By Jane Bauer
Take a deep breath.
Close your eyes and listen. What do you hear?
As I write this, I hear the odd car driving past, the squawk of parrots in the tree outside my window, the clicking sound of the fan. These are the sounds of my life.
The Global News Podcast from the BBC recently came out with a new weekly show called “The Happy Pod”, which includes uplifting stories from around the world- giving listeners a break from the war in Ukraine and the violence in the Sudan. A segment of this show asks listeners to send in their favorite sounds and the answers have been rather surprising.
Someone from Rome sent in the sound of his Vespa starting, a guy in New Zealand sent in the sound of his dog drinking water and of course people submitted the sounds of their children laughing, giggling, cooing. A woman from Buenos Aires sent in the sound of the knife sharpener’s whistle that announces his services. On the latest episode there is a student in China who loves the sounds of his old fashioned typewriter and an Indian woman who shared the sound of the birds around her home in Bangalore.
Favorite sounds aren’t something we often contemplate. We ask about favorite songs or music but rarely do we consider the hum of the background soundtrack, unless it is an annoyance. According to The Telegraph, a newspaper/publication in the UK, the most popular favorite sounds are:
Waves against rocks
Rain against the window
Treading on snow
Living in Mexico you learn that different cultures deal with background sounds differently. In my experience, Mexican culture is very tolerant of noise compared to Canadian culture. After years of living here I don’t even flinch when a neighbor blasts reggaeton at 3am or the early morning sound of mariachis singing “Las Mañanitas” for someone’s birthday. By contrast I have heard foreigners complain about barking dogs, chickens, birds, music that is audible past 10pm and the calls of street vendors. To that I think of the words of fictional pirate Jack Sparrow “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”
We must embrace the symphony and cacophony of life to live harmoniously. While it is important to stop and smell the flowers, it just as important to listen to the hum of the world.
See you July,
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