Cry, Baby, CryAugust 15, 2010
I was on a train, which was held on the platform yesterday. On said platform, I heard a baby crying. The little mite was really going for it. I thought benevolently: “poor thing must be hungry or distressed.” I was in a good mood, so it didn’t bother me. That, and because it was at the far end of the platform, so it wasn’t that loud. It set me thinking about crying babies, because there is something about that sound that is marginally less painful than having your fingernails pulled off, or your nuts in a vice.
We know it’s a baby’s way of letting you know what’s going on, because they don’t yet have the power of full speech. I’m not a parent, so I’m bound to see it differently, but I wonder if as parents you don’t hear the crying in the same way as others do. I ask this because sometimes when I’m on a bus and a baby is in full flight, the parent (and it’s usually a mother) gets the evils from almost every passenger. Some even tut, and some of them are parents with older children. It’s almost as if the bus full of passengers think the parent deliberately lets them scream the bus down, and for the parents with the older children, it’s as if they’ve forgotten their own baby distress. My observation is that sometimes nothing can calm the child down and I can see, at times, that the parent is equally distressed. Not just because of the baby, but because of the added stress of enduring the collective skunk eye of the passengers on the bus. Or is that just in Britain?
On the lighter side, I found myself musing on the following: why do interrogators use various dubious methods to gain information when they could use a recording of a baby in serious distress and get what they need in double quick time? Baby crying could be warning signs at dangerous spots to keep people away. It could be the sound of the fire alarm in offices, though it may cause confusion to parents. However, setting it off at a decibel to make a clubber want to run home and recover with a hot cocoa, would leave you in no doubt there’s a potential fire in the building and you need to leave pronto. Sirens of the emergency services could be baby screams at different tonal levels, and at football matches, no Vuvuzelas would be required.
I’m sure there are other ways of using the sound of a baby crying in every day life that I hadn’t thought of. I’m giving you the opportunity to let your imagination run free. So go ahead. Make my baby’s day.