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I walk to work along a four mile stretch of highway 82, which necessitates some form of substitute noise. Ordinarily I don’t mind being totally in my environment, but the whoosh of traffic at fifteen feet is not the most grounding of sounds. The journey has given me a renewed appreciation for my iPod, and for fast and glitchy techno: I like listening to music that complements, rather than battles, the highway shrieks. My daily hour-long concerts have made me more aware of my aural environment in general, which is unsual for me. I’ve always been the sort who’s been able to easily tune out the sounds around me (don’t most readers develop this defense early on?), but now I find myself inadvertently listening.

I’m lucky to be in an office in which I control what I hear. There is always a low radio on in billing and customer service, and if I worked in one of those departments, I’d be surrounded by some form of music for the majority of my day. This seems a recipe for the disenchantment of sound. Then again, I’m not sure that the empty pop that’s piped into Suite C qualifies as music. In any case, my space right now is quiet. I have a hard time working and listening to music.

Over the past week, I’ve assigned myself a little project during my morning walk. I look for something I’ve never seen before. The world is full of such things; today I saw a sky blue crayon, unused, lying next to a puddle on the side of the road. I spent the next few blocks dreaming up stories as to how it had gotten there.


Do you know how much I love it here?

I spent most of this evening at a coffee shop, curled up with one of my favorite authors, and indulging in occasional breaks to eavesdrop on the conversations going on around me.

(For instance: the couple sitting next to me consisted of some sort of children’s therapist and her quasi-boyfriend, a man whom she was seeing but who, from the sounds of it, was dating other women as well. The therapist was surprisingly judgmental in her evaluations of her clients, and was also prone to swearing: her ongoing monologues were heavily punctuated by the word ‘fuck.’ The man she was with kept touching her suggestively — stroking her thigh, giving her a footrub, etc. — as he asked her about how to handle his other relationships. They were fantastically inappropriate, on so many levels. You can see how this exchange could easily have been as intriguing as any novel.)

I walked home as the sun was setting over the palm trees. I saw a man with a fishing rod on his front porch, perfecting his cast over the front lawn. He waved at me as I walked by. It was beautiful.

Now I’m supposed to be getting ready to go to some sort of party put on by the friend of one of my professors. It’s apparently an annual affair — something to do with the beginning of spring — and I’d be more excited about going if my throat didn’t hurt so badly. I can hardly swallow, and I’m worried that I’ve caught strep from one of my co-workers.

Still, though, life is good.