scented. I do prefer the smell of food, though. Or coffee.