role reversal

in a neat role reversal my adolescent youngest ticks me off for playing music too loud.

Antisocial and aurally destructive, it seems. Though this might be an isolated example, illustrative purely of the need to practise, to demonstrate, adulthood, which surfaces on an apparent random basis throughout the teenage years, it might prove part of a wider pattern if other examples are counted.

I’m not sure if this illustrates the relative maturity of my children, my immaturity, or a perverse spin off resulting from long term health problems—I frequently have to acknowledge the pressure to be a carer of some sort that my illness places on my children.

A different emotion was produced when my wife burst in to complain of my antisocial volume while I was basking in the surprising decibelage that three cheap PC music extensions rigged to fake surround-sound can produce at full whack—every now and then I allow myself to risk damage to my hearing by pushing the boundary of good sense and taste in order to produce an anaesthetic effect unavailable through other means, useful when all else fails to quell the neuropathic fires. I normally reckon half an hour will not dissolve too many of the microscopic hairs that are necessary for hearing (so I read somewhere on the back of matchbox at a party) but I push to an hour if I’m desperate.

One time I tried to reach appropriate volume with the car stereo on a long trip and my son called out in panic that the floor was vibrating, the car was falling apart, as his feet bounced up and down, after yanking out his own earphones, or course… Another time, when in unpleasant opiate withdrawal as I switched medications, I rotated The Pierces 3-4 albums at 95% full volume on my phone for two or three hours while staggering around a seaside town like an overweight half-crippled junkie. That’s about the longest stretch I’ve subjected my aural passages to.

I appear to have constructed an entirely unscientific theory in my mind that listening on earphones is more dangerous than through a stereo so I have an urge to batter the moderately peaceful mix of lower and upper middle class and aspirational lower within reach of my cabin’s cobbled together sound systems for longer periods than my wife considers neighbourly.

Also, being unable to sit for the periods necessary for modern films without screeching in pain, at least internally, I tend to watch films at home, producing a more cinematic experience through a barrage of noise—preferring action films, where you can feel each chop of the helicopter blades bounce your internal structures as someone swoops in to save the day, or end it. Heavy duty scores are a must, the as faction films so often play out the credits with a muscle band, that too is appreciated, a grand pain reducing finale. A by product is the concentration on the film produced when all communication must be shouted.

My wife offers utter incomprehension as a response to nearly all of these tendencies, having never been known to listen to a track of music for the past two decades…

This I can understand, to a degree, as my illness obviates appreciation of music for months, years, at a time, yet when I have the opportunity, ability, to listen, I end battering my senses more with noise and such emotion produced is more enjoyed as relief from physical pain, as the substitution of vague emotive anguish you left me baby, I wanna die seems a pleasant relief after decades of neuropathic torture.

I do wonder what the makers of this music would make of this application?

The strangest thing, perhaps, is that I can produce almost the same result through listening to Buddhist chanting—chanting myself is effective only for a short period, as I can’t bring myself to attempt chanting lying down.

Rolling through mantras while using a mala is good for quiet, relaxed, pain control. But although there’s the added self-satisfaction of a feeling of spiritual progress the subdued emotion and the lack of bass pumping through the gut renders the remedy less than satisfactory.

Being non destructive of hearing and a spiritual practice it should be self-evident in its superiority, yet I persist in my tendency to crave the inferior. Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor, as Ovid had it.

As I seem to want to ape an antisocial teenager for the odd burst of Indie. I’ll have to live with the teenager’s complaining and hope the neighbours have already deafened themselves beyond caring.


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