"I have often felt that, as a society, public places have become too loud. Also, at weddings and other big family parties, the music often plays so very loud, you can't even talk to all the relatives and friends you hoped to catch up with. I find myself seeking out restaurants and coffee shops where the noise level is low enough to actually carry on a conversation. Does anyone else feel this way?"
Indoor noise pollution is on the rise. Loud music, tables crammed together in restaurants, beepers beeping, crazy cell phone ring tone intruders, text messages chiming in from every direction, and, as far as I'm concerned, TV is the biggest culprit of all.
In the beginning TV was entertaining and harmless. Families gathered in their living rooms at the end of the day to watch shows like—
—three network channels to choose from and a fuzzy PBS. Then, like a discreet dandelion in a meadow, TVs spread far and wide. They are everywhere. In gyms, TVs are sprawled across the walls or attached to every cardio machine. TVs are in minivans, inside computers and in billions of rooms in houses, hotels and schools around the world. Most bars have at least three. One restaurant I dined in once had a portable flat screen in every booth where the flip jukeboxes used to be.
Just look at the first bullet from a Kindle Fire ad on Amazon.com:
- Over 20 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books
Where does the TV invasion bug me most? Doctors' waiting rooms. I actually used to look forward to going to medical appointments just for the wait. Find a comfy chair, open an ignored book or thumb through one of the office magazines. Maybe find out if Jennifer Aniston ever had that baby or how Princess Kate and Queen Elizabeth are getting along. Now, there's too much background noise to focus—the TV blaring, the fish tank gurgling, office machines rumbling, other patients chatting on their cell phones. No wonder more people than ever are taking blood pressure medicine. Could it be related to noise?
For the answer, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/20/nyregion/in-new-york-city-indoor-noise-goes-unabated.html
The way the TV weed is spreading, we'll soon see these noisemakers attached to our grocery carts and as an amenity at campsites.
As Robyn asked, "Does anyone else feel this way?"
KICK BACK BOOK OF THE WEEK:
AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller. At age 42, David Miller escapes the noise of the world to fulfill a dream and hike the 2,172 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Mesmerizing descriptions of nature, fear, isolation, reflection and determination.
KICK BACK SONG OF THE WEEK:
One sound that never turns into noise is rain falling. This song by Dar Williams recognizes its loveliness in The Beauty of the Rain.
A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA:
An excerpt from my soon to be released novel, A Stop in the Park, where the main character, Michael Stolis, contemplates what to do about his noisy home:
The congestion finally dissipated and Michael drove down the tree-lined brick street where his Federal-style home welcomed him. When the driveway came into view, he couldn't make himself pull in. Behind the front door, the TV would be blaring, the kids would be bickering and Jamie would be blasting her iPod in the kitchen. He just knew it. He let the car idle in front of the house and sat as still as a frozen tree branch, not sure what to do. If he went inside, he'd explode.