The quiet hour

The quiet hour.

When I was young and my life being wasted by my mostly but not entirely life wasting social surround, newly out of Yale and back in Baltimore Maryland (1969), each night, at 22:00 (10PM), on WCAO FM radio, I listened to the start of "The quiet hour", a program always introduced Bidu Sayão singing Heitor Villa-Lobos's Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 Aria.

A voice from a better world I should have been in but was not. All my lie I have sought out, or at lat found and appreciated "quiet hours": places where all the people were absent but not because they had abandoned me to rot in the void but because they were asleep or otherwise occupied than with causng me trouble. Sleeping dogs do well to lie.

The first such place was The Baltimore Museum of Art, at night, when the only other person in the building was the night watchman. As an employee I probably automatically had a right to be their at any hour producing surplus value for my employer, but I have always tried to be on good terms with night watchmen. This was before computers and the watchman had a strange machanical device that recorded his rounds: a Detex Watchclock, into which he had to insert a key at each station along his route through the building. I was free to go most anywhere (I also had a universal pass key I didn't tell anybody I had because they would have taken it away from me), and, to repeat: nobody else was around to interfere. Like most things, people are best, in moderation.

The Museum had a lovely atrium which was pretty in the daylight, but enchanting (for me) when dark, the only illumination being a widely spaces night lights near the floor thatprovided just enough light for the watchman to see his way around. Everything was very dimly lit. It was peaceful. The quiet hour.

The summer of 1983 when I took the 6 week noncredit Career Discovery in Arthtesture progarm at Harvard, I had the quiet hour several nights in Gund Hall where I stayed later than anyone else (again, except for the night watchman), once to even about 23:30, and when I left that night the moon was very beautiful over the quiet Harvard campus. As very often, less [people]is more [beauty].

In my systems programmer jobs I often had time with nobody else around. One Sunday nite at NASA Headquarters (where we launched payroll, not rocket ships), I worked thru the night until the early morning in the empty building and took the 6AM Metroliner back to Baltimore. But in the computer room I was always busy so not really any quiet hours but still it was good that no other people were around. Then, on the other side of my studies at Teachers college, in my last computer programming job (the one that gave me PTSD), I had daily morning quiet hours by each day arriving to work at about 03:45AM, where my main fear was that the night watchman would be on his rounds and have locked the door to the building, thus for an indefinite period of time, having locked me out until his return.

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  1. This is not the image I wanted. I'd like a much subtler animated gif lighthouse but I can't find one and I've had this one since no later than +2002.05.21 from my old website that my then ISP murdered, thus taking away all my search engine placements, because they decided web hosting was not profitable. Then I couldn't get the HTML table here to have spacing the way it seems to me it should have but I am powerless so just had to eat that. I have managed to kludge togeher somthing I fing not unacceptable. Maybe it's all my fault for not understanding all the technoshit which I find obtuse. I resent it all but there is nothing reasonable I can do about it. I want and try to make everything be pixel precision perfect but I apolgize for having inferior tools and bring undercapitalized.
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