Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ho Hum

While typing away in the wee hours, I notice a sound in my apartment and walk around clicking off switches in an effort to eliminate it, but nothing works. They stay, denizens of this insistance. The refrigerator forges a path to nowhere in the dark corner of the kitchen, defying me. Orange rectangular eyes on the outlets--some off, some on--keep watch around the apartment; the neon green modem halo above the storage closet shows that we are ever connected to the greater e-world. iAm. Outside, streetlights, unblinking, star along the no-hill horizon, well on their way to another day of perpetuity. Hooray!

And there is also our constant hum here from all of the electrical suck taking place. During the day, it goes somewhat unnoticed but, at night, Ahoy!, beneath the whisper of traffic in the distance, the sounds come out of the great sea of sand that surfaces Qatar. How many, while updating their statuses, notice their hard disks flicker awake momentarily to scan whatever hot magnetized inner storage spaces remain? And what else calls in the social networking flatulence?

They're even more intrusive outside, the sounds, where they come out of nowhere, behind corrugated restaurants and shisha tents. Turning a corner between a giant generator and a mall, they gang up on unexpected passersby in gusts of hot AC exhalant. I was noticing them a few weeks ago during a muggy walk along the deserted Katara Cultural Village esplanade, massive air-conditioning angst machines marring the midevening.

Back at home, however, when I listen closely, I can pick out the layers or different registers of sounds: hums, ticks, buzzes, throbs, rattles, pulses, vibrations, whirs. The walls get nervous and my companions turn in their sleep. When will I turn in? What mulch in the humid hang-time? What song? New sounds blossom, envelop weaker ones. I stay to listen...

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