I was in our local “Target” store on Monday (“Target” is a very upscale version of Wal Mart ) when I realised how pleasant it felt.
I soon realised that this was because there was no music being blared from overhead loudspeakers. It was lovely to be free of noise pollution.
We live in a very noisy world. Folks seem to be afraid of silence or quietness.
It was with this in mind that the SRQ City Council tried to pass a local ordinance against loud music from automobiles. There were two problems with the proposed ordinance.
First, it was perceived to be directed at a particular segment of the SRQ population, i.e. Blacks and Hispanics.
Second, it had a semi-subjective provision in that a Police Officer could make an arrest based on his/her assessment that this noise could be heard from 100 yards away.
(Of course the ordinance did not deal with the noise pollution coming from Police car sirens!)
But, in my opinion, there is too much noise.
It’s impossible to be in a drug store or supermarket without being forced to listen to loud recorded music.
It’s likely that music and advertisements will blare from the pump when you next fill up with gas/petrol.
We have “rip-off” rent-to-own furniture, electronics and appliance businesses in these United States which scream their advertisements from outside loudspeakers 24 hours a day.
I hate all this noise! I also find human noise to be hard to bear. For example, this morning at Res. House a summer volunteer worked alongside my buddy Mike Blake in the Laundry. I was at the front desk registering guests for their showers and laundry service.
Mike and the summer volunteer kept up a friendly chat as they loaded and unloaded the washing machines and dryers.
But the summer volunteer had such a loud voice. It was so loud that I could not hear myself think.
Now, I have a very loud and strong voice. I am so aware of this that often I purposefully choose to use my “quiet voice”.
But our summer volunteer did not have any volume control on his/her voice. I wanted to scream “Please use your quiet voice”.
When I preside at the Eucharist I keep a few periods of silence. This sometimes causes the worshippers to become quite anxious. But after they have become used to the sound of silence they become quite grateful. Shared silence is an incredible gift.