The smell of the sound

February 8, 2007

Come again?

Amanda, Audra, and I went to Holt’s this morning… (not exactly the best move in preparing to show up tomorrow with our “A-Game”… but we were all energized from a really great set)… and we had an amusing miscommunication/failure to comprehend on the drive back. We were talking about bad smells. And Audra said something about a smell mingling with “the smell of the sound”.

My mind was spinning trying to make sense of that. Is she trying to describe the whole experience and so she meant to say something about the smell mingling with the sound? Is she talking about the kind of smell you would associate with a particular sound? Or did she maybe mean the sound you would associate with that smell? What on earth is “the smell of the sound”?

And then Audra ended my confusion by stating the clearly obvious fact that, when she said sound, she was talking about the Puget Sound. Which would have a smell. And totally makes sense since she was describing something in Washington. So… yeah… I’m cool.

In my defense… Amanda was confused, too… following the same fruitless lines of logic that I was. And I consider Amanda to be quite intelligent. Then again… she has been inhaling a lot of paint fumes in the last few days. Hmm….



  1. YES! I’m so glad you blogged about this. It was noteworthy enough to me to make it onto our quote board. The beautiful thing about it is that it’s a completely reasonable and sensible comment, but if taken out of context of the conversation, and provided that the hearer is not from Seattle-Tacoma, it sounds totally ridiculous. Then, as a person who actually knows the context of the quote, and knows it’s the smell of the capital “s” “Sound,” I get to feel superior for knowing what’s going on and confusing the ever-lovin’ daylights out of everyone else.

    And I think I’ve been pretty consistently indicating that the paint fumes haven’t affected me. Remember the iced tea. If I was getting messed over by smelling the fresh paint that would have been a disaster.

    And for whoever’s concerned, I haven’t been intentionally “inhaling paint fumes.” I’ve been painting a room and have been waround wet paint.

  2. Wow, I’m laughing so hard over here. I’m trying to hear this conversation in my head and it’s cracking me up. (And it’s also making me want Holt’s really, really bad…)

  3. Amanda – Ah yes… the glorious feeling of superiority in knowing what’s going on and confusing the ever-lovin’ daylights out of everyone else. Wait… that’s a feeling mostly foreign to me. I seem to tend toward being the daylight-exorcised, confused person.

    Emily – Yeah… beyond hearing the conversation, try to picture the confused looks on my and Amanda’s faces that filled the silence as we were racking our brains to try to make sense of Audra’s words. What amazes me is that Audra (from the back seat) picked up on the fact that we were both sitting there in total and utter confusion.

  4. Um, they call it synesthesia. It happens. What’s with the disrespect for freaks freakiness and the un-reasonable? Sense and reason are the path to Boringville, Sweatness. Don’t ever forget it. Don’t shut the door to the crazy outside-the-box or, well, the crazy ones will be standing outside. Sometimes we need to be let in. “Come in for the rain.”

  5. Oh, and one more thing: The smell of the sound could very well describe the incense of our intercession, and the aroma of our worship–not that either is exclusively verbal or aural but even to the extent that they are sound, they smell nice. It’s biblical.

  6. Ok, another thing. Sound isn’t just a noun, but an adjective and the adjective can be nominalized back into a different noun (from the one we oridnarily think of). So, “sound” can refer to a thing with any of these characteristics:

    [Middle English, from Old English gesund; akin to Old High German gisunt healthy]
    (13th century)
    1 a : free from injury or disease : exhibiting normal health
    b : free from flaw, defect, or decay
    2 : solid, firm; also : stable
    3 a : free from error, fallacy, or misapprehension
    b : exhibiting or based on thorough knowledge and experience
    c : legally valid
    d : logically valid and having true premises
    e : agreeing with accepted views : orthodox
    4 a : thorough
    b : deep and undisturbed

    c : hard, severe

    5 : showing good judgment or sense
    synonymy see healthy, valid
    — sound•ly \’sau?n(d)-le\ adverb
    — sound•ness \’sau?n(d)-n?s\ noun
    Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary., 10th ed. (Springfield, Mass., U.S.A.: Merriam-Webster, 1996, c1993).

    So, for instance, a healthy person is going to smell different from an unhealthy one. Smell of the sound, indeed. But I still prefer to reflect on the aroma our music makes. Uh, actually, that makes me think of other things, but I don’t want to walk down that path right now . . .

  7. Ummm… wow. All I can say is… wow.

    Ladies and gentlemen… my dad. 🙂

  8. The next time I have a grammar question, I guess I know who to run it by…

    Christine, do you mind if random English conundrums start popping up in your site comments? 😉

  9. Amanda – Let the random English conundrums abound!

    Dad – Don’t most people who really care about the language hate the nominalization of adjectives? Or was that just my one writing professor? I personally love it, but he ardently opposed to all such actions.

    Hey… speaking of such things. I found myself bothered by these choruses earlier…

    “Break in to the hardest heart”
    “Break into the hardest of hearts
    Break into the coldest of hearts”

    I went with “in to” the first time because I was more comfortable with it (and he had this huge pause between “in” and “to”). Later, I used “into” because the space made the line too long and would have shrunk the words down too much on the screens.

    For future use, though, which is correct? Or does it even matter?

    (By the way, great use of “Come in for the rain”)

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