Wednesday, November 02, 2005

noise pollution - inner or outer?

oak arch

"Broadly speaking, any form of unwelcome sound is noise pollution, whether it is the roar of a jet plane overhead or the sound of a barking dog a block away." -

I'm not very good with other people's noise. A boyfriend left me because I have asked the punk in the bus leaking 'shd shd shdong shd' from his huge headphones to please turn his music down; my intolerance has caused a neighbour to place his pink plastic radio on the windowsill at 6 am blaring 'cherie fm' (and if you don't know it, it consists of endless Celine Dion diarrhohea) across the five inches between our houses; I utterly unreasonably abhor colleagues practising in the room next to me on tour and am wont to punish them by pulling hairs both from their bows and heads; the lime green scooters that rear their testosterone-fuelled ends up the delicate sand formations by our house get the eye and would get a lot more if I hadn't learned that they have the power make our lives a misery; I have walked out of the only restaurant in town and missed dinner because of piped music; I am close to filing for divorce when my dear husband leans over my shoulder to help me with a computer problem and chews his toast in my ear.....

....and now I discover - "didn't the estate agent tell you?" snigger snigger - that we are in a concentrated military aircraft zone.

I am horrible and violence, even if it is only in my mind, is often close. I'm a criminal in the making.

At the end of my jog today I decided to take advantage of the fire-light of the sun setting over the vines and the calm of the birds' evensong and sit on a wall to meditate. As if having lain in wait for me, they all came gleefully - the barking dog, the rampant teenagers on mopeds, the speeding car and the fighter jets. I managed not to react physically by turning, glaring, or sticking two fingers up into the sky, which was a triumph. My mind, however, was plotting serial killings until, as one of the scooters revved up just as he passed (and probably performed a loop the loop to get me to open my eyes), I suddenly felt a delicious detachment from it all, as if my mind has sprouted wings and could fly away and watch from above. I wanted to burst out laughing. The sense of freedom from my affliction lasted about 30 seconds.

I realise more and more that it is all in the mind, that the world is a noisy place and that, rather than be addicted to silence and be angry every time my 'right' to it is taken away, I should learn to rise above my irritation with the sounds around me and rather develop inner calm. This is why, though I am tempted to join these guys, I shall aspire to learn from these guys instead.


Anonymous rizbyhyko said...

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11:15 AM  
Blogger Jean said...

Thank you for the link to Santa Barbara Institute!

Wow, the Autumn colours in your recent photos are utterly stunning.

I don't see why you can't identify with both your guys and foster inner and outer change equally (yeah, easier said than done, when fostering either is so extremely hard :-)

Re noise pollution, I hope my neighbours like Opera Proibita, because they're probably getting it through the wall from my place several hours a day since my cd arrived. Really hard to accept that I may be a source as well as a victim. Not that I play it unreasonably loudly, but the walls are thin.

By the way, Mary and I have just secured nearly the last tickets to your London concert in December.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Jean said...

I just followed a link from your brother to your mother and saw that she used to live in a cohousing community some of whose members I know, as I'm a member of a group trying to develop a similar community. I do like it when I find links between different strands of people and interests; makes me feel the world is not such a huge, impersonal place...

4:07 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Thank you for the link, Ruth. Most interesting.

That photo is an incredible combination of colors and doorway. Really striking.

5:31 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

wow that's amazing Jean. Who are your friends in laughton? My dear friends are Nick Campeau and Sophie, but I know a lot of them. My mum's now living in a trulli in Italy!
opera prohibita eh? I hope it's good. One day maybe I'll buy it too!
I hope there's a ticket left for my hub!

6:34 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Your comment about noisy motorbikes reminds me of a few years ago when I was standing in the farmhouse of my parents-in-law, watching a man with a large microphone record the noise levels from a motorbike rally going on in the neighbouring farm.

My parents-in-law were angry about the events that their neighbour was putting on every other Sunday without ever consulting them.

The man with the microphone was a noise pollution inspector.

As it turned out, the noise levels were not of pollution level, although they were irritating in the calm of a summer afternoon. For someone living in a city, they would have been just the everyday background noise.

So, these things are relative. To make a visual analogy: a splatter of paint on a wall covered with floral William Morris wallpaper will most likely disappear. As opposed to a splatter of paint on a white wall...

There is therefore an irony: the more we seek perfect outer tranquility, the more difficult it is to find. I think you're right to suggest that the search for an inner tranquility is more important.

12:27 AM  
Blogger ruth said...

thank you taupe and spot on. I am that person who hires the noise pollution officer, or dare I say I was? I am now taking full responsibility for my inner motorbike raleigh. It's a long journey but it is possible, I'm sure and I think for me meditation really helps.
Nice analogy about the wallpaper too.

11:56 AM  
Blogger CoffeeDog said...

I'm the same way with noises. When I was a kid the TV was blaring while I was trying to do myhomework and I screamed at my mom, "turn that damn thing off!" I was horrified that I said a cuss word at such a young age and thought for sure I'd get spanked, but it was ok!

11:53 PM  
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