Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Sounds of Silence

I've been going through changes my whole life, but only since I turned thirty have I even started to watch them. One recent change, happening over the past year and a half, has been my turning away from constant media noise in my environment. That's a fancy way of saying I turn off the television, radio and stereo a lot. During the day I might listen to talk radio some; at night I may watch certain, specific shows or occasionally have the television on for background noise. I hardly ever listen to music any more, something I used to do a whole lot.

I enjoy the quiet, or at least as quiet as it gets living in the middle of Midtown Memphis with Union Avenue a block away. Wind, traffic noise like a rush of wind, neighbors up and down the street, planes overhead are my background now. I kinda like it.

Sometimes I have to deal with loud, ignorant neighbors, or the bozos who walk down my block. "Udi. Udi! UDI! I'm talking to you! Hey. HEY! HEY MAN!! Wait up." Or cars with killer stereos or a clutch of people hanging out on the sidewalk talking mindless trash. But I can live with that.

The past couple of days have seen steady winds up to twenty MPH, so that mostly covers a lot of the unpleasant stuff. I don't turn on the television before 6PM any more, sometimes not until 8, if at all. I never listen to radio past late afternoon. I don't listen to music at all. That's not to say I don't keep up with news. I do, usually through the Internet, which is silent and I can control it.

I've disconnected from the media fog that usually surrounds us and I like it. Going into restaurants where the big-screen television is always on distracts me fiercely now. I'll have to make adjustments to find other, quieter places. The pace of life is a little bit slower, more human-scaled. My anxiety levels are way down; I'm less enervated. My connection to the world around me feels more real, instead of edited, mediated and poured all over me like goo.

It's nice. Try it some time.

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