With the horrible transition of weather from bad to worse to worst, from stifling heat to scorching heat to blistering, furnace-like heat, here is a flashback that dates back to 2008.
This incident took place during a hot summer day, in Music class, after the air conditioning had stopped working, and continued to not work for the rest of that week. When we were asked by our professor to write a short piece on anything that we have learned in class that week, I wrote this:
You may think that writing a piece about the air conditioning is not relevant to music or class. However, I think it has become a topic of great importance as it is now an issue that contributes to class periods, discussions, our performance and our moods.
As a matter of fact, I think the AC’s malfunctioning has succeeded in creating music of its own.
The tapping of the feet, the rapping of pens, the waving of paper, the clicks of the phone, the fidgeting on the seats, the shuffling of clothes, the frustrated puffs of air and the aggravating whispers. John Cage would have loved our class and would have thought it the perfect inspiration and setting for his 4’33 musical piece.
All together, the students form a sort of synchronized or choreographed routine that takes place every Monday and Wednesday from 9:30 am until 10:45 am. Once you pay special attention to these movements and keep an objective eye on the students, you will find that it is truly a sight to behold. I sometimes can’t keep myself from smiling or laughing, because for the most part, they are completely unaware of their actions. Whereas at other times, they do it on purpose to try and grasp your attention and maybe tempt you into allowing us to leave early.
We take the AC for granted don’t we? It’s always there, blowing air at us, slaving for our comfort, making so much noise as it tries to grab our attention, but we only ever notice it when it stops working. It is very difficult to concentrate in class when all we are trying to do is breathe a little deeper, counting the minutes till class ends so we can get a breath of fresh cold air! (Not outside obviously, but somewhere indoors, with an actual functioning AC).
If you think about it, the AC does some astonishing things. When it’s working, every person is doing his or her own individual thing, they are either doodling, taking notes, playing with their phone, day dreaming and so on. However, the instant it stops working, everyone begins in a sort of strange, bizarre way to orchestrate their movements together, creating similar sounds and similar beats, because now, they are all feeling the same thing. So unconsciously, their bodies react to that feeling, creating a kind of performance that only someone like John Cage would appreciate.
It’s fascinating what you start to notice if you took the time to listen and observe, and the music you are able to create from the natural sounds that surround us in our everyday lives.
I realize now that Mozart, Beethoven, Handel, Bach and all the other famous and extraordinary musicians in the world don’t come close on my list to having a working and functioning AC. I don’t care if it’s loud, I don’t care if it’s tuned properly, and I don’t care how it sounds as long as it cools us off in this country’s horrid, unpleasant weather.