Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What I Hear

I performed my listening spree while commuting to Hunter College on the Staten Island Ferry on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 (mind you, I was sitting in the lower cabins). After hearing the prerecorded announcement stating that the ferry was about to leave for Manhattan (as I usually do when I take the ferry), I heard a constant humming noise, which was surely generated by the propellers of the ferry so it could move (I don't know much of the structure of ferries, so that's what I guessed). The doors to the outside of the ferry were open, and I could hear this rattling noise outside. That's normal for me, as I would usually go outside and see that the noise was caused by a short chain rattling against a metal post (though I didn't go outside that day). Soon, however, I heard a repetitive snapping noise. It wasn't anywhere too close to me, but judging from the sound, it must have been a person snapping to some music, given the rhythm of the snapping. It was very obnoxious (I had never encountered someone snapping so loud before on any of my commutes, and I doubt it was meant to entertain other people), so I moved to the other side of the ferry where the sound was thoroughly drowned out by the humming of the propellers and clanking of the chains. This gave me an opportunity to listen to other people on the ferry. Despite nearly being crowded, there was not a lot of chatter, so I figured that not everyone knew each other and were thus unwilling to talk to one another. But just when I thought I'd managed to get some peace, there was a rhythmic tapping noise nearby, like someone was tapping their nails on one of the seats. Just then, there was a recorded announcement saying the ferry was preparing to dock, so I didn't bother moving to get away from this obnoxious new noise; fortunately, the tapping noise ended with the announcement. The humming noise then died down, and I could hear something I didn't notice before because of the humming: a plethora of muffled songs, like they were blaring through multiple earphones. It seemed clear to me then and there that I'd found the reason for all the obnoxious noises that I had never noticed on any of my previous commutes.