Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Silence is the true friend that never betrays. -Confucius

I'm starting to think I have a real problem. I have a real issue with noise and I don't like it. On any typical day, if I had my choice, I would sit in silence.

And I mean silence... no music, no talking, no NPR, no drumming fingers, no anything.

I haven't always been this way. I used to love music, chit chat, and NPR. I find that more and more often I'm turning these things off when my husband leaves the room. It drives him nuts. He loves to be surrounded by music. He loves to play the piano to de-stress. He loves to get his news from NPR, while the bacon sizzles, Linus screams for more food, and the cats yowl for their own meal. For me, it's just too much.

I think my aversion to sound began when I was living in the dorm. The girl in the room next to me had an intense dependence on Sarah McLachlan's Adia to wake up in the morning. She listened to it every morning at least five times. (My husband ALSO has this annoying habit of playing a song into the ground.) I loved Sarah McLachlan but really hated Adia.

I think my aversion grew even more significant as a teacher. Not that I didn't like noise in my classroom, I loved it. We played music as a transition from one activity to the next. I loved lots of boisterous discussion during science labs, book discussions, center time, etc. I loved noise in my classroom. But when I got home, I craved silence.

Then came the final nail in the coffin for me: colic. Linus's cries were the worst sound I had EVER heard. It was a sound I couldn't stop, lessen, or even change no matter how much I tried or cried myself. There were hours where Adrian and I had to each take ten minute shifts holding a screaming Linus so that the other one could get ten minutes of silence. I think these minutes were what finally sent me over the edge. I began to view silence as a requirement to relax, to be able to think.

Even as I sit here typing, I can hear my husband banging away on his plastic Rock Band drums, and I can barely string words together.

I'm pretty sure I've always had a proclivity towards silence. Whenever I needed to study intensely I sought silence, but I don't know when silence became a requirement to even function.

It needs to change. I have so much music that is going unplayed and so many fantastic NPR stories that I am missing out on. Not to mention just being able to allow my husband to be the musical person he is.

I need rehab. Is there music therapy for the silence lover? If so, I think I need to start.

Silence is the virtue of fools. -Francis Bacon


Midwest Mom said...

Oh, Abby. I am such a fan of silence, too. Have you tried cucumbers on the eyes? LOOOOOOve it! (That was Wheezy from Dragon Tales... what a geek I am.)

Seriously, I think there is nothing wrong with wanting/needing peace, especially if it refreshes you for the Mom-work ahead of you. Sometimes I like to play hookie on a Saturday morning or go out for a walk before the world wakes up just to get myself ready and to feel like I spent some time hearing the real sounds of the world instead of all the sounds in a can (radio, TV, toys with batteries!)...

I hope you don't forsake your need for silence. In small but frequent doses, it keeps me human.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm just like you--when no one is home, nothing is on. I think I have some ADD because it's such a distraction and there seems to be always TOO MUCH Noise!

Jennifer said...

You are NOT alone! If my husband wants to talk to me I make him turn off whatever else is making noise first :) One noise at a time, please.