Monday, July 05, 2010


Our world is noisy. And it seems to be getting noisier all the time. I don't understand the point of noise. Why do we need it?

Obviously, a yelp of surprise is reason for us to pay attention. It's a way to warn us of possible danger. A car horn tells us to exercise caution. But noise for the sake of just noise makes no sense to me. It's jarring to me and disrupts my thought processes.

I grew up in a household that came with a lot of noise. My first career was in radio, a job in which I controlled sound. I've always thought it was probably no accident that I liked having volume control buttons on the sound in my world.

When editing audio, being able to hear subtleties is important. If you cut in the middle of a breath, or don't let someone have a natural pause, it sounds artificial. I was very good at those details of audio editing.

Some years ago I had a boyfriend who would walk into my apartment and turn on the television. It was an automatic wish to have that noise going on. The relationship didn't last long, and that was part of the reason. Unlike him, I had absolutely no need to have extraneous noise in my world.

I read a few years ago there are very few places left on the planet that have no man-made sounds bleeding into them, and no where left in the US where you can experience that. In the intervening years I'd tried to find a spot. I've listened carefully in canyons near Amarillo, open prairie in Kansas, the jungle of Guatemala and the desert of Egypt. Unfortunately, I've not yet been able to experience a moment without some manmade sound being present.

I find that terribly sad.

1 comment:

sigerson said...

Some people need a certain amount of controlled noise. I run the air-conditioner fan or the white-noise generator all the time. It's especially important when it's time to sleep. I suppose the key is that this is noise I can control and eliminate if I wish.