Early musings

I woke up today with a horrible sinus headache. One of the weird things about sinus pills is that they sometimes affect your balance, leaving you with a floaty sort of feeling. I turned on the TV, and Operation Dumbo Drop was playing. I started thinking about ears.

I remember when I was going out with D. She had two kids. One of them, G., was so much like me as a kid that it was scary. He was forever pestering people with useless trivia questions to assert how smart he was.

“How do you tell the difference between an Asian and an African elephant?” he asked.

“I don’t know.”

“Asian elephants’ ears are shaped like Asia, and African elephants’ ears are shaped like Africa” he smugly replied.

As I staggered for a moment in front of the cappuccino machine, I thought of another weird fact. My father tried to join the Army during World War II, but he was refused because he had a perforated eardrum. How ironic that a hole in his head would stop him from getting holes blasted in his head. There’s something wonderful about ears.

Ears convert time into a perceptible quantity; little bones resting on a drumhead convert the periodic waves of vibration into impulses that we perceive as sound. The unique forms of music, perceived spatially, are unique in that they have a character of duration. Unlike a graphic or visual symbol, sound exists primarily in time. But the ear is remarkable not only as a translator of this time into space, but as our way of controlling our balance, stabilizing our position in space. It does it hydraulically. When the fluid is out of sorts due to excess pressure, the conversion of frequency remains relatively stable while our sense of position fails.

Where was I?