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When the Soundtrack Gets Too Loud

You are sitting on your couch watching a movie. The movie, you’ve heard, is interesting. You’ve seen parts in the beginning of it, and understand them, but you want to watch the rest. You try to focus on the storyline, the visuals, the dialogue and yet they are being drowned out. The soundtrack, no matter how beautiful in its accompaniment of the movie, is much louder than the words and actions on screen. The music is supposed to be background noise, and yet, for some reason, it is completely overshadowing everything else happening. You reach for the remote to specifically target the background noise. But there’s no option to turn down just the music. You look around confused, panicked. I really wanted to watch this movie. But you can’t. The music is too loud.

You like the music; it’s fascinating, complex. But it’s distracting. How am I supposed to follow anything with this much noise?  You are losing an uphill battle. But the movie is the only thing you have to do. It’s the only thing you know of at the moment.

You look around at the room. I wish I weren’t watching this movie alone. It would be nice to have someone to watch the movie with. Ideally, someone who’s seen parts of the movie you haven’t. They can help fill in the holes. But even they would be distracted by the music. They can’t fully concentrate on the movie either. But perhaps, in spite of the distraction, you could still share details about the movie that you each already know and piece together what might happen in the rest of it. You may be missing a few seconds of the movie to talk about it, but the comfort of having someone else watching with you is overshadowing this concern.

And yet, you are still alone. The movie playing, the music drowning it out. You have the option of turning down all sound from the movie, but then you would be missing a big part of it. You would be viewing it based solely on assumptions of what’s happening - a visual autopilot. You’re far from a qualified lip-reader and the sound adds such an important dimension to what’s going on. You are stuck in a situation where you have 3 choices: try harder to ignore the music, turn off the sound, or turn off the movie. The first option is the hardest to do, but the other two would leave you without the whole reason you came into the room in the first place.

So what do you do? It’s up for you to decide what you can handle. You can let the music drown out the movie, give up on the movie entirely, or you can do everything in your power to recognize that the music is only a part of the movie, a part of your life. How much the music impacts the quality and meaning of the movie is a product of how much your allow it to stew in your mind. If you let it get too loud, you’ll miss the movie. And unfortunately, there’s no rewind button.

  • #life
  • #long form
  • #long read
  • #metaphor
  • #musing
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  • #prose
  • #dark thoughts