The Big Silence

Noises Off: Day 1

And so it begins.

 

As I wrote yesterday, I am taking a week-long leave of absence from extraneous sound (TV, radio, music) to see what happens to my brain and ears.  This has been on my mind for a while; I regularly wince at adverts and yell ‘turn it off’ at my husband or the remote control; I feel the glum coming on if I’m forced to deal with two different noise sources at once (i.e unexpected pop up advert from a ‘work from home’ housewife and the CSI theme tune).  And then, when you add the chatter from my own mind ….sheesh, wadda you godda do to get some peace around here?

 

So I’m on an audio detox and much like any other fasting/cleansing/purging programme, I started out this morning feeling great, only for this to subside and quickly replaced by a gnawing sense of abandonement and regret by mid-afternoon.  Seriously, the morning was great, without breakfast television or radio I felt almost serene and was up and ready in record time.

 

But it would appear that nature truly truly abhors a vacuum because by the time I was out of the house and on the way to work, my mind had decided to cover the break in transmission with some of its top drawer chatter.  I had to remind myself to observe the babble and let it drift out of its own accord – easier said than done.

The biggest challenge so far has been dealing with other people’s music.  No tune sounds good when you’re on the wrong end of the earphone and the train was replete with several mini sound stages, competing for the title of ‘tinniest musical experience that you are not invited to but must endure from across the carriage’. Of course, previously I would have recourse to my i-pod, but today, alas, no.  For the duration I sat with my hands pressed to my ears, not even trying to cover my minor meltdown with an act of public pretending, just blocking. Out. That. Sound.  Ye Gods!  The most unlikely people listen to the most unlikely things and at the most unlikely volume at the most unlikely hours (feel free to substitute the word ‘unlikely’ with the word ‘horrific’.)

 

Still, the positives are that living in a state of relative silence, one feels a real sense of preparedness, a constructive tension as if ready to ‘go on’, like a boxer before a fight or an actor in the wings.  If you can tune out from the random thoughts that your brain relays, you feel genuinely sharp and sort of …..excited?  I can’t think of a better word for it, but the feeling is akin to genuinely listening, waiting for something, feeling the potential of a moment.  I can’t really describe it any better than this, but underneath the withdrawal pangs, there is something lovely about the silence.  Let’s see how it goes.

 

“The life of sensation is the life of greed: it requires more and more.  The life of the spirit requires less and less'”

(Annie Dillard)

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