I was walking in to work from the parking building when I heard the most wonderful thing—the shuffling thwack-thwap of a person walking in flip-flops—a noise that in the past has annoyed me, but this time, I loved. It was the sound announcing that this endless winter is actually nearing its end.
I’m so ready for more sounds of summer, of golf shoes on concrete, the cry of seagulls, the clack of a roller coaster as it jerk-ticks uphill. The rapidfire “Hot-hot-hot-hot!” of the fast-footed shoeless as they race across the cement by the pool.
But it isn’t just summer sounds that trigger intense feelings in me. For instance, I love the cartoonish yowling of my cats when they’re about to engage in one of their slow-motion fueds over the sunny spot on the rug or a freshly filled bowl of Chow, but hate that wet, hacking sound of the imminent hair ball.
I love the sounds of a campfire or the grumbling of a distant thunder storm, but hate the sound of a difficult-to-open cellophane candy wrapper in a movie theater during a quiet conversation scene.
I love the clatter of an old-fashioned typewriter. The racket of geese as they’re taking off and getting into formation. The clunk of Dad’s lace-less boots, which he sometimes uses as slippers. But I hate the sound of a knife scraping across a dinner plate. And nose-blowing in a restaurant or someone constantly clearing their throat. Or car brakes that scream when your foot asks them to stop.
It’s funny that some of the sounds I find most grating are favorites for others. For instance, I can’t stand to hear a vacuum cleaner, but my boyfriend loves that same sound, finds it relaxing. I detest the artificial tinking of wind chimes, but others collect them, putting them at every corner of their yard. (And I’m forever destined to live next door to collectors.)
I polled friends on Facebook about their own likes and dislikes, and learned that Alicia Platz loves rain on a tin roof, but hates the sound of arguing.
Christa Spelock’s loves the sound of her “middle child’s laughter, because it is still honest and from his belly,” but she (like many others) hates to hear crunching, chewing or slurping.
Both Jeanne Cochran and Jeannie Wade mentioned they love the sounds of children giggling, and both also hate the sound of Styrofoam breaking.
Barbie Dallmann loves the sound of birds singing in the morning just before the sun comes up, but hates “the sound of the garbage truck pulling away just as I’m about to take the cans to the end of the driveway.”
Brenda Pinnell loves a cat purr, but hates leaf blowers.
Roland Rusty Cook loves the sounds of kids playing on the school playground after a long, cold winter, but hates the sound of an M.R.I. machine.
Mary Sloan Berry enjoys a train whistle from way off, but hates the sound when it’s beside her house at 3 a.m.
Barbara Ames loves the sound of a metal slinky, but hates just about anything repetitive, such as tapping on a table.
Sarah Shaver loves the sound of rain, especially when she’s going to sleep, but can’t stand a radio that’s not quite on the station.
But this last was my favorite, sent by Susan Bailey of Poca.
Wrote Susan, “A baby’s laughter is the most beautiful sound you will ever hear. Unless it’s 3 a.m. And you’re home alone. And you don’t have a baby. “