I hear Silicon Valley proudly singing,
The varied carols I hear--
I hear the actor singing as if his heart would break,
The orchestra playing scales before they perform,
The nervous singer practicing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before an intense baseball game.
The novice magician concentrating as beads of sweat drip down his face while whispering,
"Oh God please work," hoping to leave his audience flabbergasted.
The director screaming while the cast mumble their lines and stumble over their own feet,
The dancer flying across the stage,
The artist quietly humming as he brushes oil paint onto canvas,
The high school student surreptitiously filling her notebooks with anime doodles.
The poet penning a new poem in her moleskin journal.
The writer scribbling a new chapter on a yellow legal pad,
The blogger typing feverishly til dawn.
I hear bankers chant the advantages of banking at their bank.
The tellers happily counting out cash into a neat fan of bills,
The bank officers singing to other peoples' credit cards,
The Fed Chairman shouting out recovery orders.
I hear a cashier singing while clicking at the buttons on the cash register,
ready to return the proper amount of change to the customer
The clerk stealthily advising a family to purchase something they don't need
so he can earn a reward,
The couple turning away in disgust from an uncooperative dealer mocking,
“Who is the alpha-dog of your marriage?”
The ethical salesman singing as he earns his commission.
I hear the chef exasperatingly proclaiming his cooking assistants incompetent,
while they mumble hurried apologies in broken English.
The baker sighing as she pulls crisp garlic bread from the oven.
The big sister whistling "Happy Birthday" as she ices the cake for hr little brother,
The chef sizzling as he sautés the shrimp,
The diners applauding the teppan-yaki chef's flashing knives,
The mother whistling her "This is what's for dinner" tune as the oven dings,
The short-order cook shouting orders to other line cooks while bacon sizzles on a grill,
The teenage cook grunting as he perfectly spins and tosses the pizza,
The waiters singing impatiently while asking their customers for their orders,
The waitress laughing as she refills the bottomless cups of coffee.
I hear the architect trilling as she reviews the blueprints,
The carpenter rapping as he quickly nails the wood to the roof,
The construction worker humming a mellow tune as he expertly plants explosives
and quickly flashes the OK signal for demolition,
The electrician singing as he wonders whether to give us electricity or not after his pay cut.
I hear the frightening dentist laughing as he quickly pulls the infected tooth of a miserable child,
The dental hygienist’s laser buzzing as she cleans plaque off of teeth and gums,
The orthodontist clattering his tools as he glues braces on my teeth,
A dental lab technician as she molds false teeth for her clients,
The prosthodontist humming as he replaces a tooth.
I hear the cardiologist whistles as he replaces a disease heart.
The neurologist sighing with relief as he removes a tumor with a laser,
The surgical team whispering while reviewing tools at the beginning of kidney transplant,
Emergency room nurses singing calmly to assure their hysterical patients.
The hospital workers staring in awe at a mob of angry elderly protesting on health care outside
of the hospital doors.
I hear the Apple CEO serenely serenading the press corps as he introduces the latest iPhone.
The R & D engineers buzzing with joy as they construct a new processor,
The hardware engineers singing quietly while pecks away on their new MacBook Airs,
The software engineers clacking on their keyboards as they generate endless streams of code,
The test engineers cheering as they break the computer,
The project managers clucking as they text on their BlackBerries.
The assemblers quickly clicking ICs into motherboards,
An engineer chattering about the newest app as he drives his bored children school.
I hear the Crayola workers quickly slipping fresh crayons into cardboard boxes,
The factory worker whirling as they make random gears,
The fashion designer bopping to her iPod as she sketches a hot design on a tablecloth,
The fire scorching the firefighter as he rescues a trapped resident.
I hear the call of fast food:
The McDonalds cashier loudly calling to the family of four to pick up 2 Happy Meals
and two number 1 meals (Big Mac),
The Carl's Junior cook flipping burgers on his hot grill.
The Burger King supervisor singing her jingle as she quickly plops a bag of fries
and burger on a tray while at the same filling a large cup of Sprite
(It's like she has six arms!),
The KFC manager spitting out orders to deep fry more chicken,
as the cashier clinks coins, fumbling to change the customer's twenty dollar bill.
I hear the garbage man rapping along with the radio as he works the controls to clamp the bin,
lift it up, and dump our repulsive garbage into his truck,
The recycling driver's truck rumbling through the streets while everyone else is asleep.
