About six months ago, I started to notice something.
The world has a lot of background noise.
A lot. The sounds of traffic, people talking on the mobile phones, music booming out of the car next to you at a stoplight, barking dogs, crying babies--the list just goes on and on.
Keep in mind that I have never been too distracted by ambient sound. One notable exception comes to mind from about eight years ago when Paul and I sat through some pre-marital counseling sessions. The therapist’s cozy one room office was situated just off the park in old Fair Oaks. The park in old Fair Oaks also housed a battalion of ferial chickens and roosters. For ten sessions, Paul and I sat side-by-side on an overstuffed couch and waited for emotional breakthroughs to occur. As a critical moment approached, a fervent ****-A-DOODLE-DOO erupted breaking all of my concentration. All I could think about was KFC for dinner. It was ridicules. We finished up our ten sessions and never went back. I blame the chickens.
With two daughters under five, there is a lot of background noise in my life these days. There is the constant background soundtrack of stupid Scooby Doo that never seems to go away. In addition, my (nearly) five year old has taken to incessantly asking questions. Seriously, she can cram twenty questions into a 45 second time frame. She doesn’t even wait for you to answer. She just jumps right to the next question. My two and a half year old screams and acts like a two and a half year old all of the time. For the record, two and a half year olds are very noisy. They are very noisy while they scream “No!” and “I don’t like you!” and “I want to pick it out!” and “I don’t want milk!” and “Go away!”
You get the idea.
But it isn’t just the kids. Chatter and noise permeates everywhere. To combat this, I started to do something that I never thought I would do.
I now walk around nearly all of the time I am in public wearing my ipod. Podcasts, audio books, and music drown out the background noise.
And I love it.
When I am outside “away from it all” or at least “away from most of it” I have no problem pulling out the ear buds. I love the sounds of rushing water or birds. I love listening to my kids laugh, play, and sing.
All of the background activity, though, has really started to make me nuts. I like the quiet of my own head and thoughts. I like my NPR and Adam Corolla in bite-size podcast pieces. In a weird way, my ipod time feels almost like real alone time. I can shop at Target, wait in line at the grocery store, or walk around Capital Park during lunch time and feel like I carved out a little time for myself.