Sound travels. That’s a given, but how it travels is another thing. At the House of Mars, for instance, when my next door neighbors are talking above a certain level on the deck on the far side of their house, it sounds as if they’re in my backyard – but only if I hear them through my bathroom window.
And I guess they have to be on some sort of mystery solar sweet spot since I don’t always hear them.That house has had seen three sets of owners since I’ve lived here, and it’s been the same with each set of neighbors. They don’t have to be loud, they just have to be on their deck.
This summer I discovered another sound phenomenon at the lake I go to. There is a certain mystery spot in the middle of the swim area where the human voice projects as if amplified by a microphone.It has to be late in the afternoon when the crowd is thinning out
and it has to be a loudmouth doing the talking. I witnessed it twice, but while the first instance was merely annoying, the second was traumatic! A woman was drilling her kids on their multiplication tables.
If you’re asking yourself what’s so traumatic about that, you didn’t have a mother like mine. You see, when it came to the times tables, you never know when she would pounce. Once she knew the ones you were weak in, she turned into a pit bull. I was fine until I got to the nine times tables, 9X7 in particular. For my brother Jim, it was the eight times table and 8×7 was his mental block. While we never knew when she’d bark either one, we were reasonably sure it would be at breakfast. 9×7? 8×7? Sometimes she’d toss a curve ball like 6×7 then circle back to 9X7 or 8×7.
63, 56, it dawned on me there on the beach. Why didn’t she quiz us in reverse? Give us the answers, let us come up with the equation. Maybe it would have helped.Why didn’t our teachers do that? Why didn’t I do that when I was a teacher? Who knows, maybe teachers more creative than I was, came up with this tactic
The drill was still going on as I started to pack up to leave and I wondered why the woman didn’t correct her daughter when she replied 132 to the equation 11×12. Why didn’t she tell her the correct number was 121? I stopped to give 121 some thought and realized that’s 11 x11. See, my theory works!