May 2008


I hate viruses. The human kind, I mean. Coughs and sneezes and earaches and wheezes.
They’re positively tedious. Although I do like the attention and possible looking-after I might receive, they hurt and are annoying – but I do like to complain and soup is always welcome.
The way I see illnesses, the ones that aren’t life-threatening in any way, is that I don’t want to treat them with antibiotics because that’s the cowards’ way out, and if I get the virus again, I won’t be able to fight it off again without the help of antibiotics a second time. The slow, progressive worsening of my immune system. To be honest, I’d rather have pholcodene linctus and honey.

But when I’m ill, especially around such a crucial time as this (exam season), it makes me sad. I’m not motviated to do anything other than sit at the computer or read. I know this time is really important for revision and all that, but I couldn’t possibly concentrate on anything substantial.

I think I’ll just collapse somewhere.

Just once, I’d like to be able to sit in full peace and quiet.

Everything that we are surrounded by, every day, makes noise. If I try to sit in silence, I end up listening to a whole array of miscellaneous sounds that distract me from relaxation and such.

As I sit here, typing at my keyboard, the racket produced from the keys is phenomenal.
The computer seems to want to say something to me, such as, “Stop hitting me you air-headed bimbo”. The electrics make the most noise, obviously. The fans and whatsits buzz and whir, making their presence felt.
My fish tank filter hums away contently to itself, propellers spinning.
The heat means that the windows are as wide open as they could be, allowing all sorts of clamour to rush in. I hear drunkards shouting to their girlfriends, screeching like owls. I hear cars trundling past, and I wonder what the hurry is this time of night.
The washing machine seems to entertain itself in the dark kitchen downstairs, whining and spinning dutifully.
Even my own mind isn’t quiet at this hour. I can almost hear the cogs and wheels turning furiously within. It worries, rationalises, ponders, thrusting foreboding messages to the front to be noticed. It won’t leave me to rest.

Just think about all the noises happening across the world. I bet there are goats and sheep bleating in a field, cats purring in their padded beds, wind turbines whipping through the air. Perhaps even a storm is destroying an important building, and a window is shattering.

But no-one ever notices that these things are going on. We just accept them and get on with our busy lives, not bothering to question why we can’t have a little time alone with the sound of our breathing.

There is always someone who wants your attention on a phone or at the door. I got a phonecall from a man wanting to ask me some questions for market research today, and I just told him I wasn’t interested. Our time is never our own, there is no way of laying down and ignoring the impact of humans on the world. Once I lay in a field in the middle of nowhere, and still I identified the rattling of a train and a helicopter arrogantly rushing past somewhere in the distance.

I don’t think even running away would solve it. The constant din of the world.
I wonder how those eastern monks, expert at meditation, manage to hone all their senses into themselves. I often wish I could block things out.

The only thing for it, is to get on with our lives. I suppose there is no use in complaining about what is, and what could be.

In other news, I had some excellent pineapple and coconut juice today, with ice cubes. I felt a little peace drinking it, so perhaps it is not only with the absence of sound that we might have quiet.

Who knows?