Monday, December 10, 2007

The Sound Of Silence

I had a really weird experience the other night. It was Sunday night / Monday morning and I woke at around 2.00AM. I did what all men do when we wake in the night, I went off for a pee, scratched my balls a bit, that kind of thing.

Then I climbed back into my bed. After some time I realised that I wasn't falling asleep. You know that sensation when you realise that sleep is not forthcoming, when you become conscious of the struggle to lose consciousness. Then everything gets magnified, every movement feels big, every itch feels like it the biggest one you've ever had, every tiny sensation in your body gets amplified and accented.

My Grandmother used to tell me that the easy way to fall asleep was simply to feel every part of your body relax and then just drift off. Well I loved her to bits, but that's one of the least useful bits of advice she dished out. She never explained exactly how to do that hard part; to actually relax.

But there I was, aware of not sleeping, aware of every speck of light shining into my bedroom, aware of each little spark of electricity running through my body. I wasn't plugged into the mains or anything, that was just me trying to be a bit poetic, sorry about that. I played with my new alarm clock, the one that projects the time on to the ceiling. Even a highly tuned and inquisitive mind like mine gets bored with that after a while and I did.

That's when it started. The whole "am I ever going to get to sleep?" thing. When you worry about the few hours left before the alarm actually goes off, when you begin to think that you might stay up for the rest of the night. When you know that you'll actually fall asleep but it will be about four seconds before the alarm clock goes off.

Then I listened. I was startled. This was in Teddington, the heart of suburban West London. There's a main road that is about fifty yards from my house, there's Heathrow, a reasonably large airport, nearby. There's a railway line within earshot and a chavscum house just opposite that's always got some kind of wife beating or fatal commotion going on inside or outside

I heard nothing, absolutely nothing, not a sound. Not a dripping tap, not the distant rumble of a bus nor the howl of an angry wind. It had been raining all night but there were no raindrops falling on the window.

You know, some people inherit skills and intelligence from their parents. Like Malaka Silva or George W Bush, who have clearly picked up their coveted intelligence and supreme diplomatic skills from their respective fathers. In my family we've got Academic Bro, who got a huge amount of brain power and boy band looks from my Mum, who is often mistaken for one of the chaps from Take That. Then there's Music Biz bro who got more than his fair share of dancing skills and sporting prowess from my Dad.

None of those nice but totally useless attributes fell my way though. Oh no, I've been the lucky one, the Jose Mourinho of the family. I got a skill, a talent that astounds and amazes people, that will always stand me in good stead in life, no matter what tragedy may befall me. Like Harry Potter or the Incredible Hulk I sometimes don't even know when my power will reveal itself, particularly as I get older. Yes, I can rustle up a good loud fart at a moment's notice as if from nowhere, a talent I definitely get from my Dad.

I tell you that merely to illustrate the stillness, the silence and the tranquility that prevailed. You see, even I didn't want to fart. The night was so quiet and so still that it felt as if one trumpet would cause most of the residents in my road to pound at my front door and complain, in very hushed tones, about the noise.

Except the chavs from the chavscum huose opposite of course. They're not bothered by noise and, in the very unlikely event that they had been, they would have just torched my car, or stabbed me. Or both.

All I could hear was total silence and I felt engulfed by it. I've never been aware of a moment like it before, but as a drummer that may not be too surprising. I don't know why but it struck me and startled me. I know I've woken at that time of night many times before and I can't believe there's always been background noise.

I listened to the silence for a while, the novelty wore off and I started to get annoyed at not sleeping again. I remember looking at the red numbers on the ceiling at 3.30 and thinking that I'd be up in just over two hours' time. Then I must have fallen asleep.

As predicted the alarm went off about four seconds later. There was a lot of trumpeting to be done....


ravana said...

I really enjoyed this post. Hilarious!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Thanks Ravana.