The general public tends to portray fast food workers as lazy people. I address this misconception in “A Day at Work” by making a sonic argument and recording sounds of different tasks a fast food worker like Calvin would do on a daily basis. I used sounds (recorded at a fast food work setting) to manipulate my audience’s feelings. My hope is to reach an audience of people who have never worked in the food industry. As well as an audience of people who work in the food industry and are in powerful position such as CEO, and restaurant managers.
“Why sounds?” you may ask. By definition sounds are vibrations that travel and can be heard when they reach a person’s ear. We train our senses of sound to hear vibrations through our ears. However, according to Ceraso in her essay “(Re) educating the Senses…” we ought to unlearn old sensory habits. By doing so, we will understand that sound is not just something that’s heard through the ears, and “amplify the multiple senses that can be used to attend to sonic interactions” (110). Sound, she said, is an embodied event that has the ability to “manipulate our feelings or behaviors in different situations” (103).
By understanding that listening is multisensory and not just the practice of one sense, I crafted my sonic argument by using different techniques learned in class to evoke different feelings from my audience. For example, between 01:44:00.00 – 01:55:00.00 I faded out the background music and let the sounds of the burning flame, the wok, and the ingredients being cooked faded in and gradually increased in loudness like a crescendo. I also copied and pasted bit of sounds that I wanted to emphasize. For example, the sound of laughter by one of the workers can be heard many times (02:05:00.00; 03:05:00.00). I chose to emphasize this bit of sound because work can be hectic but we try to make the best out of it through laughter.
I see “A Day at Work” as a series of tasks that eventually lead to cooking as the climax. I tried to capture this through sounds and built my sonic essay in a series of events: walking to work, keying in, washing hands, putting dishes away, chopping (walnuts), cooking, washing dishes, sweeping, setting the alarm, and leaving. Being inside the restaurant can sometimes feel like a different world. There is constant motion, and there are many different things that simultaneously require your attention. I want my audience to hear that there is a lot going, and a lot is required from workers. Laziness can’t possibly prevail in a restaurant. In my sonic essay, my audience can also hear a constant burning flame sound. It sounds like it’s a background noise, but it’s a flame. More often than, this type of work can feel like hell. But at the end of the day, just like Calvin, you get to go home to your family. I tried to let my audience hear such relief feeling by recording the “sound of the city:” cars honking, cool breezes, and people talking et cetera at 06:00:00.00 – 06:20:19.42.
Garageband was the software I used to compose my sonic argument. Hit play and enjoy!