13 May 2013

Do you hear what I hear?

Have you ever noticed the explosion of sound when you close your eyes?  I went to have my hair done at a nearly empty shopping center. Normally I practice my Spanish and try to chat with the beauty technician, but I decided to close my eyes and listen.

I'm working on a senses edit of my next novel  trying to add another layer to the story of the five senses. I must be a majorly visual person. I never thought of myself that way, but I find it takes a big effort to focus on elements of a scene besides what I see in my mind's eye.

When the lady started putting the color on my hair, I decided to close my eyes and listen. I enjoy getting my hair done though I am a lot lax about doing it regularly. I find someone else combing my hair to be very relaxing so I slipped into a semi-somnambulant state.

The easiest thing to hear was a baby screaming somewhere in the mall. They always scream in confined places, don't they? Airplanes, weddings, shopping centers, church. When the baby took time out, I heard a soft buzz of adult conversations, probably upstairs on the restaurant level. The foil on my head made lot of rattling sounds and the brush applying the color made a pounding sound inside my head that accompanied the rattle of the foil.

In lulls between the plastic comb and paint brush applicator clacking together ad the foil rattles, I sometimes heard music from a nearby shop. Not enough to identify a song, but the beat or a crash of symbols, a high note. In the quiet there is also a big echoing sound of air in the mall. I suppose it's just the big enclosed space sound a whoosh of air and motion.

When I slipped deeper and concentrated harder, I could hear the purr of a motor. It reminded me of a quiet house when the refridgerator kicks on, but it's a beauty salon and there are no refridgerators. I can't really identify that sound and if I don't concentrate on it, it disappears again from my consciousness. I smell the strong smell of the ammonia in the hair color and  maybe a hint of food from upstairs. Even the scents are more notable with my eyes closed.

The other girl in the shop moves some chairs and they make scootching sounds against the tile floor. Like they think I'm really asleep, she and the lady working on my hair exchange a quiet mumble that I don't catch all of. Something about sharing something, food maybe?

I hear voices nearer probably of people walking nearby on this level and the occasional race car sound and motor from a child's ride in motion.

So a quiet shopping center with few people in it actually turns into a cacophony of sounds when you unplug your brain and your eyes and listen and smell. So what can you hear?

1 comment:

  1. That's a great idea to try! I've done that around the house, but not much in public because there aren't many scenarios where you don't look odd with your eyes closed in public. I did try that a little at the beach a month ago and was surprised how much focus it brought to the conversations of people walking by.