I bet it’s the sounds of the city that drive people crazy.
Not the hours spent in traffic or constant trudge, robotic, staring at screens, to and from grey jobs.
Honestly, lying in bed in the morning, blocking the sunlight, forlorn at the thought of leaving my warm bed – overly excited birds squawking in a desperate preparation for a chaotic day of flying, cars braking over and over, the bin truck heaving and gasping to and from the curb and the faint ocean sounds fighting their way into the noise mill.
These sounds are ok, just like the blend of voices at the train station, a man dressed in a reindeer outfit standing behind a tree, an old blues guitarist dressed in a faded flannelette shirt loses himself on the corner and the sounds of car horns, buses stopping and starting, different tones of different languages drowning out the distant announcement of different trains on different platforms.
These I can stand. Like in fact. A noise blend that gets me feeling all cultured and makes me want to go home and draw multi-layered comics about being vegetarian and wearing recycled clothes.
It’s the small sounds that get you. The old lady, tanned face, eyes drifting in and out of an uncomfortable doze on the bus seat behind me slowly chewing gum. Intermittent clicks creeping from her mouth directly to my eardrums.
The young guy in the suit a little too big flicking the pages of his newspaper a little too aggressively. Page after page, catching on his coat corner, politics, world news, sport, classifieds. The train quiet, the lights turned down a little late at night. His newspaper, vibrating straight into my brain. Over and over.
The smalls sounds, too many of them, the kind of sounds you cannot tune out to once you’ve tuned in, slowly chipping away at your insanity barriers.
I can imagine that one day you’d just snap. Inject a whole lot of heroin into your arm and hold up a servo wearing a balaclava your grandma knitted you and and a plastic gun you bought at twenty-four hour K-mart, run out with a few gold coins and all the tick tacs at the front counter.
Or maybe lose your mind to the hyper-realism of TV and and stay inside your dingy lounge room, gradually adding more and more stains to your carpet, wearing nothing but underwear, blocking out the noise with the volume up too loud, buying shit off midday add shows – raffle tickets for nice houses in shit locations and highend blenders that they sell by blending an iphone before your eyes. Instagraming from that time you drove up the coast and hung out near a waterfall you didn’t jump in because the weather was too cold but looks good with the quality filters on your newly updated app. Until, eventually you materialize, pasty and covered in acne, resembling an overweight Creed Mctaggart after a big Friday night, cowering in the sunlight like a child cowering under smack on the butt after stealing the cupcakes from grandmas kitchen bench.
Only to be forced to confront the choices before you – ditch the city and move into the slow paced cobweb of a small town somewhere close to a famous beach, close to the city but not too close, drink yourself into a sleep you never wake up from or keep going until one day the barrier breaks.
Your mind becomes different. You become different. People say it’s crazy. It’s just a paradigm. A paradigm so concrete that you end up as that guy yelling at the pigeons by the dumpster about field mushroom pizza that people walk by a little too quickly.
The city, in all its crazy, makes me understand things a little different. I’m glad I’m here. humility in anonymity, inner strength in loneliness. A new appreciation for connection and an ever continuous call to the sea.