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Humming keeps me tuned in … and out

I find it very difficult to go to sleep at night. Once I get to sleep I’m fine. It’s just getting there is often a problem.

If I could just turn off the music in my head I think it would help. You’ve heard of people “with a song in their heart?” I have a song in my head. All the time. It usually comes out as humming.

When my husband and I go grocery shopping, we often separate to speed up the task. My husband says he can always tell if he’s getting close to me in the store by following the humming. (Which brings up an interesting thought: why can’t he hear me talking to him, but he can hear me quietly humming? Hmm, a topic for investigation.)

When I walk into the local restaurant or library, they know I’m coming by the humming. I hum when I’m happy; I hum when I’m sad; I do NOT hum when I’m mad. A few years back when my father briefly lived with us, he questioned, “What are you so happy about?!” I guess I’m just a happy person, or at least my humming would indicate contentment. My son, when riding in the car with me as a young teen, would groan, “Not that song again!” For years my go-to song was “Seventy-six trombones led the big parade…” These days it’s more likely to be the theme from “The Pink Panther.”

I have a theory about my humming. I mentioned it to my doctor once, but he didn’t know what to say. I think it may be a by-product of medication I take. I rarely read the enclosed literature with a prescription; it is too frightening. I did, however, take a look awhile back at the one daily medication I take, and it mentioned, far down in the lists of possible side-effects, involuntary movement.

Now I’ve noticed I have a hard time sitting still. Either my feet are tapping, or my hands are twitching, or I am squirming in my seat. Perhaps this is a side-effect as well, involuntary movement in the neuroplasticity of my brain; I’m not sure. But I just wonder, is my inner music being caused by my mind not being able to be still?

As side-effects go, it’s not all that bad. People think I’m happy and content. They are amused as I stroll the grocery aisles, humming off-key. And when I go to bed at night, I don’t hum out loud. I just listen to the music of the night … “good night, my someone, good night, my love…”

Robyn Near is a Ripley resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com

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