What’s wrong with silence? It seems, of late, there is an all-out assault on quiet.
Take for example my recent trip to the dentist where I was excited to get a crown. (Nothing like grinding away at a damaged tooth to brighten your day.) In any case, I selected a magazine – that is an archaic news-delivery device – and sat down to read.
There were several other dental patients waiting, all with heads firmly planted in the cellphone screens. And, yet, a TV blared reruns from the Home& Garden network. Now, I love a good international house hunt where Americans insist that they need five bedrooms and five baths on the chance that someone may come to visit. (Have they not heard of hotels?) Still, no one was paying the least attention to the TV. It was just making noise. So, I considered asking that the volume be turned off, but wondered if I might upset the fragile dental waiting-room applecart with such a request. Luckily, my name was called and I was off for an hour of hearing nothing but drilling.
Later, I headed to my health club for a swim and a steam, which would surely make me feel superior – Hey, I worked out! – and pleasantly relaxed. But no. I had to listen to some guy’s music which boomed from his headphones in that steamy environment. I wondered if he was hard of hearing. Clearly, if I waited long enough, he would be.
Then, I went to put gas in my car. Imagine my surprise when the pump called to me. I punched the button for Regular and jumped when an anchor-type woman – all coifed and pretty – started telling me about products I just had to have. I wanted to say, “Honey, was this your dream? Did you aspire to talk to people from a screen on a gas pump?” Later, I looked up gas-station advertising and found this: Advertising at a fuel station is a great way to reach drivers in a captive setting. And that is exactly what I felt like: a captive, an animal in a zoo. It’s not like I could leave without filling my tank. I was trapped.
My question is whatever happened to quiet? When did silence become the enemy? When did it become a good idea to fill every waking moment with man-made sound? Perhaps, if the trend continues, we might someday be unable to abide silence.
I worry about that.
Is there a solution? I actually found a product that says it will solve the noise problem. You can order a DVD for $29.95. It’s silent. All you have to do is “turn the volume all the way up to drown out all that extraneous noise.”
I’ve got to think about that for a while. Now, if I could only find a quiet place to ruminate.
Blank Slate Press/Amphorae Publishing Group
Price: $16.95 Paperback, $9.99 eBook
As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.