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The Audiophobe File:  A Safe Place To Scream!

11-02-2018 | By Editors at Positive Feedback | Issue 100

This article by Laura Lovell ran when Positive Feedback was in print. Volume 9, No. 1, Fall 2000


So screeches Inner Miss Selfishness. Actually, I didn't understand this need until quite recently, when my husband Ross informed me that I wanted one. He also told me that I am to Build A Kit, something called a "preamp."

All right. As I am always on the lookout for The Next Big Thing, this sounded fine. I love to learn new skills, and am about to take my first lesson in soldering anyway... but there was something else here, more than my usual passion for the New...something about having my own space to play really appealed to me, more so than the simple "gotta' have it " syndrome. No... no, it struck a charm with me, deep in my girlish soul, and mystified me greatly: Why the hell would an Audiophobe—a scaredy-cat of all things technical—want to create this place, why is it that I feel so strongly about wanting MY OWN DAMN LISTENING ROOM?!?

I decided to meditate upon it at once, which was very simple as I never sleep... I fall into Trances and have Visions, but never sleep. Fortunately, these Trances and Visions start at approximately 10 p.m. and last until 5 a.m., when I have to surface to feed the cats and dogs. (A byproduct of this sleep deprivation is, according to the medical community, a tendency to wander in thought and deed, but so far it hasn't affected me at all. "Three ham on ryes to go, please. No, not at all..."). 

And so I waited till 9:50 p.m., brushed my teeth and hair, pilled one of the cats, and plunked myself down on my special "Trance Pad," something Ross rigged up. It involves a couple of stiff foam pads, under which metal triangles are coupled to the foundation of the house which allows the pad to be harmonically sympathetic to the geosynchronous vibrations of the earth for her greater Aural Pleasure (this is what he tells me, anyway), topped with large squares of woven cotton and wool, all suspended on a sort of wooden frame thing he came up with. (I am glad I married an engineer type. He even made the thing big enough so he can sleep there while I trance out! ).

Anyway, I used to trance to candle as I found the scent to be relaxing, until one of the cats got too close to the flame after I had zipped out of my body, and Ross had to throw a glass of my Transcendental Juice (a concoction of Hydrogen and Oxygen that my local Guru sells to me for 8 Dollars a liter... quite the bargain!) on kitty before he got burned. So now I am forced to settle for Glade Room Fresh spray, and this Corporate Aromatherapy helps almost as good as something flammable.


And into the trance I delved. I began with the prerequisite false starts, vagaries along the pathways to greater conscious levels. The first thing I found was...myself, wandering around an abandoned warehouse. It was about 1995, and Mulder and I were investigating the disappearance of four... .[ Nope, next Vision, please].

The saltine stood proud and tall in a whitewashed sun field of primitive posies as pygmies writhed in ecstasy.. [Hey! That doesn't even make any sense whatsoever ! Are you even trying?!? Next!]

The women were sent to the hut every month for several days [carry on, this feels right!] The men thought they were getting rid of evil spirits, but the women secretly considered it a wonderful vacation from the men, the chore of raising the children, cooking for the families and keeping the living areas free of vermin. They would never let on about the joy of having this time to relax and reflect, unbothered. It was a time for a woman to get down with herself, a sanctuary to enclose herself within. A place to set back and let the vibe of life shine through, a place to listen to the song of the world around her. She would hear the sound of the crows fighting over the shell pile, or the oozing of sweet steam from the trees after a downpour on a hot humid day. (These were the days when hearing was so much better…  no loud cars or TV or radio or vacuums or Pearl Jam concerts.) It was a time to come to peace with all the things around them.

Women had time to unwind, which is why they lived much longer lives than the men, who usually died rather young; if it wasn't from falling off of a volcanic lip while trying to see what made it go, then they simply expired during the horrendously long expeditions of hunting wiowde wabbits. Shhhhh!!! (Think what you want about the romantic notion that the Men hunted Mammoths and Tigers, Facing Great Dangers At Every Turn. They avoided things with sharp teeth and claws, and went for the tiny cute defenseless furry things. Besides, whenever they hauled in a pile of minks, it was Great and Wonderful "shuttin' up th' women" magic ).

Truth be told, a beleaguered woman from long ago had started the custom of the Hut, whispering in her Man's ear as he slumbered, an early form of sublimation. She was a smart girl, and women in certain cultures benefited from this practice for centuries, until the feminists came along and ruined it for everyone. A true story: Men actually invented Feminism. No, really. They had become jealous of our days of solitarian bliss, and as a result, some fellow planted the idea into the silly head of a girl that the huts were used to keep women Submissive, and that was Wrong. It just wouldn't do. So women refused to go to the huts, pointing out that the previous rationale of isolation was no longer valid. The Old Days of Four Wall Protection had given way to the New Days of Four Wall Protection—with Wings, no less!!! (Thanks yet again, corporate America). Now all that remained was a decent, manly excuse to build a hut of their own, which came about in the 20th century.

Ah, Ah, ahha ha ha ha ha!!!! I came out of my trance, suddenly, when Ross' alarm clock started blaring at 5. The visions I'd had of the women and their lovely little huts clung to me all day. The images of the peace and openness to the vibe was clear to me, but I still couldn't figure out why this idea of a listening room was so thrilling to me... . I thought as well as I can think, and thought and thought and thought. When this failed, I wondered. When I wonder, it is the process of feeling, and it was at this time that I found the truth:

The answer… why I WANT MY OWN DAMN LISTENING ROOM, is a psychological throwback to an automatic physiological pre-memory response. It is the modern day version of that Isolation Hut. I can hear the poor feller who accidentally wandered upon this page (and couldn't stop himself from reading, no matter how horrific the subject is), saying..."That is all fine and dandy for a girl, because she, well, she does that icky thing, but we're MEN! We don't do that…thing that women do... . What possible physiocrappological reason could WE have for creating this Chamber of Sound for ourselves?" Well, feller...ever heard of Penis Envy? Guess what, Buddy? You're it! The Listening room is a response to your innate need to have what women had for so long, a room, a place to be free, and to listen to the song of life.

This is why now we as women have to be willing to pick up the soldering iron (think here a more precise glue gun, girls...), and fight for our hut, our room, a place to make our own. The men have one, we can too. Join me in learning by doing. I am about to embark upon the building of a preamp kit—join up! This Journey will either cause fire to rain down upon our heads, or the lion will lay down with the lamb. Can you imagine, in every home across America, Men with their Hut, Women with theirs? And don't think for a sec that we can share a Hut with the spouse…  remember who always gets the remote.

So I do need this place, a place to be little ol' me, and to unwind into an almost comatose form. It will have its beginnings in the common room, but Ross will soon build the Ultimate Listening Room for his wife. The only big problem I can foresee is how to keep the moisture from the heated pool and the hum from the tended buffet from pulling interference with the sound system. Well, I am sure I can install SOMETHING into the preamp as I solder her up.

Onward and Upward, my friends! To the Next Big Thing!!!

The Sun is not Yellow, it's Chicken.

Cartoon by Bruce Walker