sketchbook: Friday 2 September 2011

FRI 2 SEP 2011 9:45 am MY LIVING-ROOM

There’s a break in the racket of power-washing next door. I can hear the thrum of cars zooming by outside again, and even some gaps when there is no vehicle sound. But the power-washer compressor does keep running, just more quietly while there is a pause in the spraying. Now: the fluttery rumble of an accelerating truck, the blowhard groan of another rushing truck. And the spraying has recommenced; a swishing splatter, industrial sound like going through a car-wash. What sounds like a plastic tub being drummed by the pressurized spray.

So though my living-room itself is quiet and still, a seeming haven, the building is immersed in an agitated lake of noise, a crisscrossing traffic of soundwaves passing through the house as light passes through colored glass; modified and decreased, perhaps, but passing through nonetheless.

I’m bent over the pine Ikea coffee table, which is knotted and scarred and turning by slow degrees to a yellow-peach color. There are three remote controls, some pencils and pens, my eyeglasses, slips of paper on which I record my reading progress for Goodreads.com, the September 2011 issue of Scientific American, a small stack of DVDs, some cheap coasters of woven rush, a napkin, and the empty plastic bag that usually holds this sketchbook.

Now there’s a moment quiet enough that I can hear the wall-clock ticking. But that’s quickly drowned again by the motor-driven blast of spraying water next door.

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