Peter Tolman

Stereo Behavior

we sat in my apartment discussing
all sorts of stuff
listening to my stereo

well, not really
actually we listened to the music
we put into the stereo
'cause on its own a stereo makes no music
except for a faint hum in the key of b-flat
most appliances hum much louder
in the key of b-flat
i know this because one day i was sitting
playing my b-flat harmonica
and noticed i was in key with the fridge
perhaps one day when i'm bored
i'll write a concerto for fridge and harmonica in b-flat

in any event
i have a nice stereo with big speakers
lots of impressive blinking lights, knobs
and gadgets that serve no purpose
except to give it the appearance of high tech importance

ya see, the more useless gadgets, lights and knobs a stereo has,
the more prestigious status its owner is afforded

so there we were
discussing stuff, listening to the music in my stereo
and i noticed something peculiar:
        when our discussion became momentarily
        diverted to the music playing in my stereo
        i found us turning to look at the stereo
        as though somehow
        a more meaningful auditory experience was attained
        by gazing at the stereo

and if we were especially fond
of a particular song playing from my stereo
not only would we look at the stereo
but we would also tune our bodies to its rhythm approvingly
and say to each other as we turned our heads toward the stereo
"great song... one of their best I think..."

i threw my television away over a year ago
but i wonder now, as i still catch my eyes
wandering unconsciously for any visual stimuli it can find,
how much tv permeates and comforts
our minds-- even after we'íre rid of it?