Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The sounds of bliss

One of my housemates is a born-and-raised Southern boy.

That means he's required by law to deep fry at least 60% of his food and cover the remaining 40% with butter, bacon, sugar, salt, or some combination of all four.

After a bacon-wrapped meatloaf incapacitated him for 24 hours, I took pity and offered to make a batch of healthy stuffed peppers with lean ground turkey and oodles of nutritious veggies.

He made a giant batch of french fries to accompany it.

I felt my arteries hardening as he dropped the fry basket into the sputtering grease, but he just sighed with pleasure.

"That's one of my favorite sounds in the whole world."

In a weird way, I could relate. Though the sound of hissing grease makes me mildly nauseous, there are certain sounds that give me instant bliss. I was reminded of that just the other day during a frantic morning of edits and emails and so many deadlines I had to wrap my head in a towel to keep it from exploding.

In the middle of it all, one of my cats hopped on my lap, turned in a circle, laid down, put his paw on my arm, and began purring loudly.

It was the auditory equivalent of Valium, and improved my mood by at least six-million percent.

In no particular order, here are some other sounds that have the same effect on me:
  • Popcorn bouncing around in my air-popper
  • My dog sighing in her sleep
  • My mom humming while she performs mundane household tasks
  • Friends cracking up over a shared joke
  • Rain pattering on my back deck when my window is open on a warm summer night
  • A hot guy singing cheerfully in the kitchen while cooking me breakfast
  • Birds chirping in the morning
  • A favorite song I haven't heard for years that randomly pops up on my iPod
  • Any combination of moans, sighs, or pleasure-prompted gasps (I should specify that's only when I intend to elicit that response from someone, though I do enjoy a good prank call as much as the next girl)
  • Water in almost any form, from a rushing river to ocean waves to the taps running in my tub
I'm sure there are a million other good ones, but those are my favorites. What sounds are guaranteed to give you instant bliss? Please share!

I'll be waiting by the phone in case that heavy breather calls back.


Jen J. Danna said...

I've got a couple:
* I'll join you on the summer rain though an open window and song bird twittering in the morning
* The sound of a really good thunderstorm (preferably during the day so I can watch; I love a good thunderstorm)
* The mournful call of a loon first thing in the morning over a still Ontario lake
* Any song that takes me back to my teenage years

Sarah W said...

*I second Donna's thunderstorm.

*The crack and hiss of a diet Pepsi bottle as one opens it. Especially the first one of the morning.

*Cello music -- from classical Bach to Apocolyptica.

*My four-year old singing "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night.

*"The Trout" by Schubert because my mother used to play it at bedtime when I was a child. It makes me feel loved and safe.

Patrick Alan said...

I'm sorry I haven't called every night, but I always assume if someone puts their phone number in their email signature they want me to call at odd hours and breath heavy and sometimes pant.

Glad to know it is appreciated!

Patty Blount said...

A baby's belly laugh.

A compliment. Any will do.

Bird song through a window left open all night because it means the weather is getting nice. ;)

Like your phone call, the sound of a car horn while I'm taking a walk. Not a full-out blare, just a little tap. See 'compliment', above :)

Teri Anne Stanley said...

Gosh, I can think of a few sounds that are bliss-inducing, but even more that send that twitchy shiver thing down my back:

My boss's "Good Morrrrrning!"

My son on the other end of the phone...not every time, just the "Hey, Moooooommmmm?" call that precedes my involvement in some sort of drama

The dog loudly pretending that she hasn't been fed, even though we were all there and witnessed the delivery of food...

Thunderstorms and waves crashing and brooks babbling are soothing, as long as it's not during a 5 a.m. dream when I still have an hour to sleep!

Summer Frey said...

Hey, now not all Southerners cook like that. Though I do make exceptions for fried okra...

I love the sound of a Georgia summer night. The cicadas and frogs and crickets are pretty much deafening. That's a sound I can hear through a wall or a window and instantly conjure what it's going to feel like outside--still baking hot, even though the sun is down, and so sticky humid that you'll instantly be covered in a sheen when you step outside.

I also love the sound of my cats purring. Each one is so unique--I can tell who's snuggling me at night without opening my eyes or petting them.

I also like the sound of my coffee pot gurgling as it starts to brew.

Unknown said...


My children's laughter.

The sound of my parent's voices in harmony as they sing.

The little "hmmm" sound my hubby makes when he's happy.

Wind through trees.

Waves crashing on a shore.

The roar of an engine so smacked full of power the car rumbles beneath you.

A baby cooing.

The creaking of an old book spine when you open it.

This is fun...I could go all day :)

Danica Avet said...

Ooh! I have some!

My dog smacking her lips and sighing before she falls asleep.

The sound of water lapping against the boat, the soft cry of birds, and the splash of redfish chasing minnows when I'm out fishing.

Rain beating down on a tin roof.

Music, music, music.

The hum of the air conditioner in the middle of the night.

The clicking of keys when I'm riding the creative wave.

The almost painful purring of my fat cat when she's very happy.

Just thinking of these things put me in a very zen like mood. Thank you, Tawna!!

lora96 said...

