As I find both of these excruciatingly boring, I always try to have an alternative method of sensory stimulation available.
I now subscribe to Audible, a library of audio books.
I find listening to one of my favourite authors as I drive to Nuova Lazio High School very relaxing.
Getting involved in stirring tales of heroism, massacres, blood, gore and sex, puts me in the right emotional mind-set for another stimulating day of teaching and survival. Listening to the continuing story on my way home has a similar effect.
But this method of "reading" really comes to the fore when I'm doing the boring stuff.
Ironing (Look, I'm not a complete wimp. It's just that my Beloved doesn't come up to scratch to my Army-ingrained ironing values and standards.)
"Listening" to my Beloved rabbiting on about her favourite shoes, dresses, styles and rugby players.
It was while I was vacuuming the lounge that I became aware of a strange sound.
The book I was listening to was one of W.E.B. Griffin's "Corps" series, about the US Marines in WWII and Korea. While I was listening to a description of the raid on some Japanese held islands in the Pacific, I could swear I could hear a soprano singing in the background.
|This one would stop a .50 calibre bullet|
It definitely wasn't part of the plot. I'm not completely sure about what equipment the USMC would take with them on such a raid, but I'm pretty sure a large and weighty soprano wasn't on their Table of Equipment, unless it was some form of psychological warfare or as a mobile sandbag.
But the rest of the book was being well read by Dick Hill, in a straightforward narration, no sound effects or music at all.
Where the devil was that sound coming from?
I was using an iPod to listen to the book, with a pair of Sennheiser earbuds. To cut off the sound of the Dyson I was using, I had a pair of industrial-grade ear defenders clamped over the buds, so the sound, whatever it was must be pretty loud.
A I vacuumed (or should that be Dysoned) my way into the Dining room, I tried to pick out any distinguishable phrases from the music. It was infuriatingly just beyond comprehension and it didn't seem to make any sense.
As I worked I checked the TV. It was off, as was the HiFi. M'son was on his laptop in the back family room, but I could see he was using earphones. My Beloved was in the kitchen making scones, and had the new Kenwood Chef churning away, so it wasn't her.
|The great scone making machine|
It could be the neighbours, but the nearest house was over 50 metres away, and I'd never heard any classical music from them before.
I switched off the Dyson, paused the iPod, removed the ear defenders and earbuds and listened. No music.
Put everything back on and continued. The sound/music resumed.
Hmm... Could it be some sort of heterodyning effect? An electronic feedback between the Dyson's electric motor/the iPod and the earbuds.
Time to show off my credentials as a scientist.
Remove the variables one by one and study the problem.
Step 1. Switched off the Dyson, left all else on. Music/sound stopped. Aha, progress
Step 2. Switched on Dyson, paused iPod. Music/sound continued.
Step 3. Switched off the Dyson, restarted the iPod, removed the ear defenders. No music/sound.
Step 4. Switched on the Dyson, removed earbuds and ear defenders. Music sound present and louder. Actually it now sounded more like a high pitched shriek, and it was definitely coming from the Dyson.
Hmm...thinking about it now, I realised that the Dyson hadn't been sucking at its usual efficiency.
Stripped down the hoses and attachments and finally found a NZ$2 coin wedged in a bend in a pipe. This partial obstruction had trapped a range of detritus, almost blocking the pipe completely, and creating a narrow apperture which made a high pitched whistle when in operation.
I proudly made this discovery available to my Beloved, describing the steps that my razor-sharp, scientifically trained brain had utilised, and displayed the $2 for her inspection.
She just stared at me as if I was some kind of idiot, took the coin and put it in a pocket of her apron, gave me a gentle pat on the head (oddly similar to the pat she uses on the little shit-machine (the dog, not m'son)) and resumed her baking.
It's so nice to be acknowledged.
Sometimes it's good to be a Scientist.