Whistle Another Day

My grandma asked me something a couple of decades ago now that I still think about from time to time, she asked “Why don’t I ever hear people whistling anymore? Men used to walk down the road whistling a tune in the morning, now it seems nobody does it anymore. Do people still whistle?”

I never grew up in my grandma’s time, but I do remember people whistling in some of the older books I have read, as well as in movies and on TV, The Andy Griffith show pops in my head when i think about old time whistling.

Wow look at how young Ron Howard was back then.

I remember as a child I had wanted to whistle, I used to practice it when I was very young, and got fairly decent at it. Whistling though, seems to have become somewhat of a lost art. I wonder, why people had stopped whistling? Is it possible people don’t whistle in the rest of the world as well these days? I don’t remember hearing any whistling by anyone on my world travels. Well other than myself, including the occasion I will tell you about below.

As many of you know, in my early twenties, I took quite a long, nineteen consecutive month, trip around Asia. After my first stop in Hong Kong, I made my way to the old Portuguese settlement of Goa, situated on the west coast of the Indian subcontinent. Goa is a wonderful place described in the Lonely Planet as something similar to “Perfect tropical suburbia” It also boasts ridiculously beautiful beaches, occasional surfing, and a night life that often carries right through till the afternoon of the next day. Though my European readers are of course completely familiar with Goa and all its stories, for some reason North Americans, for the most part, have not discovered it.

Goa Beach Palolem

Goa Beach In the Afternoon

About a month into this trip, which I had taken on my own, I had already found a good bunch of male British friends to spend my time with, but I was especially happy when I found myself a couple of lovely, and fun, female British friends, one was named Trudy, and the other, Klowie.

Trudy, Klowie, and I had many adventures around Goa together. After sleeping off a night of partying, we would often jump on our motorbikes, and head off to eat our afternoon breakfast at the local German bakery, on a few occasions if we all got up early enough, we would then head off to some remote, quiet beaches, or perhaps a nice hot springs for a soak in the middle of the jungle, just the three of us. It was great, just me and two pretty ladies. Though I suspected both might have been interested me, I was growing closer, faster to the lovely, long brown haired, Trudy.

As Trudy and I continuing to get closer, Klowie had stopped spending as much time with us, after a while though Klowie would still eat breakfast with us, it was normally just Trudy and I for the rest of the day. We were still not a couple at this time, but one lovely full moon night, like something out of a romance novel, Trudy mentioned how dirty her hair was, and I suggested that I should wash it for her. OK not really a romance novel, but it was the way it happened. So off we went back to her place for some good old team scrubbing.


Somewhere around 5 AM the two of us were still awake, and not wanting to sleep, we left her hotel for a nice long full moon lit walk down the long empty beach. We were both smiling as we held each other’s hands. After some time, the moon and stars faded, and the sky started to get light with the coming sun. As the sun was rising, the waves were breaking on the shore, a school of dolphins were spotted, birds were chirping, and then for some reason in my happiness I began to whistle a soft practiced tune.

At the sound my my whistling, Trudy stopped, looked at me, and said. “Stop that.”

“Stop what?” I asked.

Trudy looked at me sternly. “Stop your whistling, I’m not going to walk around with someone whistling.”

“Why?” I said “There is nobody around.” and then proceeded to continue my tune.

Trudy turned around, and stormed away from me, off the beach, as I stood there, whistling. Once Trudy was out of sight, and I realized she was not coming back, I lost my moment of happiness, and no longer felt like whistling anymore.

Trudy and I only saw each other once after that, across a crowded room, but we did not talk.

I do not regret my continued whistling that day, though Trudy left me alone, I was free to whistle another day.

A song for Trudy:

14 Responses to Whistle Another Day

  1. Great post, Scott. Yeah, I think whistling is sort of a lost art…I can’t think of anything since Andy Griffith where whistling’s been a signature. I can’t imagine being bothered by someone whistling. Clearly, Trudy wasn’t the least bit nostalgic or tolerant. I’m glad you kept on whistling.

  2. Scott, your romance with Trudy must’ve been the shortest on record. Did she have some dark traumatic secret from the past somehow related to whistling? Can’t imagine why she would react so violently. But I think how you responded could serve as a great metaphor for life in general: whatever happens, just keep on whistling.

  3. Yes, whistling is extinct, a forgotten art now. I remember when I was a kid people could still whistle entire songs. The sound of whistling can be haunting: the opening sequence of that Guns N’ Roses number is proof enough. What Trudy did on the beach that morning is hard to understand -maybe she has had a bad experience with some whistler. Thanks for sharing.

    PS: In the current story on my blog I have put in characters who can whistle Chattanooga Choo Choo!

    • Hi Umashankar,

      I guess it is possible she had a bad experience with a whistler, or maybe there was a bully she knew that used to give whistlers a hard time or something. I think she was self conscious about drawing negative attention to herself for some reason, which was ridiculous in the desolate, and naturally noisy environment we were in at the time. The crashing waves alone wouldn’t have let the sound travel very far.

      I guess we will never know.

  4. I never could learn how to whistle. But man, I’ve never heard of someone reacting so… fiercely to whistling, especially after such a good night. She must’ve had a really traumatic experience with whistling to willingly end such a good night on a bad note.

    • Hi JK,

      It was definitely a shock to me at that moment how things seemed to go from such a wonderful mood, to a very negative one, yeah maybe the whistle triggered some negative emotions or something.

  5. Wow. You’re right. People don’t whistle like they used to. I LOVED to listen to people whistling when I was young. Like you, I practiced whistling a lot when I was young, starting with amateur whistling (sucking in) before graduating to the big leagues (blowing out). As for that girl who wouldn’t let you whistle? Such a sweet story in the beginning but you clearly dodged a bullet with that one.

    • Hi Janene,

      Haha, I forgot about suck in whistling, that was how I started as well, then through a gap in my teeth as my adult teeth were coming in, then finally “big league whistling.”

  6. Dude that was an awesome story! And that was strange. At least an explanation as to why the whistling bothered her. In my opinion, she sounded like a control freak. She said stop and you didn’t and then she freaked out. I’m glad you kept whistling.

  7. Hi Dean,

    Yeah she sounded so much like a bossy control freak to me, I thought she must have been joking, but I guess not.

    No loss on my part.

    Glad you liked the stroy.

  8. A Cheeto Named Larry

    I think you don’t hear whistling anymore because people have their faces stuck in phones, tablets, computers, gameboys, etc.

    Whistling requires a little imagination and concentration, so you can’t be worthless and whistle at the same time. Mystery solved.

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