Fountains, streams, rain, ocean waves

The long awaited and nasal daily intercom announcement that the buses have arrived and my class can be dismissed :D

Piano music (most, not all...anything can be made annoying by a determined practitioner)

Anonymous said...

Instant bliss? Hmmm.....
One would be my sweet hubby singing. He's got such a beautiful voice. I'm with you on the favorite song on the iPod...or even Pandora that comes on. I like listening to the crack of thunder. That's soothing.


Trisha Leigh said...

Yes to thunderstorms, and summer rain pattering on the pavement. Cicadas are a big one for me. Water - ocean or lake or river. Fireworks on the 4th of July. Take Me Out to the Ball Game. The crack of a bat. The Wimbledon theme song.

OKay, I'm done.

Fel said...

Some of my favourite sounds that can assist in retaining what's left of my sanity:

My horse nickering at me when she sees me, hoofbeats, my cats purring, my dog's happy noises, steady summer rain, friends' laughter, Pink Floyd's "Learning to Fly", and the sound of pages turning in a book. Oh and the sound of the kettle boiling meaning that a pot of tea is not far off.

Luanna Stewart said...

First of all, you are sooooo lucky to have a lap cat. Both of ours are total fails on that score.

I agree on the gentle rain pattering on the deck. I also like a good rip-roaring thunderstorm that makes the rain lash the windows.

The absolute spine-tingling joy of the call of a loon on a still lake in Nova Scotia.

The sound of waves lapping the shore at our cottage (provided the neighbour's yappy dog isn't yapping, grrrr)

Anonymous said...

The echoing silence of the mountains. It's not really silent; it's actually the constant whisper of the wind as it swishes through millions of spruce trees.

And I'll second @Charissa - there's nothing that'll make me smile like fat, lolloping rumble of a lumpy cam and open headers. I also have an instant relaxation response to the smell of motor oil and hot rubber, but I may be a bit of a freak.

Cats purring, absolutely. My old guys have all gone on to kitty heaven, and I miss their furry love.

"Roll Me Away" by Bob Seger. "I stood alone on a mountain top, staring out at the Great Divide. I could go east, I could go west, it was all up to me to decide." Instant zen.

Matthew MacNish said...

- A digital kick drum hit, played on a Roland 808 drum machine.

- The sound of a Jake Brake being released (an air brake, like on a bus or a semi-truck).

- My child laughing, or singing, or pretty much even just breathing.

- My dog, whining to go out, because I prefer when she defecates outside.

- String instruments. Woodwinds too.

- Surf.

- Snare drums. Steel drums. Steel guitar.

- Chanting. Gregorian monks, Tibetan Buddhists, Native American Drum Ceremonies. Pretty much any chanting. Tantric even.

Yeah. So I'm a very strange dude, and have now over-exposed myself, but I'm only following Tawna, who inspires us all.

Linda G. said...

A cocktail shaker at the end of a long day. ;)

My kiddos and TG laughing.


Water boiling in my teakettle.

Sean Connery's voice. (Don't much care what he's saying, either. I just love the sound of it.)

Kimberly Sabatini said...

My boys giggling.
The sound of rain.
The sound of silence when all the boys fall asleep.
Tap shoes.
The wind.
Audio Books.

Alice said...

My dad died of cancer a few years ago, before he turned 55. He was an incredible guitar player, and despite his high-powered job he always found time to practice.

I used to bliss out when I was at his house and I heard the faint scrape, tink tink, brn brn brn tink that floated down the stairs. Most of the time he didn't hook up the amp so all you could hear was his fingers on the strings.

I'd come upstairs and he'd be sitting on his black leather sofa in jeans and thick white socks that were too big for him and floppy at the toe, one knee bent towards the floor, foot scooted all the way back to the bottom of the sofa.

I really, really miss that sound.

Kristina said...

Lots of the things already listed (such as storms & kids) but I also really love the buoys and fog horns...I'll always be a coast kid.

Anonymous said...

* My wife cracking up.

* My son having hours-long conversations with gaming buddies (who may be in China for all I know) while playing World of Whoopee, or whatever the hell he plays.

* Spanish guitar.

* My good cat purring. He doesn't purr much. My bad cat purrs all day long. Go figure.

* Lawnmowers in the neighborhood, but not too near. (Combine with gasoline/fresh-mown-grass smell for the ultimate suburban sensory experience.)

* The thundering-hooves drum opening of "I Fought the Law" (Clash version, please).

* A race-prepped Honda engine at 8500 RPM.

MegCarpen said...

I can relate far too easily. My roommate is from Kansas. He doesn't believe in eating "food's food" or what we call them, vegetables. Serve them up as the main part of a meal two nights in a row and he's guaranteed to go throw a pizza in the oven, or fry something.
As for sounds I love to hear:
Rain and thunder after a hot day.
The clicking of my keyboard
The sounds of my dogs snoring
The sound of the river, especially at high water

Unknown said...

Here's a few of mine:
1.The dripping sound of coffee as it's being made in the morning.
2.Woodpeckers hard at work on a tree.
3.The sound of my beloved breathing as he sleeps.
4.My son's laughter
6.Like you any of the water sounds.
7.popcorn being made at a movie theater.
8.The printer as it prints out a piece I have finished.
9.The popping sound of a flame consuming wood during a bonfire.