In the fall of 1993 I met my wife, Jodie. We dated for several years and eventually got married. Yet, despite being together for over 20 years, my wife never tires of issuing that familiar, heart- felt three-word phrase – “Turn it down.”
Now, admittedly, since my formative years, I have always believed that music sounded better “cranked.” And to the chagrin of my family, friends and roommates, I have always gravitated to music that resides off the beaten path. Punk, new wave and other indie music would constantly blare from my room or car. And upon reflection, Jodie’s soft, yet frequent requests to “turn it down” are a lot more suggestive in tone than my parents or roommates requests were. Nightly, an exasperated individual would storm my room and ask incredulously “Whatever the hell that is – can you turn it down or off!?” I believe that at age 14, I was first accused of supporting the music of “screaming meemees.”
However, to my defense I believe that my inevitable hearing loss is directly proportionate to her acutely heightened sense of hearing. In other words, the more I turn it down, the more she claims it’s still too loud. I’ve actually been on all fours in the rec room with my ear crammed against the speakers to try and detect any vibrations at all, only to be interrupted by her running down the stairs and demanding that I “Turn that crap down!” Additionally, her default manoeuvre when she enters my truck is to reach over and turn down the stereo volume, which is usually completed before she even reaches the seated position.
Thankfully, my love of music is shared by my 2 children, aged 7 and 11. I beam with pride whenever we’re in the truck and either or both will ask me to “crank it” when the IPod shuffles to a song they like. Conceding that she is outnumbered, Jodie is prone to just rolling her eyes at me and tolerating the one song to be played at high voltage. However, she does employ some time-tested techniques to try and thwart us from rockin’ out too long. She’ll wait until the song hits its crescendo and then ask me something in a soft enough voice that I’ll need to lower the volume to get her to repeat it. Normally, something inane and irrelevant like, “Do you think we need to replace our loveseat?” Similar in convenience to when you make a phone call and your children invariably rush up to you at that moment to ask “What does neutered mean?”
So, while I have attempted to use ear buds, (which inevitably fall out of my ears within a minute), there is still nothing as redeeming or aesthetic as the “open-air crank.” That is the way music is to be played. After all, Woodstock was hosted in an open air venue. I don’t recall seeing footage of 400 000 simultaneously plugged in hippies with headphones, so as not to disrupt the “squares and suits.” And if Max Yasgur can be converted, there’s still hope for Jodie. Speaking of which, I`d better wrap this up, as my incessant clicking on the keyboard has her already descending the stairs…