Silence

Again, I thought I’d blogged about this subject, but apparently not since it did not show up in a search result. I found something else, though, that made me happy and a little sad — but that’s a post for another day.

There are many kinds of people in the world but today I want to discuss two kinds. Those who like to go through life without background noise and those who like to have music or other sounds playing during their waking (and sometimes sleeping) hours.

I am the former kind of person. While I appreciate some music, I prefer to listen to it when I want to listen to it and not constantly. My husband is the other kind of person. He seems to need (although he may disagree with the verb, need) to have music or some other noise (I am using noise here in a general sense, not in a negative sense) in the background of his life at all times. In fact, when we first met, he used to have a radio playing softly when he slept. The only time my husband does not have music playing over the speakers in the house, or through headphones seems to be when he first wakes up, drinks his coffee and reads the paper. That, I think, is out of consideration to me since I usually sleep later than he does.

My husband nearly always tells our kitchen Echo to “play NPR” when he sits down to eat — breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I usually tell Alexa to stop when I join him at the table, but sometimes she talks on through our meals. My husband has even started to listening to podcasts when he goes to bed at night.

My kids are the same way — they both play music from their phones when we are in the car together and my son, at least, often hooks up his phone to our Bluetooth system and plays music — mostly music he wants me to hear because he thinks I will like it (I often do, but since I don’t much listen to music I rarely go back to it).

Other people I know like to have a television on in the background. My folks were like that to some extent. Some of my in-laws are like that. My brother often has the television playing when no one is actively watching it.

I love silence*. I love silence when I wake up in the morning and have my morning beverage. I love silence when I get ready for my day. I love silence when I work (unless it is a mindless and boring task where I sometimes watch Netflix). I usually love silence when I am driving, but often listen to NPR when I am running errands or audiobooks when I am driving long distances. I love silence when I cook dinner  (although sometimes I listen to an audiobook when I am puttering around in the kitchen). I love silence (except for conversation) when I eat dinner. I love silence when I read. I love silence when I blog. I love silence when I am falling asleep.

I know I have a hard time concentrating when there is background noise, even wordless music so that explains why I need silence when I am working or reading or blogging. But why do I like silence when I am just sitting around thinking or when I am eating?

This makes me wonder why the difference? What makes some crave silence and others crave sound? I think I am in the minority. What do you like: silence, noise or something in between?


*My silence is not like everyone’s silence because I have a bit of tinnitus. I might be one of the only people that do not consider it a burden — I figure that I always have crickets singing in my ears.

4 thoughts on “Silence

  1. I am SO with you! When I listen to music, I can’t do anything else–not read, eat, or even knit (the rhythm of the needles is distracting). Otherwise, I want quiet, except for birdsong, of course. As for the TV, faugh! unless I’m watching it. I too am married to a background-noise-tolerating guy. Earphones have saved our marriage.

  2. Nope, I’m the complete opposite. Whilst I can’t tolerate too much noise, and sometimes it’s a visceral, animal need to stop the noise, I am someone who likes to have background noise.

    My mother spent her life alone in a house on the farm (with us at school or having left, and my father mostly out on the farm all day), with no near neighbours to visit, no workplace to go to, and her contact with the world was the radio (our equivalent of NPR). I inherited that. And whilst I love silence at certain times, I feel alone and lonely without some kind of background noise. I’ll turn music or radio (or podcast) off if I seriously need to concentrate, but I love to read to background music. I hate hate hate driving in silence! You wouldn’t want a road trip with me, lol. (Though my talking would fill in the silence!)

    My husband, on the other hand, is you. Complete with tinnitus.

  3. Hey, Dona-lu,
    I have crickets in my ears, too, but I never knew that’s who they are. Ha! Good to know! I think you’ve talked about that before – making friends with the noise in our ears/heads.
    I, too, love “silence”. What’s the dif btwn silence and quiet? And yes, morning bev in quiet, and with the lights out…. on New Year’s Day I saw the supermoon setting down by your house, wonderful, I would not have been able to enjoy it so much without the quiet. I now can’t stand to have the radio on in the car when I commute; I need the quiet to think or, sometimes, not think. When I am in the mood, the right music is wonderful, energizing – but perhaps it is because it affects me so much that I cannot have it on when I’m not in the mood. Same with the radio – nowadays it often just seems like so much blah blah blah, just part of the the 24/7 news/noise cycle. It’s quiet now: the crickets in my ears, the furnace vent heating the house as we prepare for the “bomb cyclone”. The calm before the storm. :)

    1. I didn’t know you had tinnitus.

      As much as I love having Clare and Andrew around, they always have sound in the background. On Christmas Day when we were cooking dinner together I had to request 30 minutes of silence from their never-ending music playlist.

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