thoughtwisps One commit at a time

stockholm soundscapes

This is a part of my attempt to write and publish more posts in 2019. I want to become a better writer and start inhabiting digital spaces that are more calm and less corporate than the surveillance hellscape of twitter and co. Maybe I’ll learn something too. The writings in this series will most likely be very raw and unpolished. This challenge was inspired by Wendy Liu’s 2019 challenge.

I just fired off the last post into bytespace, but since it is now past midnight in this new timezone I now inhabit and my neurons are still not ready to sleep, I’m going to start laying down the thought-ation for the next one.

I’m sitting on my bed with my back propped against the pillow, one laptop in my lap, another one next to me - for convenient research and quickie fixes of infotainement. It’s probably not good to bring our work to bed. In fact, it’s most likely bad, but here we are anyway.

I keep listening to the darkness of my new apartment and all I hear is the hum of the laptop fan. Stockholm in the early hours of the morning is eerily quiet. I keep waiting for the sound of police sirens and the sound of cabbies brining home late night partiers and the laughter of the refuse truck drivers and the loud footsteps of my neighbours leaving their apartment for an early shift, but all I can hear is the sound of nothing.

[time passes]

18.27. It’s dark now, just as it was in the early hours of the day when I first started this post. I’m sitting on the sofa and staring at my landlord’s bookshelf. I marvel at its strict adherence to colour coding - all of the books are organized from white, to yellow to orange, to red to green to blue and to black - ROY G BIV + the two extremes: reflecting all wavelengths of light and absorbing all wavelenghts of light. It’s the kind of bookshelf I’d like to have one day, though perhaps I’d never use colour to organize it.

The topic of this post was supposed to be soundscapes in Stockholm, so I better get back to that. Last night, when bouts of insomnia made me create this file, I planned this post to be a sort of mournful look at the myriad of sounds I heard when living in my flat in London and compare that with the quietness of Stockholm. The tone of that post - the “why did I leave” - would not be entirely honest and fair, because when I actually lived in my flat in London, I most often than not hated the sounds of London. The noise of delivery drivers picking up food from the restaurant on the ground floor of my building, the angry voices of drunk people coming home from a night out and arguing underneath my window, the sound of refuse disposal being hurled into the back of a truck at 6 am on a Friday, someone banging the door to the refuse disposal room.

Here, there is mostly nothing of that. Every now and then in the distance an ambulance passes by, but otherwise the only sounds you can hear in this apartment are the sounds of the house and its inhabitants. My neighbour vacuuming or taking a shower, someone throwing a trash bag into the refuse chute, a child crying outside, a car driving by once in a while.

But this is not what I really wanted to write about. I wanted to write about the way the world outside these four walls sounds like and how that’s different from the world I experienced in London. I wanted to mention that you don’t hear the click-clacks of expensive heels and banker’s shoes when you walk around, but the crunch of thick, sturdy snowboots on ice and snow, the rustling of thick winter coats and jackets. You don’t hear the chatter of multiple languages like you do on Piccadilly or in a busy cafe in Soho, but you do hear the birds sing. In the evening, the bells of the cathedral opposite my apartment ring to mark the hour.

I guess that’s something. Something different for sure.

Tomorrow I’ll be writing about the gradients one encounters on a journey from east to west in London.