Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Sound of Silence

I heard a cover of "The Sound of Silence" (originally by Simon and Garfunkel) yesterday, and it made me think about my idiosyncrasies involving silence.  Sometimes I crave absolute silence (e.g., when I'm trying to sleep), and sometimes I can't stand silence (e.g., anytime I'm writing).  

I am that person that cannot fall asleep when there is a leaky faucet or when there is a clock ticking.  I can't even sleep when I hear someone else breathing while they are sleeping - it makes me crazy!  Sometimes I'll sleep with earplugs, but they make the inside of my ears itch.   We have an oscillating fan in our bedroom that acts as white noise for me (for B, he needs it because "(he) gets hot in (his) sleep").  I remember being annoyed by the fan on several occasions when we've set it so it wouldn't oscillate (you just push a button).  I get annoyed because even though it isn't rotating anymore, the motor in the fan still makes a sound like it is oscillating.  You can hear it change (well, maybe only I can with my superhuman hearing), and I can't take it!   I have a special way of dealing with this - aggressively moving the head of the fan around to stop the motor from trying to oscillate (I'm positive it helps).  I have it "set" now so that you can't hear the motor...I just have to make sure B doesn't touch it :)  (and he doesn't) :)

I really think silence is deafening when I'm working on a paper.  When I really need to crank something out in a 4-6 hours, I usually play a movie on my DVD player while working.  This can't be just any has to be a movie that I've seen thousands of times.  When I was an undergrad, those movies were "You've Got Mail" or "Step Mom" (heehee).  I don't have copies of either of them anymore, so currently it's any one of the following: "The Fugitive" (haha), "Bridget Jones's Diary", "Center Stage", "The Long Kiss Goodnight", or "Baby Boom".  Strange variety, I know.  But, it's amazing how much work I get through when I have those movies playing.  When I'm working at the office, my productivity really spikes when I listen to Justin Timberlake or Ladytron.  Two very different genres of music, yet I can work like no other when I'm listening to them.  I'm really no different than I was 10-15 years ago...I was always studying and/or doing homework while watching TV or listening to my CD player.  Old habits never die, I guess (or do they die hard?).

I do wish I wasn't still so addicted to TV...maybe next year I'll give it up for Lent...we shall see :)


  1. mere - i'm the same way when it comes to working and music (not movies or television). i love cranking some emo, or deftones, or whatever i'm in the mood for - i am insanely producitve while plugged into my ipod!! and i'll be empoying this exact tactic tomorrow as i work to progress with my big fat thesis!!!

  2. I dont know if I was productive, but when I was in my previous apartment, most of my work was done in front of the TV :-(

  3. Mel...I hope you have a productive day w/ your thesis (that fattie!) :) thank God for music (and iPods)! If you were still around PSU, we could have late night office dance parties to loosen our limbs after sitting and concentrating so long...I still have them when I'm alone (just picture me dancing and singing wonderfully at midnight tonight at the EI)

    Pradeep...I know you got lots done when you watched movies like "joy ride" or "jeepers creepers" :) How could anyone not?

  4. i must admit that i failed at thesis writing today - however, i was extremely productive (likely thanks to music blaring for 8 straight hours) with filing, taking care of medical bills, haggeling with the insurance company, budgeting, etc... stuff that has been accumulating and that i have needed a "day off" to take care of! silly me thought i could accomplish THAT stuff this morning and work on my thesis this afternoon, but this morning's activities just took TOO LONG!!!

    i soooo wish i could partake in the late night dance parties! and i can totally envision you doing so on your own LOL - you're a doll - i miss you!!!!

  5. Mere: I realized some time ago that I do not cherish hiking alone in remote places (**bears**). So when I hiked the Golden Eagle Trail a couple of weeks ago, after being alone for ~6 miles, my mood instantly became more positive after talking to some folks at a vista. I guess this also counts under the category of silence can be maddening/deafening.. [I equate doing a PhD to hiking a trail, you get the hard stuff taken care of at first, and then get to enjoy the views :-), although this was definitely not the case with me.]