I wake each morning to the sound of machinery working on an infrastructure project that is directly in front of my home. The thrashing and pounding of jack hammers, gravel trucks, excavators, compactors, bulldozers and asphalt pavers begins promptly every morning at the crack of dawn. There is no need for an alarm clock.
Then, my working environment involves an endless stream of noise – from boisterous colleagues grumbling about the latest student prank in the classroom, inconsiderate ones who listen to music without headphones to students causing havoc in the halls. This is definitely not the place for anyone suffering from misophonia – sensitivity to noise. Although some people may be able to work with noise and chaos in an office it is next to impossible for me to concentrate on tasks that require logical thinking. Luckily, most of my office duties involve very little thought. However, it requires a continuous effort on my part to mentally block out the office clatter so that I can follow the latest events at the Sochi Olympics.
Yesterday, after I returned home from a long, noisy day at work I turned on the TV to watch some Olympic coverage and to block out the racket from construction work only to be disturbed by a loud crash below my window. I rushed to the window to see what all the commotion was all about – a large vehicle smashed into the barriers and jack-knifed across the street. Within a few seconds curious bystanders gathered around and created more noise.
By now, it was time to get ready for my evening walk and step out onto the streets of my city to be confronted with the obnoxious sounds of locals tooting car horns. I have come to accept this inappropriate behavior as normal and wear headphones to avoid this. I often wonder why about thirty percent of the people feel the need to greet me. I don’t know these folks and I can come up with no logical reason as to why they waste their energy tooting at me.
Thanks to the relentless noise that I encounter around me I yearn for a quiet life in the country side. I long for the tranquility and stillness of a remote cottage in the middle of a forest with no industrial equipment, no students, no colleagues, no neighbors and no traffic. If I could drown out all the unpleasant noises around me I would be able to hear the sound of silence.
When you are surrounded by noise then silence is the most beautiful sound in the world.
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