By Diane Ako
My friend Paul Drewes always likes the soothing sound of a babbling brook. On his desk at work, he used to have a small fountain. When it broke, we went during one dinner break to the store to pick out a new one because he had to have white noise.
Recently, he gave me a water feature. It's a plug in waterfall, about four feet high, in which water flows down a concrete mold featuring a pineapple impression. He used to have it on his lanai, but after he moved to his new house, he has a waterfall with a koi pond, so he has no need for a dinky plug in like that.
I thought I would take it to work, but after I took it out of my car to dust it off and test it out, it never made it that far. I placed it near the back of the living room, the closest I could get to the great outdoors without risking errant high winds knocking it over and breaking it.
I happily filled it with water and plugged it in, and started enjoying the white noise of running water. I haven't owned a water feature before, so I was curious to see how this new decoration would fit into our acoustic and aesthetic home design. Not bad, I thought. Like having classical radio playing in the background.
It was all great, until Claus came home. He's really a quiet guy, so he didn't complain until I solicited his opinion, and even then, it was very passive. "I'll remember to ask Bob at the office if he wants to put a water feature around the building."
"You were thinking about that?" I asked.
"No," he said.
Then a trickle of sarcastic comments over the next few days: "It used to be so nice and quiet in this house. Now I always feel like I have to pee." "Even with the heavy rains the loudest thing in this house is still the waterfall."
The night of the thunderstorms, I told him, "Now you can't hear the waterfall."
"What?" he teased. "Yeah, when the rain is over 100 decibels is when you can't hear it. That's right."
I was still determined to ignore my husband, until my dad came over. "What is that noise?" he asked, not knowing I had this new contraption."Is your pipe broken somewhere?"
I pointed out the waterfall. My dad considered that, but later, still commented that it reminds him of when his toilet broke.
I give up. I thought I was being all Zen, but apparently the only ambiance I'm fostering is that of a small bladder or a commode in need of repair. I might have to take this out of my house... and to the office.
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