14 October 2018

A Mental Mugging

I had the occasion to be in several waiting rooms the past week and found the same annoyance in all of them. Blaring televisions, usually spouting a certain unintelligent 'news' station. It's damn aggravating. And people are just riveted, staring at the black box on the wall, drool dripping down their chin. Well, I may have exaggerated the last part, but not by much. Vacant eyes and vacant gaze.

When did we start undervaluing the benefits of silence? Is internal contemplation so painful we have to fill every waking moment with noise?  Am I alone in preferring my wait time not be populated with background blather? The worst I do is read a book, check Instagram for pretty pictures, or do some navel gazing. And I'm trying to phase the book and phone out and just use the time for a little mindfulness practice.

Several people mentioned to me my place of work should have some background music in the office. Oh, hell no. First comes the inevitable fight over country or pop. (Nobody listens to the blues anymore.) I would hate the constant, insidious noise leaking into my brain. Worse if it was a radio station with its irritating commercials and shouty preaching. I pity retail workers, especially at holiday time. How many Rudolf's can one person take before they snap and stab a customer with a candy cane?

Silence. Consider cultivating some. Embrace it. Reflect. What would it hurt? You may learn something, or may just learn the lack of noise makes you very uneasy. All progress. Or you can be like me when you find yourself alone in the waiting room. Reach up and snap the television off. If you can't reach, unplug it.

There, I feel better already.


Anonymous said...

Earplugs,always have them in my pocket.
And I bring a book for my rare waiting room visits.
A great way to tune out that stupid news(?) channel that begins with a "C"......

Using earplugs also helps save my sanity in loud crowded stores like Walmart,(think screaming brats, etc)

But you have to be extra vigilant,so you don't get run over by a smart phone zombie,yakking while trying to "drive" a shopping cart!

Kathleen Cassen Mickelson said...

Silence is not appreciated, that's for sure. But how would people who have never sat in silence long enough to discover its gifts know that? It's not that it's painful; it's unfamiliar at this point in our culture. To sit quietly without doing something is truly a lost art that we need to resurrect. Maybe your example will pique some curiosity in someone else.