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(Written on the Gulf Islands Ferry)
When I put on these soundproof headphones, it’s like there is a constant pressure on my ears – especially when I’m in a public transit vehicle.
It’s like my ear canals are roads, and these headphones are boulders blocking the way. It’s not insurmountable, but it’s heavy and closed, as if they were hatches on a submarine… constantly under pressure by noise. When I am out in the city my footsteps are dull thuds, and my aural numbness translates into some kind of thickness of movement, in which I feel heavier and slower, clad in a protective spacesuit.
I am not sure if this is a comfortable feeling, not yet. I worry about long-term effects, but it’s good for times when I need to conserve my energy… when I need to shut out the world a little and not be burdened by the noise. It’s a nice, luxurious illusion in some ways… it offers me comfort, like a fluffy blanket against my head, protecting me from unpleasantness.
I remember how I almost went insane on the Granville bridge in Vancouver. I had decided to walk the entire way while darkness crept over the cityscape, and the cars, the water, the bridge, the buildings, the lights, the noise, oh god the noise… the people in their apartments, visible to the outside, the television sets blaring, the people crammed into these strange rooms open to the sky, visible to the world.
Step by step I went along that bridge, over the water. Bridges over water harbour intense fantasies of fear for me, for I fear not so much that I may fall, but that I’d be compelled to jump for whatever reason… or push someone in, like a loved one. My mind is so vivid that my fears come alive in my brain and shake me to the core, and I whimper and tremble as they snatch up my brain for an instant, just a moment. My particular worldly sensitiveness had made me susceptible to all kinds of fancies on that bridge, and I quailed from the pressure it exerted on me, from its people to its vehicles to its architecture, to its energy. I nearly went crazy crossing the Granville St Bridge, and it was a sign for me to head to quieter lands… to get away from the noise.
This protective gear for the ears is a useful gift; for times like those, when there is too much, too much for my mind to process, it would be good to have some protection… to have a barrier against the noise, against the lights. To not have to fear such urban sprawls, where there is so much – too much to feel. I think these thoughts, with the headphones on my ears, the pressure swelling and easing with every turn of my head, and I watch the ferry arrive at my destination. Sturdies Bay, Galiano Island… my once and future home. The ferry is a cacophony of noise barely muffled by the walks and floors, the surfaces. The rumbling cannot be escaped from, but at least for a little while I may have some respite.
It’s time to head down. Time to set foot on land. I go to my home again for a week. My home, for the summer.


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May 2013

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