Oil, tempera, and pastel on cardboard
91 × 73.5 cm
National Gallery, Oslo
I love this painting. There are days when we all feel like this. Certain things drive us crazy, and we feel the scream slowly rising to the top. We contain it, of course, but silently, inside our heads, we are screaming. One thing that bothers me is noise. I cannot tolerate noise. Some noises are pleasant and have a music all their own, such as the sound of a lawnmower on a spring afternoon or the sound of children in a playground down the street. And for some strange reason, I love the sound of my clothes dryer or my dishwasher humming away in the background. But most noises are just unpleasant and annoying.
"A noisy noise annoys an oyster."
One of my co-workers drives me completely insane. I love her dearly, but there are days when I feel a scream rising in my throat, just like in the Edvard Munch painting. My co-worker wears her plastic access pass on a lanyard around her neck, and on it she also wears the key to her desk, which she locks at the end of the day. The problem is, my co-worker has a form of ADHD and she cannot sit still for more than a few minutes. She is constantly jumping up and running around the office with the key clacking against the hard plastic access pass.
Clack, clack, clack... run, run, run... clack, clack, clack...
Last Sunday Leslie and I went to the Boathouse Restaurant for lunch. We had a fabulous table next to the window overlooking the sailboats on English Bay (I snapped this picture from our table, and yes, we have palm trees in Vancouver...), the food was delicious, the company was wonderful. Leslie and I always find so much to chat about. The noise in the restaurant was indescribable. There was some awful 1980s music playing from a tinny stereo somewhere off in the distance. The music was indecipherable, loud, impossible to hear, and didn't fit the ambience of the restaurant at all. It was probably some cheesy remix that one of the servers had brought in from a homemade CD collection. I was dizzy by the time we left the restaurant.
Yesterday as I was coming home from work, I noticed everyone on the bus was talking on a cell phone. There were all different languages, English, Iranian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, Spanish, and they were all using their "telephone voices". I could hardly wait to get home, close the door behind me, and put on some soft jazz. Today I have the dryer humming quietly in the background, the rain is pattering on my roof and on the trees outside, and it's wonderful. My ears are saying, "Thank you! Thank you!"
Am I neurotic? Probably. But, I would bet there are things that drive you crazy too. There aren't?