I hear the gardener wailing the blues as he blows leaves and glass clippings into a neat pile,
The landscaper clipping to the beat as he uproots the weeds and plants tulips,
The farmer workers plucking fruit and picking vegetables up & down a valley-guitar.
I hear a hair stylist gasping as she accidentally shaves someone bald.
I hear the school janitor whistling as he vacuums the classrooms,
The gym janitor's dry mop going squiggy! squiggy! as he dries the basketball court
The housecleaner moaning as she drops a bucket of dirty water on the floor she just cleaned.
The lab janitor tisking disgustedly as he cleans up some failed experiments,
The miserable hotel maid muttering as she slowly cleans the smelly toilets.
I hear the boots of the postal workers, clomping steadily and calmly through all storms and heat:
The letter carrier happily singing as he plops a big box onto the front porch
The mail delivery person yelling HELP while being chased by a group of angry dogs,
A lost store delivery person cussing to himself, as he tries to deliver the furniture
to the right house.
I hear the librarian chirping as she instantaneously finds the book that I had been looking for,
The hapless page crying out in disbelief as he accidentally pushes over 100 shelves of books,
The children shrieking with laughter at the puppets’ antics during the story hour,
The mother reading her children a bedtime story.
I hear people playing, crowing: CHECKMATE! PUNG! GOALLLLLLL!!!!
I hear parents scolding their children over and over again to stop playing video games
and start studying NOW!
You will hear your parents crying with love and pride at your graduation ceremonies.
I hear the pilot telling people to buckle their seat belt,
The flight attendants giving safety instructions
I hear the plumber’s apprentice yelling TURN OFF THE MAIN! as he tries to fix a leaky faucet,
The journeyman quietly singing as replaces a PVC valve,
The master murmuring as he deciphers the HVAC schematics.
I hear the anxious police officer calling the dispatcher reporting on a crime scene,
The detective snapping handcuffs around the wrists of a felon,
The traffic cop chuckling as he spots the last speeder of his shift,
The prison guard stomping around as he glares at the people behind bars,
I hear the President speaking about making the world a better place.
I hear the voices of families, resonating throughout the hallways of the houses,
as they look at bedrooms, assess schools, gauge commutes, make counter-offers,
hurry and wait, sign up and pay down, pack and unpack, say good-byes and hellos,
The real estate agent gurgling delightedly as she sells another home,
(Late that night, I hear my brother snoring faintly in the next room ‘cuz now I have my own!)
I hear the voices of television reporters jabbering away on all of the TV sets
in my apartment building:
The TV anchor torturing an anxious person with questions,
The sports reporters racing through the game results,
The excited (and exhausted) field correspondent reporting LIVE!
I hear the ecologist dreaming aloud about reducing carbon footprints.
I hear the taxi driver belt out a Chinese song as he races to pick up his next fare.
We hear the one voice of our teachers, exhorting us to STUDY!
The Algebra teacher happily calling her students' names as she hands back their papers,
The Chinese teacher chanting lessons and crafting beauty out of plain paper,
The English teacher telling stories, stories, and more stories,
The friendly teacher teaching children about world history,
The math teachers demanding their students to show their work,
The squeaky wheel turning as the art teacher shows the class how to build a pot,
The basket coach blowing his whistle, signaling a break,
The tutors droning on as they force knowledge into their students' reluctant minds,
The US History teacher quizzing her students on names, dates, places, and ideas.
I hear the undertaker praying as he buries the dead.
I hear the veterinarian singing cheerfully while doing check-ups for pets.
I hear the concerned voices of the San Francisco Zoo's trainers struggling to maintain control
of a young bear's temper-tantrum,
From day to day, labor is upon them - at night the party of young fellows and fellas,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
The song of Silicon Valley echoes everywhere,
each job like a single cog in the clock, clicking away in harmony.
Inspired by Walt Whitman; extended by the Shareworld 2009 Summer Camp Students:
Contributors: Amy Cheng, Andy Cheng, Annie Cheng, Chris Chao, Alan Chien, Kiersten Chuc, Teresa Chuang, Julia Huang, Johnny Liu, Darren Ma, Patrick Wang, Angela Yung, Illina Yang, Bill Zhang, Jessica Zhao, Anton Zheng, Michael Zheng. Edited by Jennifer Gagliardi