I can’t wait to hear nothing.
Noise sucks. It’s everywhere. Sound is pressure, pressure is… well not painful really, I don’t know how to describe it. I prefer silence. If I can’t get silence, I want the noise to be pleasant. Bach made some rather pleasant stuff, but even loud music with a hard drum beat can be much more pleasant than just plain noise.
It all starts with the alarm clock. We have an alarm that plays a CD, so I don’t have to listen to that horrible beeping sound. I’m sure it’s horrible on purpose, to make you get up. The problem is, I instinctively slap it to shut it off, while I’m still half asleep. Then I fall back asleep. With a CD playing, it’s good noise, it’s music.
Next is the shower, the constant sound of water. We have a large shower head, the kind that sort of simulates rain. It’s much quieter. I do prefer the strong blast of hot water, but not the noise, so the rain effect is much more pleasant overall.
Later comes the car ride to work, the road noise is annoying. There’s not much I can do about it, but I try. The last time I bought tires for my car, I made sure to buy good ones. I found out that cheap (or perhaps harder) tires can be louder than good ones. That analysis isn’t very scientific, but I did realize that when you buy tires that are designed to last 100,000 miles (ok, that’s an exaggeration) they have to be very hard rubber, whereas softer tires wouldn’t last as long but should be quieter. Sounds logical, right? I don’t know if that’s a fact in all cases, but this last set of tires was definitely quieter than the previous set. My car was getting quite old, which was a source of pride for me (I count miles like points on a video game) but it also meant that things were really wearing down, and getting louder. The tick tick tick of the valve train is slowly getting worse, the tires that have worn down now seem to be getting louder (due to the increased surface area perhaps?). I decided to replace the car. The noise was one of the reasons why I wanted a luxury car. Oh no, I can’t afford a new one, I found a great deal on an old one that is still in great condition. It’s definitely quieter than the last.
Once at work there’s the ventilation system. It’s really loud, like seriously I have no idea why it’s so loud. Residential heating/air condition is quite loud, but this is worse. But wait, there’s more. I sit directly under a vent, so I get more noise directed at me. But wait, there’s more. There’s some sort of leak in the pipes, so there’s a WHISTLING sound about half the time. A WHISTLING SOUND. LIKE A TEAPOT.
A WHISTLING SOUND.
I wear my headphones a lot, but much of the time I’m not even listening to anything, I’m just blocking the sound. There’s more sound, the common noise of people walking by, talking, and the printer. The damn printer. It squeals as it feeds the paper out. One of these days I’m going to go all Office Space on it, I swear. The conference room behind me is horrible, they often have their teleconferencing going, which of course means everyone has to yell because they think they need to for the microphone to pick up their voice. The fine people that designed the microphones have probably done a great job, you don’t need to yell. Seriously, I can hear you through the wall.
The production floor is worse, it’s a cleanroom with HEPA filters, and of course machinery and lot of people. That’s the worst, you can’t wear headphones, and it wouldn’t be a good idea anyway, since most of the time you’re talking to someone, or trying. I read lips a lot, as long as I can hear a little bit and see the person’s lips, I’m pretty good about figuring out what they’re saying. I’ll talk more about this another time, it’s not just in the cleanroom that I have a hard time understanding people. It’s exhausting though, the effort of trying to hear, and the noise, the damn noise.
The ride home, same as the ride to work. I sometimes listen to music, I sometimes don’t.
When I get home, sometimes I turn the car off, lay back and close my eyes. Just a couple minutes of quiet, it really helps. It’s sort of like recharging, makes me able to handle more noise for a bit.
Home isn’t bad, I mean, I have a say in what goes on. Going out can be a problem, a lot of restaurants are noisy. We recently went out to a noisy restaurant with friends, it was really tough. The whole time I was sitting there bouncing my legs, I do that when… well when I want. I don’t know, when I’m nervous? No, I don’t think that’s the right word. Stressed? Well perhaps, not the sort of stress that is commonly thought of, like your boss putting you on a tight deadline. It’s a pressure-relief valve. Yes, exactly. It’s taking the pressure of the situation and re-focusing it to another area. Bouncing my legs is just one way I do that. Others are wringing my hands, touch my thumb to my fingers in a rapid pattern, alternating from index to ring, then pinkie to middle. Over and over, most often both hands synchronized. Ok, so where was I… yes, the noisy restaurant. That sort of situation sticks with me for awhile. I feel pressure in my head when I get home, I need quiet. Sleep is the easiest way to get quiet, it needs no explaining that you need quiet.
We have a Jacuzzi, and it’s awesome. It’s noisy though. I HATE the jets, I don’t use them, and am quite displeased when Marie uses them. Not displeased as in mad, just, displeased. I don’t like the sound of the Jacuzzi filling up, I usually aim the faucet to the side so the water sort of runs down the side of the tub, less noise. It’s still noisy, and takes so long to fill up. That’s offset by how awesome it is to have a freaking Jacuzzi in our bedroom. Relaxation, and quiet. Sometimes we have music on, but usually softer music, calming. Ahhhh…
Talking is noise, I don’t like to talk. It’s not that I refuse to talk, it’s not that I only say a few words, I just don’t like it. I’d prefer to sit in silence, especially in loud situations. I have no idea how to describe the sensation, other people don’t seem to have any issue with it like I do. It’s a rattling that turns to pressure, I think, something like that. Whatever it is, I don’t like it much. The noisy restaurant the other day? I mostly sat there and listened to others. There was already enough noise, I didn’t need to make more.
What else makes noise? Umm, everything. I can hear the lightbulbs right now. My old TV was terrible, but now we have one that is silent. The fridge is annoying, but is pitched such that I can tolerate it.
A few months ago we were at a mall, stopped into the Bose store. I wasn’t planning to buy anything, just wanted to look around. I saw a display for noise cancelling headphones. Ooooh, cool, let me try them. WOW. Seriously, the damn noise shut off. It was quiet. Forget the music, it was *quiet*, in the middle of a mall. SWEEEEEET. Oh wait, the price tag wasn’t sweet, it was something like $300. I’m not really the type to spend that sort of coin on headphones.
Three hundred dollars. For headphones. I debated, I seriously debated. I thought about it off and on, thinking that maybe I should just do it. I don’t think I buy myself a lot of luxuries, so I deserve it, right? Maybe I should. No wait, it’s three hundred dollars, no way! Back and forth. I didn’t buy them.
A few days ago, I get a link to a set of noise cancelling headphones. A few minutes later, Marie sends me a message, with the same link. She’s looking out for me, that’s awesome. They were much cheaper, about seventy dollars. Some quick research showed that they should indeed work well, so I made the purchase. I’m still awaiting delivery of them, I seriously can’t wait for them to arrive. One of the cool features, you can remove the cord entirely and use them just for noise cancelling! Awww, the designers were thinking of me, isn’t that awesome?
So now I sit here and wait for silence. I can’t wait to hear nothing.