Columns

Listening in 2016.02.10

on . Posted in By The Way

By DAVID GREEN

I’ve been eavesdropping on someone for the past hour while having lunch at work and it’s been fairly boring. Apparently it’s not a very exciting life that I lead.

Yes, it’s myself that I’ve been snooping on.

I have a voice recorder that I use at meetings and I discovered a couple of weeks ago that I accidently recorded my life for 11 hours, 32 minutes and 22 seconds. 

It starts off with a very rhythmic sound that reminds me of the noise at the end of a record, for those of you who remember record players.

 It makes me wonder if I was walking from the city council meeting back to the office Jan. 28. Maybe the recorder was accidently started when I put it back in my pocket at the end of the meeting.

I’m listening more closely now to the start. Now I think it happened as I walked home from the office late Monday. I must have pushed the record button as I put it in my pocket, then started my rhythmic walk home. 

Fifteen minutes into the recording I made a voice-to-text message for Colleen at the library. After that there’s not much beyond sniffing and sighing and then finally, 17 minutes in, toothbrushing.

I remember now. That was the night I stayed at the office until nearly 1 a.m. 

Not much happened overnight. Fortunately the recorder was left downstairs and my snoring was not captured, although I am curious to know how disturbing it might sound.

If I listened to the remainder of the night, which I am not about to do, I would eventually hear Colleen come home and brush her teeth.

Fast forward to the morning and I hear myself make a couple of voice-to-text notes, then it goes silent while I’m showering. I return to my pants and hear the loud static while putting them on, since the recorder is still in my pocket.

Eventually the microwave turns on with my oatmeal inside. Do I whistle while preparing breakfast? Certainly not. Wait a minute; I hear it happening. I’m pleased that I am in such good spirits for a Tuesday deadline morning; I’m disappointed that I don’t recognize the song.

There’s throat clearing, too much sniffling, an occasional cough. I hear the glass container of turmeric being pounded on the counter—soft enough not to awaken my wife above, yet hard enough to shake loose some of the spice that has hardened at the bottom of the jar. Yes, it’s for my oatmeal.

I find the occasional conversations with myself only slightly disturbing. There’s a little laugh every now and then, apparently from something I’m reading. I must be running late because it sounds as though I’m eating too fast.

More toothbrushing, another rhythmic walk to work. I must have removed the recorder from my pocket when I arrived and then gone out in the back part of the office to talk to Kim. No conversation was recorded; only the background sound of the furnace is present.

Soon I’m at my desk and really attacking my keyboard. Or maybe it just sounds that way because of where the recorder is located.

I recognize an occasional grimacing sound at my desk. Difficult sentence structure? Tuesdays aren’t easy. We accomplish an incredible amount of work on those days. 

Address labels are printing. That’s very unusual for Tuesday morning, but I remember. It was the week we sent out those overdue notices for subscriptions. Have you received one? It’s usually bright yellow paper showing a crying woman asking, “Is this the end?” The text urges the reader not to get huffy. It could be our fault and we’re willing to get things straightened out.

But some people do get huffy when they receive one of those notices tucked into their paper. That’s usually when it’s our fault.

Kim and I have an occasional conversation when she visits the front office to see if I’m still standing. She probably hears the heavy sighing above the sound of the furnace. Perhaps the feeling of excessive toil moves through the air.

I’m typing away and then the recording cuts off. I don’t know if it ran out of space or if I suddenly discovered what was going on.

I kept hoping something interesting would happen, but this wasn’t a very interesting eavesdropping adventure.

Don’t bother following me around. It’s a pretty boring existence.

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