Our culture seems almost pathologically incapable of existing in the public sphere without inundating our senses with constant and invasive input. Go to the grocery store, noise playing or a television blaring in the background. Go to a coffee shop, loud noise playing, not even in the background. Go to the pool, loud noise playing on speakers. Those of us who would wish for the simple noises of the locale we are in are not even considered. We don’t exist in the mind’s of most of those in charge of public places.
The constant noise and bombardment wears me out. I feel it in my bones and cells whenever I go somewhere with a screen blaring or speakers turned much too high. Too much input! Every time it makes me wonder how many children with learning problems or various forms of autism or any other ailment where the senses cannot quite process all that is going on around them suffer in these places when those of us without any such ailment can barely tolerate it. It bothers me when I go somewhere that is theoretically designed with children in mind and the biggest thing available to them is a screen blaring some noise. I leave. My children, having been raised away from such things, are exhausted and overwhelmed by it all. I suspect other children are too. Both of my girls were always able to play and entertain themselves for hours on end. I gave credit to the fact that a television never babysat them. I find when either of them are around televisions for any length of time, they become hyper. Used as a tool to keep children busy, it is ironic that it seems to result in the opposite of the behavior desired. I’m an adult and televisions overstimulate me. I can’t imagine how it is for small children, with the constant noise and rotating images and advertising and noise, and more noise, and again, noise.
In any case, I began this post two days ago after going to a swim park with noisy music blaring. I later entered a grocery store with music so loud the cashier could not speak to me without yelling, all the while televisions were screaming in the background–well, foreground, really. It was all too much. Now it is days later and I’m at home and hear some birds outside and a breeze moving through the Camellia bush outside my window and the urge to write about all of it has passed. Such is the nature of my life these days. Maybe in having little to no time to express the writing urges, they have just left. I don’t know. I blame some of it on being a working single mother, so I guess I’ll know when my little one is bigger and off at school and time frees up a bit. If the writing urges take over again, I’ll know it was the busy-ness. If not, maybe it was a part of me that is gone. Such is life. Maybe I’ll mourn it when the time comes. For now, I’m just enjoying being able to hear myself think.