Well, today was the first day I haven’t actually felt WORSE than the day before. Yay?
For all that, it was still Another Bed Day. *sigh* And our solar hot water didn’t get installed yesterday because – THE PLUMBER WAS SICK! We’ve rescheduled for next Wednesday, just gotta hope that the weather doesn’t work against us.
Ricë wrote a post today about the intrusiveness of muzak. I started a rant in reply in my comment on her post, but here’s some more rant:
I’ve been rabbiting on at various In Real Life friends about the new growth industry (no, Dustin, it’s not PLASTICS) – it’s audiology. Seriously, every time I go to the shops there seems to be a new one offering hearing tests and ever smaller hearing aids. I think Toowoomba is up to about 20, for a population of 90,000. And do you know why?
I’LL TELL YOU WHY.
It’s because almost nobody can stand SILENCE any more. When and how did we become a culture that feels the need to be constantly immersed in man made sound? Waiting rooms are drenched in either overly loud muzak or blaring televisions. Supermarkets and shopping centres play their identifying jingles over and over and over. We get in cars and immediately turn on the radio or a CD. Those ubiquitous white dangly cords drape from ears to iPods, cocooning each wearer in their own world of individualised sound.
Our house is near the local railway yards, and surrounded by train tracks. We expect a certain amount of noise each day from the coal trains and maintenance vehicles, and most nights we can hear the chiropractic clunks and crashes of carriages being shunted. Some of the train drivers are artists, echoing the horn of their diesel engine around the valley as they pass by the yards.
On clear nights I can hear the “ping… Ping… Ping… pokpokpokpokpokpokpok” of the traffic signals over 150 metres away across the creek. Some nights we are visited by the local owl (mo POKE! mo POKE!) and some nights the plovers scream from the vacant, weedy blocks.
Some nights we are woken by domestic quarrels; by neighbours who think that chopping wood after midnight is a perfectly reasonable thing to do; by dog fights, screeching engines and tyres sliding on the bitumen. Or the ever-so-charming individual who believes that by renting a nearby industrial unit he has the right to super-amplified music at any time day or night. I don’t think in the 5 years I’ve lived here there has been a single night without hearing at least one set of emergency service vehicles dopplering by on one of the main roads.
Oh, and I mustn’t forget to mention Bung Lung – one of the new neighbours who, although appearing to be in his mid 20s, has the emphysemal lungs and bronchial function of a 50 a day pensioner. (We’ve started referring to their household as The Brueghels – because they’re phlegmish. (groan!) Nothing like hearing a lugey hawked up outside your window at 3am to jolt you out of a dream. (The cigarette stench is a subject for another post…)
All of those are noises which are beyond my control. When I can choose my audio surroundings, more often than not I’ll choose silence. Because it’s rare and I enjoy it. I have quite enough trouble fighting with my head to get anything done, without inviting more noise in.
I’ll listen to Radio National, if there’s something good on. My CD collection is almost exclusively female singers (loving the new Lily Allen album, and I never get tired of Kirsty MacColl)but I really only listen to music if I’m sewing or at the gym.
But Mr Beloved lives in a music centred world. Where I find it VERY difficult to process two audio signals at once (especially if one of them is voice), he thrives on audio complexity. (Not suprisingly, he’s a long time fan of Brian Eno.) I can’t read if there is competing audio – my brain just gets frustrated. My Dad can listen to radio, watch TV, AND read the newspaper all at once – I have no idea how he does it and even THINKING about it makes me feel quite ill.
My ideal world would have a soundproof room, possibly with squishy walls, and maybe a coat with arms long enough to actually fit me…
And now I’m off to take my medications. Night!
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