The Sound of Silence
Once upon a time, I loved having noise around me as I worked. (I grew up in the 1970s, and I attended a “school without walls”, where classrooms were open, and there was a huge amount of ambient noise. I grew accustomed to working in that environment, although I understand that education is trending away from such things these days…)
I used to have a whole variety of writing music, with different mix-tapes (yes, this was a long time ago!) for different emotions. I relied on some pre-recorded music, too — often, the soundtracks to movies. I could still probably hum the entire soundtrack to Star Wars (A New Hope), if you just start me off with the first note!
Over time, though, I have found that I need to concentrate much more on my work. I find all but the *most* familiar music distracting (and even that becomes unworkable for me, if there are lyrics.) I have a small handful of fall-backs, about a half dozen albums that I listen to through my headphones, when I’m forced to work in an environment with a lot of background noise.
Today, I’m working at the public library. As has happened the last few times I was here, a group took over two tables and started talking — in street-level volume — about their real estate project. I shot them dirty looks and grumbled to myself and complained inside my head.
And then I remembered that there is a Quiet Study Room. One used to have to get permission to use it, signing up in advance. These days, though, it’s first come, first served, and there are spaces for about forty workers.
I’m in the Quiet Study Room now, and it is heaven. The *only* noise is from people shifting in their chairs, the occasional turn of a page, the tap of fingers on a keyboard (and I’m the loudest at that, much to my embarrassment). No talking. No cell phones, even for a quick call. No headphones with music bleeding. Sheer, unadulterated silence.
How about you? Are you a silence fetishist? Or a background noise person?