Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sound vs. Noise 6: I do not whistle a happy tune

We all have our pet hates - some of us, bad-tempered fellows such as me, have several. But one thing particularly sets my teeth on edge, and that's whistling.

Whistling is to me very nearly as annoying as the tinny scratching of someone else's personal stereo gouging at my eardrum. That comes simply from a person being a thoughtless twat - I suspect most of the i-Podded different drummers crowded onto the morning tube have somehow managed to convince themselves that they're not playing their music that loud and no-one else can hear it - but to whistle requires a conscious decision to foist your sound on others.

Many years ago, in another job, in another city, there was someone at work (isn't there always?) who was in the habit of whistling. he whistled in that especially irritating old man's style, which was inevitable, I suppose, given that he was an old man. Now I am in a different job in a different city, but still there is someone at work. Although he is younger than my previous irritant.

Apart from the inherent high-pitched annoyance of the tone of it, the whistler is nearly always notable for the paucity of his repertoire, sometimes not even getting to the end of a single tune, but repeating the same four or five-note phrase over and over, like a concussed budgie. The addition of monotony only furthers the pain.

Of course, being English, I'm far too repressed to jump up, make a grab for the offender's throat and throttle him wildly, while shouting "SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP!" I'm so inhibited I probably wouldn't even do it if he weren't my boss.

So I do what I must - I retreat into my headphones and hope whatever I put in the CD drive of the PC can be turned up loud enough to drown the tweeting awfulness of it all. Of course, I can d this, because it's not that loud, and no-one can hear any leakage from my headphones, can they? And so the cycle goes; man hands on misery to man.


Erin said...

I am ultra paranoid my iPod will leak sound and drive my fellow Tube travellers insane. I think I'm safe though, I test it every so often.

Anonymous said...

It is the music of the common man. No studio, no training, no unusual talent required. A sign of joie de vivre.