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Everything is amplified

Always the dedicated listmaker, I've given myself a loose set of rules to live by while I am here in Paris. I'll share them with you sometime soon. They're mostly about encouraging myself to maximize this experience and take advantage of the very short time time I have in the city.

One of those rules I'll share right up front with you, though. It's all about avoiding something I do way too often in New York: walking around wearing ear buds, listening to music.

iTune-ing it up tends to make me, in fact, tune out. It becomes a barrier--a way to disconnect and disengage from what's around me. And I know I'm not the only one who does this. But I didn't want to miss out on the sounds of Paris by having a psuedo-soundtrack pumping through white wires connected to my big head.

I've not given in once. (Okay, it's only been a week, really, but still. It's a thing for me.) In turn, my ears feel sharper, if that's possible. I'm especially noticing how Paris echoes, as if the city's architecture was built to capture sound akin to a concert hall. [See the tall curves of the post office exterior in the post before this; check the celloist above playing in a corridor at the Louvre.]

The best sounds are coming from our apartment window. Outside the flat, there is a large passageway covered in glass, which makes it cave-like-ish. In addition to hearing the enhanced click-clacks and conversations of folks walking by, I catch lots of people singing to hear their own voice echo--kind of like you might do in the shower. I especially remember a mournful song early last Sunday morning from a couple of guys who were surely still drunk from Saturday night. They were loud enough to wake me (even though I was wearing ear plugs...the only time I am allowed to do so). Yet my first thought was, “Oh, I don’t mind. Their voices are harmonizing so well!”

As I am finding and stumbling my way through my new neighborhood, one other echo helps. There is a school adjacent to our building, as well as as small park that caters to little ones and their moms and/or nannies. Their giggles and screams and glee reverberate off the brick walls that surround our tiny neck of the woods. As soon as I hear them, I know I am home. Or at least close to it.


Reader Comments (1)

I love this rule! I'm totally with you in using my headphones as a crutch. When you live in a city it's so necessary to create any sense of privacy when you're constantly surrounded by other people.

As I'm on my Midwestern sojourn, I'm finding that I use headphones a lot less. I had a moment in January where I realized how odd it was (for me) to not be wearing my headphones in the grocery store. Jury's still out on whether or not I want to hear people discuss the produce, or just shut it all out.

Can't wait to learn about the other rules!

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

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