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Turning A Deaf Ear To Yourself With Noise

What are people so damn afraid of hearing that they have to make so much noise all the time? Whether it's having their televisions or radios on all the time, roaring around in cars with special attachments to make them louder, or continually talking at the tops of their voices they always sound like they're trying desperately to drown something out.

They can't go out into their gardens without taking some sort of power tool with them; hedge trimmer, lawnmower, weed whacker, leaf blower, or chain saw. Heaven forbid they should actually sit still and enjoy the restful attributes of a beautiful garden or a secluded yard. It's as if they only created the places as arenas for utilizing the latest in lawn gizmos and excuses to make even more noise.

Gone are the idyllic days when husbands had to be booted out of the hammock, away from their beer and rest, in order to mow maybe trim the lawn. It now seems that nobody can wait to get out there and get at it to make some noise. Did they misunderstand that KISS concert they went to all those years ago when they urged to make some noise? Instead of recognising it for the same old rock star bullshit they have taken it as their personal mantra for middle age and beyond.

You can almost see their lips moving, repeating the magic words "make some noise, make some noise" over and over again. Perhaps they think that by chanting the words in accompaniment to the actions of churning out hundreds if not thousands of decibels they would be able to reclaim some of their lost youth. Who knows?

It's not just men either, women can be just as bad, and they even have more ways of drowning out the world around them at their disposal aside from garden tools and electric saws. Vacuums. Good lord some of them are as loud as power sanders and probably have the same effect on carpets as sanders have on wooden floors. Stripping layers of carpet away and not just lifting the dirt off.

Of course they also have the television on while they are vacuuming. In order to hear over the noise they make while sanding their carpets, they have to crank the volume on the set so high it throws the sonar of passing airplanes out of whack and sends them off course..

I used to wonder why people standing next to each other were shouting loud enough for others two blocks away to hear. It's because they've gone deaf from their damned noisemakers and can't carry on a conversation anymore without shouting.

On more then one occasion I have heard people complaining about the noise of somebody else's machinery and wince when they hear it. But they will think nothing of turning on something of their own that makes an equal if not louder noise. Is somebody else's noise always louder than your own? Or is it that our noise is justified because it accomplishes its task by drowning out whatever thoughts we don't like we might be having at the time?

When I was younger I liked loud music, and I used to go out to bars and stand right under the speaker stacks, but I stopped doing that by the time I was in my mid twenties. But even when I was doing that it was only for a specific instance in time and not on a continuous basis. It was stupid fun to leave a bar with your ears ringing very faintly and feeling like your head was in a fishbowl because of the pressure increase behind your eardrums.

I watch these kids drive around in their little Hondas made to sound like Ferraris, and see the whole car vibrating as it drives down the street because of the massive bass speakers in the trunk. I wonder how loud is it inside that little box of tin if I can hear and feel the bass from over two blocks away?

Even if they were sitting in a basement somewhere shooting crack into their arm they couldn't be doing any more damage to their ability to think and be aware of the world around them. Why are all these people out there desensitizing themselves with noise? What are they so afraid of feeling, or hearing that one way or another people of all ages have turned the volume up past ten?

I know from living next door to noise junkies and experiencing collateral damage that even at a distance it's almost impossible to hold on to coherent thoughts. Trying to write or think up ideas on what to write while that cacophony is proceeding is next to impossible. What must it be like for them?

When I was abusing alcohol and drugs I was doing it to shut my brain down so I wouldn't have to think about things that made me uncomfortable. It desensitized me so that I couldn't feel or remember anything. Now I'm not saying that all these people have personal stuff they're running away from but they sure seem to blocking out something.

Seeing how most of the men in my neighbourhood are on early retirement, perhaps they are trying to avoid thinking about the days to come. But what's going to happen with them when the future arrives and they haven't prepared mentally and emotionally for it? There's no point in obsessing on the future, but that doesn't mean you ignore it.

The young people in their cars are escaping their realities as well. They may have jobs, but what do they pay, and what kind of future do they hold? What do they have to look forward to? When that nihilism is combined with youth's belief in their own immortality, and immunity to danger it goes a long way to explaining the flash and desperation of their lifestyle.

They seem to be attempting to cram danger and excitement into their lives in an attempt to deny the bleakness of their future and the banality of their jobs through their music and vehicles. The voice in their head that is telling them they are being cheated out of something can't be heard when they are crammed into a small tin box that is exploding with sound.

They know it won't last forever, that they will be absorbed into the great maw of society that will devour and turn them into their parents. The louder the music the less chance they have of hearing the voice of doom until it is right in their face.

The trouble with avoidance as a philosophy of life is that when you finally do get around to facing up to stuff, it's become that much harder to deal with. Whether you've deadened emotional pain with narcotics, drowned your heart with alcohol, or blocked out the warning voice of reason with noise it will all come home to roost one day like Turkey Vultures and the shock will be severe.

But so many people seem to not care that what they don't do today will come back to make their life worse in the future. No matter how loud you make your life, you may be able to avoid listening to your problems or thinking about them for a while but not forever.

So why not try to make a little less noise now and than, and hear a little better. Maybe, that way when the future arrives it won't be as bad as the thoughts you've avoided were leading you to believe it would be. You also might find that there are a lot of nice things to listen to in the world. Consider that a bonus.


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Comments

Dear Richard Marcus,
Thank you for your very insightful thoughts on noisemakers. My ears are still ringing from the trailer park next door, I had to stay outside with our pet rabbits to keep them from going insane from the extremely loud fireworks being shot into the air from our disrespectful neighbors next door. Actually 250 yards from our home in a rural area is where these fireworks were being shot into the air. These fireworks unfortunately were exploded for 1 and 1/2 half hours. It is now 11:45 P.M. and my ears are still ringing from the fireworks noise. We hate fireworks of all kinds. We have Asthma and dislike any type on smoke polluting the air we breathe. Law enforcement would do nothing because we are, according to them, "outside the city limits." Law enforcement in this small Louisiana town are useless when it comes to stopping crime such as Drive-by Shootings from this trailer park, Boom Vehicles that blast noise which can be heard for a mile coming and a mile going. Thank you for your input, there are many, many people in this world that think like you and I. Thankfully, we outnumber the noisemakers.
Sincerely,
Rex Stuart