Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Learning to Listen

Let's just be clear. Two things are true here. One is that learning to listen to people takes a life-time and constant practice. And two, if I absolutely NEVER EVER go to another "listening skills" workshop, it will be totally fine with me.

But I'm not talking about that kind of listening. In the never-ending quest to become the grown-up in my own story, I am learning to listen to my house. I have lived in this house for 22 years, minus some travel time here and there, but I never listened to it. I relied on someone else to do that. Yet, without noticing the development, I realize now when the sump pump kicks in, or when the refrigerator starts humming, what the water sounds like in the pipes, when the furnace turns on, and a whole host of other noises that happen around a house. I'm not consciously attending to those noises, but when I heard an unusual sound last night I realized that I must have a sense of what "usual" is.

The sound I heard was nothing important. Thank goodness, because I don't know what I would have done about it if it had been important. I would tell you -and I would be right- that I have two black holes of intellectual disability -finding my way somewhere and figuring out how mechanical things work. But part of owning this house, and I do own it now, is figuring out how it works. I'm getting there.

And there's the parallel question of what do I want it to sound like. Gentle sounds, happy sounds, occasionally rowdy party sounds, a balance between people-around and solitude sounds... I need to think about this some more.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

What? Huh? Could you repeat that? I was thinking about what i was going to have for dinner...
Actually a dog is good for this stuff, because they are always alert to new different sounds and bark at them. That's their job.