Sounds and Time Keeping

“My friends here have stories to tell and they do so freely if anyone would listen. The stories pressure them to be released and when they reach the air sound like poems read backward, scrambled in syntax, terribly rich in imagination. No one in his right mind could make this stuff up. Their stories have no beginning, middle, or end. This pleases me greatly. Mine don’t either. My friends are young and old as are their stories, and as they repeat their gestures over and over— washing hands, wiping door handles, reading the signs in the hall full voice, chin jutted in air— nobody minds. Nobody bats an eye. The nearby church bell is tolling now and I am sad. It is the weekend and some of my friends have been forgotten by family. It is All Soul’s Day; they are lost.” —The Nuthouse Diaries ©2010
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The ambient sounds from the corridors and from outside the clinic, such as the church bells, were a guide for the writer as to time of day, the day of the week.

    1. Shoes through the corridors. The nature of each sound indicated which kind of shoe was being worn and who was wearing it. Nurses wore clogs. Patients mostly slippers. Doctors (mostly women) wore boots.

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    1. Some sounds were attached to certain of the other patients. Mina knocked 5 times on each door before going out on her imaginary dates.

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    1. The nurses locked and checked each door twice before lights out at night.

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    1. From within the writer’s room, the sound of doors opening and shutting was a constant.

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    1. The sound the table being set for meals marked time very accurately as breakfast, lunch and dinner were served at the same time each day.

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    1. The sounds of the television was constant as well. It stayed on all day until lights out.

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    1. The walls were thin between each apartment. Toilets flushing, taps running, showers taken were clearly heard between rooms.

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