After a long day spent staring directly at the glowing soul-sucker we call a computer, there is nothing nicer than sitting outside, away from all of the world’s technology and hiding from the day’s problems. Going outside and hearing the wind blow quietly through the trees, maybe the chirp of a bird in the distance, can be just the cure-all you need.
At least this is what I assume. I wouldn’t know myself. I never really have this tranquility as an option.
After work today, I thought this sounded nice. It had been a very long day full of the tedium of office work. Escaping to nature seemed like a great idea. The trouble with this, though, is that I don’t live in nature. Or near nature. Unless taco trucks count as nature, it is very difficult to find either flora or fauna to marvel at. Still, I thought I would give it a shot.
I sat down on the bench outside of my apartment complex. This is as close to nature as I can really get. There is a tree nearby and it is far enough away from the dumpster to avoid the stench of rotting garbage. I took a deep breath of garbage-free air and listened to the quiet. It was very relaxing.
Then came the disruptions.
As I sat there, a plane headed to the nearby airport flew overhead. The whistling of the wind was drowned out by the sound of two jet engines soaring overhead. A couple of fun facts about that Boeing 737 I saw. First, each engine has a maximum thrust of 27,300 pounds. Secondly, that makes the following sound:
It is not, in any way, a relaxing sound. In fact, it sounds like what I would imagine the sound would be if the time-space continuum were to break.
Just as that airplane had departed, a car door slammed. It was an SUV nearby. I have been around enough to know this SUV. The woman who drives it is either deaf or unaware of what normal cars sound like. She turned the key and it sputtered. She turned it again, resulting in a second and much more alarming sputtering. Finally, the third time being the charm and all, she got the car to start-up.
Imagine the sound of a banshee. Now pretend that the banshee you are imagining is in terrible pain. He is also very sad, having just watched a double feature of “Terms of Endearment” and “Sophie’s Choice”, so he is weeping in the midst of his painful screeching. Add in a sputtering engine and you have the sound that this vehicle makes. I’m fairly certain that if she were to take it to a mechanic, that mechanic would just shoot it and say, “It’s in a better place now.”
That sound couldn’t even fade away when a neighbor on a nearby balcony opened his door to reveal to the world that he had successfully broken the record for the loudest playing of the Gorillaz’ hit song “Feel Good Inc.” Despite the title of this song, it did not make me feel good. My relaxation was officially shot when that same neighbor’s dog decided to bark at some imaginary foe he had seen outside.
Maybe like Henry David Thoreau, I should just head to the woods. As he said in Walden, “I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.” I could head out in the wild, away from the barking dogs and loud alternative rock, away from the planes and the SUVs that are clearly possessed by Satan himself. I would finally be able to find peace.
Of course the wilderness probably doesn’t get great cell reception. I may need to rethink that plan…