April 04, 2006

Appreciating the Silence

I let out a sigh of relief when I left work this afternoon. I have been coming home lately and not turning on the TV or the radio until late. Most days at work are filled with noise from the kids who are in the building. When I first started working there nearly four years ago, the noise level was not as bad. Now that the boss has allowed the child psychiatrists to use a couple of empty offices on the floor, the noise level, which has steadily gone up, has been raised some more. When I get home, the last thing I want to hear is more of that, so I've been spending many evenings in silence.

My mom always had a low tolerance for a lot of noise, and I guess I picked it up honestly from her. My younger sister and I would think we were talking at normal levels in our room, and Mom would bellow from downstairs. "Modulate your voices! You are talking too damn loud!" On Sunday, one could hear a pin drop in our house. Mom spent a good part of the day reading the newspaper, and she did not want to be disturbed. Simple requests like, "Can I have a drink of water?" or "Can I go outside?" were met with a hard stare from over the top of her eyeglasses.

I never cease to amazed at the high levels of noise in houses where kids and/or teens are present. High pitched squeals, constant giggling, squabbles over anything, CD players booming, and more. Whenever my youngest niece comes to visit me, the TV is always tuned to the daily video music show and the phone receiver remains glued to her ear. I wonder how parents can stand it day in and day out. It seems most of them have no control over the noise, or else, they've given up trying.


s said...

Add "the noise factor" to the myriad of reasons why I chose never to have children. I value and enjoy peace and quiet too much.

Anonymous said...

Noise. There's white noise and then there's just static. My parents used to say "Silence is Golden. Get Rich!"

It can be music, but music can be a whole range of emotions and let's face it we all have different tastes and moods.

For years now I have had an aversion to visiting the family home in Southern California. This is home to my most beloved relatives, including a niece and nephew whom I adore, but the TV is always one, sometimes more than one. Luckily, they have a big beautiful backyard, that I can escape to. The only quiet time in that house is at night, because as soon as the kids are up, their shows go on. I am always relieved to be back home in my own space. My cousin and I marvel all the time at how different our lives are.

AlphaGirl said...

I guess I'm a bit ageist when it comes to noise. I don't mind "teen noise" as much. I live in a guest house, and my landlord's college-age granddaughter and some of her friends stayed in the main house during spring break...I didn't mind hearing the TV, laughing, music, etc. It gave the property some life, and they were more than courteous about toning it down at night. By contrast, one of my next door neighbors has pre-school age kids, and they make me crazy...screeching, crying, chattering nonsense, and baby jabber all drive me up the wall! My dad used to really crack down on us when we were small and started jabbering nonsense..."that's monkey chatter!" he'd say. "You can talk to me when you REALLY have something to say" I guess that's where it came from.
Aside from all that, I need to have some music playing or some kind of background noise when I work...provided it's coherent ;)

twiga92 said...

This past weekend we were visiting some friends who have small children. We were doing some scrapbooking. I found the noise and chaos was very distracting to try to work on my scrapbook pages. Plus I'm an introvert, so I need some peace and quiet on a regular basis to maintain my sanity.

NikkiJ said...

There is some noise I can simply tune out, but kiddy noise isn't it. There is something about children yelling screaming (particularly hyperactive ones, and is it me or do they all seem to be these days??) that sets my teeth on edge. I've noticed parents seem to be able tune that noise out, I suppose they have to. If they want to compete with it, they have to yell louder than the children, and that's pretty loud. One of the wonderful childfree pleasures, that I never take for granted is that when I come home after work, I come home to a wonderful haven of peace and quiet. I'm fortunate that where I live has no kids - those that we sometimes see are usually grandkids of some the residents, who come for a visit. But then, that's partly why we chose our where we live anyway. I often just sit and enjoy the silence. I also can tune out background noise like the tv if I happen to put it on,

I pretty much have to learn to tune out some noise since I work in an open plan office!

ChrisR said...

"One of the wonderful childfree pleasures, that I never take for granted is that when I come home after work, I come home to a wonderful haven of peace and quiet."

NikkiJ you've hit the nail right on the head! One of the flats in my block has a woman with kids visit occasionally & she can't understand why I don't want her screaming girls outside my window. Luckily the guys who live there know to tell them off! But then, I shouldn't have had to 'defend my patch' in the first place.