Air sucked through tubes always puts up a struggle. I’m not sure why that is. It’s springy, spongy stuff, and it judders and vibrates as it is pulled and pushed, tugged like hot taffy along a poorly greased table. It’s never quiet about it. You hear it going through your nose, your sinuses, in and out of your bronchial plumbing, and all of that is loud enough. Anything we’ve ever done to extend the system, SCUBA gear, building heating and air conditioning registers, rubber pipes, copper, tin and galvanized steel boxes, just makes it all noisier. Piccolo to sousaphone to 130-foot pipes in a pipe organ.

There ought to be a way to grease the air molecules, something to slip in with the nitrogen and oxygen and miscellaneous other gaseous rubbish to make is all less sticky-tacky so I can breathe quietly. Or maybe there’s some texture, some super-slick Teflonish coating — or maybe something in the other direction, some fractalized texturing that holds the air so well it only has friction against itself, and as long as it moves slowly enough that viscosity causes no cavitation…. Or maybe combinations of all of the above.

Whatever it takes to make it quiet in my own head.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s just noise. It’s ever-present. How can I even stay aware of it long enough for it to annoy me?

There’s a trick to it.

The shape of a cavity governs the resonant frequencies that can possibly live within it. It’s the science of acoustics. Hold two seashells, one to each ear, and you can hear the differences between them. Each speaks with its own voice relaying the stories of the ocean. You can make cavities to trap all kinds of fields and physical phenomena, tuning them for the frequencies of vibrations you care to allow. Make the shape of the void right and only the right thing can fill it. And because the universe is infinite, the thing that will exactly fill the void has no choice but to appear.

It sounds like ten kinds of sorcery and a hundred kinds of bullshit, but it’s true.

The shapes of the holes in my head, the cavities and sinuses and associated plumbing, trap old sounds I’ve heard before, sounds I’ve made before, and repeat them to me with each breath. The shapes of the spaces shape the only sounds I can make. Possibly that sounds like more of a limitation than it is — you’d be surprised at some of the sounds than can come out of a clarinet, for instance. Or a rabbit. But it’s a limitation all the same.

And the sounds of the air going in and coming out — it’s an aggregate sum of all of it. Every sound I’ve ever made and will ever make. If a giant were to make an ocarina out of my skull, it would add nothing to my repertoire. I’m drowning in the white noise of it. Off-white. Colored by the individual seashell shapes I carry inside. The void demanding to be filled by the waveform that fills it exactly, unchanging.

Maybe what I need is a new hole in my head.


November 25, 2011 · by xalieri · Posted in fiction  


Leave a Reply