Life's a buzz

If life’s a buzz, we’re all frequencies. When life puts the clamp down, like some giant bulldog clip, what frequency are you?

When the tension’s on, I’m a Japanese motorbike at full throttle. It’s no good. No one likes having to veer out of the way when a motorbike rounds the blind corner coming into the staffroom. The vibrations shake my bones loose, and even when I’m stationary my ears ring with that high-pitched woo...

Then I meet people with coils strung so tight they operate at an intensity bordering on explosion. At best they’re like a mosquito, or a camera flash capacitor charging—you know the sound, the same as in the movies when the bomb or mine is about to go off. At worst they emit beyond the audible spectrum; they up the treble until they’re like a dog whistle, roaring a blind, paralysing squeal so intense it’s silent.

The beauty of the people who vibrate at this kind of frequency is that by contrast they make me feel calm. Their absurd intensity makes my Japanese motorbike seem like a skateboard on a holiday. Such is the subtle beauty of contrast—you’ll seldom find yourself at the top or the bottom of the scale, there’ll always be someone more unfortunate to compare yourself to. Feel sorry for these people. Be nice to them. Just don’t become one.

I envy the people who just hum. They seem just out of my slightly high-tensile grasp. They are a measured, wavering bass note floating on the breeze, beer in hand.

But it’s the interaction between these different frequencies that makes life interesting. When they are in harmony, just for a moment the clouds clear at the top of the mountain. Everyone pauses. Cup of tea break. The opposite is also true—some sounds shouldn’t be within earshot of each other. These are the discordant friends you don’t invite to the same party—although sometimes one gets wind that they weren’t invited, and they ask why in front of the one who was invited, and it’s really awkward.

My goal is to drop a few gears on the motorbike, maybe even trade it in for a scooter. Anything low maintenance that won’t wear out too quickly. Maybe one day I’ll learn to ride a surfboard, and just be carried along with the waves.