Saturday, January 06, 2007

Sound vs. Noise

So, one day of the new scene completed and I'm still sane, just about. I feel bad moaning about these people - it's not that I don't like them or anything. I just wish they'd shut up for 5 minutes. Maybe in time I'll settle down, feel less disorientated and get used to it. Or maybe this is a hint that it's time to find another job. Come lunchtime, I rushed out of the office and tried to find somewhere quiet to eat my lunch, not an easy task. I find myself longing increasingly for quiet, and increasingly aware of how difficult it is to find it. There's something uniquely irritating about unwanted noise, I think it's because you can avert your eyes from something you don't want to look at, but you can't avert your ears. I was looking at one of those mp3 players with noise cancelling headphones on some website or other the other day. Trouble with that is that it's still using music just as a blanket to smother the rest of the world, something I heartily disapprove of on the whole, and also it just cancels out everything. When I'm on the tube, I don't mind the noise of the train and the like, I rather enjoy listening to ambient noise like that (yeah, I know, weirdo). What really grates with me is the tinny hiss leaking from earphones. I suppose it's because it's something imposed upon the situation rather than arising from it. What I need is something that can selectively cancel out the noise I don't want to hear, and leave the sounds I want to listen to.

Id like to be tremendously Buddha-like and decide to choose to accept and listen to whatever sounds happen to reach my ears as simply part of the world. it's not easy to achieve that level of enlightenment on the Central Line at 8.30 in the morning, though.


Cheerful One said...

Several years ago my aunt got some of those builder's earphones (mufflers? headphones? Oh, I dunno) so that she could enjoy a little peace. Noise intolerance runs in my family - I favour earplugs, training my classes to work in silence (at least some of the time) and cutting sarcasm for those colleagues who talk too much.

petemaskreplica said...

Yopu can train your class to be silent? You must teach me this eldritch trick. Although I suspect this office may prove a taller order.

Cheerful One said...

It's a combination of rigorous and over-the-top praise and carefully placed performance anger. It's probably possible to apply this to the office environment but might you feel like a bit of a twat telling your colleagues 'I am so impressed by how quietly you're working, well done!'

My other trick for a quiet classroom is to give out some handwriting, which has an almost magical effect. Perhaps you could try that? ;)

petemaskreplica said...

With this knowledge I shall rule the world! Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

Not sure I could get away with the handwriting trick, cute though it is - my own is so bad I fear I'd be hoist by my own petard.