Tales from the Gym – Acoustic Impropriety

February 27th, 2007

It finally happened – someone farted in the sauna. It should come as no surprise, really. Whenever multiple human beings are gathered together in a small space with a great deal of silence and subsequent acoustic scrutiny, the pressure inevitably grows too great for someone to bear. What’s more startling than the act itself though, is the lengths people will go to in creating alternative explanatory noises: a quick cough in the same register, a noisy shuffling of belongings – or in this case, the perpetrator racheting up the volume of the story she was recounting to a friend, giving the rest of us something more interesting to remember. I think the urge to create alternative possibilities is reflexive really – and shows kindness for others. Creating other plausible explanation eases the minds of unwitting witnesses – gives them multiple options to choose from, and a short-cut back to psychological ease. When I was a kid we had a familial exhortation – “barking spiders!” Barking spiders were the standard and default alternative explanation. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the presence of a social fart – so long, in fact, that when the lady down the bench held forth, I very nearly yelled “barking spiders!” at her and the room at large. Fortunately, I restrained myself. But I can’t help but wonder what would clear out a sauna faster – flatulence, or the threat of arachnids with both means and motive to bark?

Entry Filed under: Tales From the Gym

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