Change can be very upsetting. There is often a comfort in the status quo, in being certain of something despite the fact it patently works badly or barely at all. Change is an experiment that might work, might fail or might work but with dire side effects or unintended consequences. Change in life is a risk. We cannot easily experiment, we cannot run a control alongside the proposed change. It is why change becomes more difficult the older you become; you have more vested in the now based on the accumulated experiences, good and bad, of your life. When you’ve barely lived, when you’ve not experienced the disastrous consequence of a change that seemed so perfect at the time it occurred – like the fizzing starburst of a first love found and the gut liquefying horror of its eventual loss – change can be pure adrenaline, life’s bungee jump.
My dear old dad had a rant for every occasion. One was the use of ‘progress’ to mean ‘change’. His target, as so often, was the political class, who would try and justify a proposed change by calling it progress. You can change by going backward as well as forwards; progress is essentially forward moving. The point came when he was suspicious of all change, of people who told him how much better things would be with this or that. He wasn’t quite an ‘in my day’ old fogey but he needed convincing about some so called benefits that change might bring. He’d have loved this German comedy skit on why, for some, the benefits of a tablet are not those anticipated.
Even worse than change and progress being conflated was, in his eyes, the use of ‘revolution’ to mean change for the better. He never tired in pointing out that if something revolves it will eventually come back to where it started. ‘There’s been a revolution in mobile telephony in the last twenty years’ is a refrain often heard. Where once we lived in small communities and everyone knew everyone else’s business, so now with instant communications and social media, the upcoming generation hide nothing from their peers for good and bad. Maybe he had a point.
All this comes from Charli’s prompt for this week: August 27, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) use sound to announce some sort of change. It could be at the beginning of the story–a lonely bar keep on a quiet road hears the rumble of motorcycles and anticipates customers. That could be good news or bad…Or you could tell a story that unfolds as expected until a character hears something–like a bride getting ready upstairs at the church who hears a shattering below followed by the shouts of her groom, “I’m outta here!” Sound can trumpet, clang or whisper. It can foreshadow or be the twist.
So where will Mary and her family go this week?
‘Leave me ALONE!’
The door bulged as it slammed shut. Mary’s daughter’s muffled sobs were replaced by Carly Simon.
‘What’s up?” Mary flinched when she felt her husband’s hand.
‘She hates me.’
Paul listened. ‘She’s got your taste in music.’
‘It’s not funny.’
‘Why would she hate you?’
Mary didn’t answer. She pressed against the wood. ‘What was that?’
‘I didn’t hear anything.’
When Mary opened the door, the room was empty, the window open. ‘See?’
‘But where’s she gone? What’s going on?’
‘Bloody Rupert, that’s where.’
Paul hesitated. ‘Oh for god’s sake. This has to end, Mary. Now.’