How do you like to work?

As I speak, two men are stomping around on my roof. They’ve spent the afternoon tearing off the old (OLD) shingles, doing something with a compressor right outside my window, and sending vast quantities of stuff flying through the air to land with a crash. Now, most people would probably find this annoying, especially when trying to work. But I have a serious noise intolerance.

I grew up an only child, living several miles outside of my small town, on the Indian River in Florida. It was quiet. We didn’t have a tv in the living room, just a tiny old black and white in my room and a slightly larger color tv in my parents’ room. I rarely listened to music. Mostly I read and played all kinds of imaginary games outside. And went sailing – a very quiet sport except in a race.

My husband, one of 5 boys, always thought it was funny that I considered our kids loud. To me, having 3 kids running around was loud! Two of those are auditory learners, so as homeschoolers, we applied a lot of music, movies, books on tape, etc. Noise. I enjoy a movie or book on tape, but then I want quiet for awhile.

About seven years ago, we had to go to a convention in Las Vegas because several clients said, “We’ll talk at ICSC” to my husband. We’d avoided it for years, but had to go. By the time we left, I thought the plane was the epitome of silence, after days of non-stop, 24/7 noise. (If we ever have to go back, which I pray won’t happen, we’ll stay at the Four Seasons which has no casino, or on the “quiet side” of the Wynn!”) I was so stressed out that I actually got sick when we got back.

So it should come as no surprise to anyone that I work in the quiet. No music. No tv. No white noise. A bird chirps from time to time, and if it’s raining the sound on the skylights and from the creek are pretty loud, but that’s about it. Blissful, peaceful, nonstressful quiet. My husband, on the other hand, has a white noise machine in his office that is always on, and he will have the tv (usually on the Military Channel) or the radio on as well. Sometimes both, although he swears he doesn’t have the sound on both at the same time. He finds total quiet to be “deafening.”

As I have been sitting here for the last hour, jumping at every bang, and gritting my teeth in anticipation of darkness (for once I’m thanking God for how early it gets dark in the winter!), I was wondering about all of you. Do you like quiet? Soft music? Do you even hear the noises around you? Do you live in a city with constant noise, or the suburbs with the occasional car? Or the country with just nature and the wind…

Pray for me — now that the roof’s off, the shingles have to get put on. Fortunately (I think) we have a rainy day in the forecast tomorrow. On Sunday, I’ll have to head to Starbucks or Panera, I’m afraid. Constant hammering might be worse than this!

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4 Comments

Filed under Publishing, Self publishing, Writing

4 responses to “How do you like to work?

  1. Tanya Cienfuegos

    sorry to hear that there’s so much noise right now. I would suggest earplugs, they might muffle some of the noise or the sound of your own breathing might turn into just another annoying sound to contend with. So I’ll just wish you a speedy roof repair.

    I grew up in apartments and went to public school so I’m used to noise everywhere and nearly everything is white noise to me. I need white noise and music in particular. Total silence feels strange to me, either every tiny little sound is amplified or my ears just start ringing and that makes me crazy. (and it’s not at all because total silence is also the sound of my own mortality creeping in and gripping my soul.)

    • I wear earplugs at night – we have a white noise machine in our bedroom, and I basically wear earplugs so I don’t hear it or anything else. haha! It’s amazing how different we all are with something that seems so basic! Thanks for commenting!

  2. Rebecca W

    I’m the 2nd of 5, but we must have been an unusually quiet 5. It’s not the number of children in the house that generates all the noise, but rather the number of toys that require power. We didn’t have a tv, the radio was rarely on, we would occasionally listen to records in the evening or on rainy days. Most of our toys didn’t take batteries, and for most of my childhood we didn’t have video games in the house. Perhaps as a result, I’m utterly paralyzed by noise and can only write when the house is completely still.

    • Interesting! Most people I know from big families are experts at tuning noise out. I find I can do that in public places like Starbucks much better than at home, for some strange reason.

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