It’s one o’clock in the morning here in Lockhart, and for the first time today, I find myself unable to hear a television. That’s not to say that there isn’t a television on somewhere in this house. I’m sure that dad is still up watching something in his room, and the TV in the living room is possessed by some kind of TV demon that actually turns itself back on if you dare turn it off.
Really. The TV will not stay off. Luckily, the television demon is only strong enough to control the power button, and it is not immune to muting. And finally, the house is quiet. Finally, I can think to put two words together.
Believe it or not, this is one of the reasons I decided to move out of my parents house. Sure – all of the normal reasons were there. Independence, freedom, escaping dysfunctional? Check, check, check. But also on that list: The Pursuit of Silence. It is ALWAYS noisy here, both in volume and variety. The living room is so polluted with noise that the sounds become nearly indistinguishable from one another – a giant cacophony of computers, televisions, dogs, white noise, conversations, and snoring.
Today, my mother played a computer game on the couch next to me, while my father watched television. It’s like having earbuds in, and listening to one song in your left ear and another in your right at the same time. Then, on top of that, the parental units are actually capable of carrying on conversations over the noise. I don’t get it. I can’t form a complete thought in my mind amid that kind of chaos, let alone have an intelligent conversation.
I tried to read, to no avail. The commercials won out over the classic literature. Because I’m so auditory, the auditory input will nearly always win out over anything visual. For half an hour, I stared at the same page of a book. I can’t tell you what it said. But I CAN tell you:
1) That, if I want to study at National American University, one day, one night, and Saturdays are alright.
2) That if I have an annuity and I need cash NOW, I should take the advice of opera singers on a bus and call J.G. Wentworth, 877-CASH-NOW.
3) That the ASPCA would like for me to donate, and
4) That if I’m depressed, can’t sleep, or have bladder control problems, there are many pharmaceuticals I could try – but all of them might kill me and give me dry mouth (not necessarily in that order).
What’s worse, these commercials get stuck in my head and disrupt any silence that I manage to find. Really, those jingle-singing bastards need to die.
I’m not accustomed to having noise surrounding me 24/7. I do enjoy watching certain things on TV, but I rarely have it on just for noise value. And never in combination with music. Or even with conversation. Ninety percent of the time, it is quiet in my apartment. And after six days here in Lockhart, I’m craving just a little of the peace and quiet to which I’m accustomed. You’d think that, at one in the morning, I wouldn’t have any trouble finding it.
Unfortunately, even though the television is off, my mother is snoring. As is my dog. And if I went to the other end of the house, chances are, my father would be snoring too. On top of whatever he fell asleep watching.
As for me? I’ve holed up in the bathroom in the hopes of writing a few coherent sentences, just to save my sanity.
I can’t believe I just wrote that I’m writing from the bathroom. Iisn’t there something wrong when I have to hide in the bathroom to find quiet? Really? Should I have to sit in the bathtub in the middle of the night if I want to read without a constant barrage of noise pollution? It just doesn’t seem right.
The pursuit of silence should not involve toilet paper.