If you’ve ever been in an elevator before, chances are you know what “Elevator Music” sounds like. And you’d probably also know that it’s mostly viewed as one of the world’s most awkward moments. Well, now I’ve seen – I mean heard – it all: There now exists something I like to call “Train Station Music”.
It varies depending on which country you’re in. For example, in Hong Kong, there’s one station in particular that plays Beethoven’s Für Elise. Now I’ve never had anything against this famous piece. Far from it, actually – I learned how to play it when I was in elementary school. But after being stuck at that station one night, waiting for my mum for over 15 minutes to pick me up meant a lot of Für Elise, over and over again. And they loop not from the end of the piece, but they play part A, then part B, and loop that. They never get round to part C, the more interesting part of the entire piece. Needless to say, I finally knew the exact meaning of “ear worm” after that experience, and I cringe every time I have to hear that piece. Sigh.
Over here in Chicago, they play a different tune (if you can call it such). Like the Windy City’s artwork, it’s much more conceptual – instead of a song, the music you can hear at Union Station is a cacophony of pre-recorded mechanical voices that announce the track number they’re designated. So imagine about eight voices calling out “Track number ___!” over and over again until you just want to scream and pull all your hair out (if you had some to spare). ARRGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! But at least I find that they’re easier to ignore than Für Elise.
One of the top items on my Christmas wishlist is a pair of Bose noise reduction/noise cancelling headphones. Ahh, sweet, sweet silence.