Nothing In It; Being the blog of Elliott C. 'Eeyore' Evans (hosted at his domain '')

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Can anybody name this story?

At least 25 years ago, probably closer to 30 years ago, I read a story about a guy who was a sonic cleaner. In the world of the story, people had figured out that residual sound could build up on the walls of a room. That's why cathedrals with their hundreds of years of devotional singing just feel more holy. This is OK if what you're going for is holiness, but in most other situations the residue is more like dirt. Your average office is covered in typing noises and business conversations that are just a subliminal nuisance.

They have machines like vacuum cleaners to remove the residual sound from the walls and provide a cleaner sonic environment. The protagonist has an advantage over other cleaners because he can actually hear the residual sound somehow. Recent voices are more clear of course, so he can always clean the tour guide voices out of a cathedral without damaging the Gregorian chants. This all leads to romantic difficulties somehow, but I can't remember how.

Anyway, can anybody tell me the title of the story and its author? If you could find a copy of it online someplace that would be a total bonus.

2011.11.22 at 2:00pm EDT

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