7:33 Saturday morning. Rebekah (16) is in the shower upstairs. (No, she's not an adolescent freak of nature. She's going to work in an hour.) I know this not only because of the hiss of the water though the pipes in the kitchen, but because the locus of her music has shifted. Her iPod dock has moved with her.
Thanks to the wonder that is iPod, she is never without her music. Dock in use in her room and the shower; earbud in at all other times.
She is not quite as bad as her brother was at that age: I'd pop my head in his room to check that he was in for the night, and see him sleeping with the earbuds in. (Pop my head in while on my way to or from a mid-night jaunt to the bathroom, I might note. It's been years since I've gone to bed later than my children.) And yes, diligent mother that I am, I'd check the volume levels. I knew from experience how much tinny drizzle I should (and should not) be hearing, seeping from the leaky earbuds. Generally I turned it right down on principle...
It was because of the brother that I made a rule: earbuds in only ONE ear in the house. One gets tired of speaking to non-responsive lumps lost in their private world of sound. Their older sister was similar, though her technology was a mere Discman.
Just as I catch myself shaking my head in dismay -- do those kids never need quiet? does she not need to ease into her day? -- I realize I was very similar at the same age. With a radio or LPs. Even though I was a quiet kid, I hadn't the drive for quiet that I do now, a near-physical need for it.
I hear Rebekah's music come on in the mornings, I tense up. It's not that she has it unduly loud. She's essentially respectful of the other residents. It's louder than I'd like in the enclosed space of my bedroom, but it's reasonable.
But it's still noise. As I sit here, there is already the hum of the fridge in the room next to me, the strident buzz of the dehumidifier in the basement. The water heater drums mildly. I'm enjoying the tick of the keyboard and the mild patter of rain outside, the occasional swish of tires down the wet street, but those other noises, the fridge, water heater and especially the dehumidifier, I could live without. They intrude.
It's not that I don't like music, but it's 7:33. In the morning. On a Saturday. I love music... just not quite yet. The ambient noise, especially that damned humidifier whining and grinding away downstairs (I really should see if it needs servicing or something; surely it shouldn't make noises like that?) is quite enough. Thankyouverymuch.
Add the bump, bump, bump of Rebekah's music, and my shoulders start to rise.
It's curious, this need for sound we have when we're young. It's not just that kids use their music to establish their identity, though of course they do, but that they seem to need to be immersed in it at all times. Is there no need for peace? No desire to be unstimulated by anything but their own thoughts?
Seems not. Seems that desire comes with maturity, mostly.
When I consider that in another four or five years I will not be receiving a morning thud, thud, thud on my eardrums, I do not get wistful for times past, I get eager for times to come. Bring on the empty nest! A peaceful home. The only music the music I choose, when I choose. Which would NOT be at 7:33 on a Saturday morning.
Meantime, maybe I'll replace the damned dehumidifier.