April 22, 2024
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By Alice Liles

Alice’s note: This story first appeared in my blog, The Bright Lights of Muleshoe,” on November 6, 2009. Now that we are being barraged by Christmas music, whether it’s good Christmas music or not, I was reminded how much nicer silence is in many cases. So I thought I would share my soapbox sermon on the value of quiet time, which, of course, is just my opinion. Feel free to disagree.

I’m sitting here in my retina doctor’s office-vitreoretinal specialist is his official title-laboring with dilated eyes to read an article in Newsweek-yes, that liberal cheerleader magazine whose subscription won’t be renewed when it runs out in April but which sometimes has articles I find interesting-while trying to block out the drone of cell phone conversations going on around me, the general noise of people, and the incessant drivel coming from the ubiquitous waiting room TV.
How ironic is it that the topic of the article, “The Devil Loves Cell Phones,” by Julia Baird (Newsweek, November 2, 2009, page 28), is being played out all around me?
Cell phones are bad enough, but it’s the unnecessary TVs that drive me crazy, what with the smug talking heads yakking about banal pseudo-news items, only occasionally throwing in a real news tidbit. The powers that be always seem to tune the TV to one of the so-called news stations, for fear of offending someone with the choice of an actual program-which would be just as bad because none of it is needed. And the volume is turned up just enough to be irritating and whiny, not really loud enough to follow what is being said, as if anyone really cares to follow the conversation. Background noise, as it were.
Nobody really listens; nobody really cares; yet these TVs show up all over the place.  I have been known to mute the set; what I’d really like to do is throw it out the door.
The Newsweek article’s arguments in favor of more silence in our lives works for me. I do watch certain TV shows, but not at someone else’s expense. I have Sirius radio in the car and enjoy it, but there are days when I never turn it on. Driving in solitude is sometimes just what I need to collect my thoughts, get my ducks in a row, or just have the chance to do what Pogo used to do:
“Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.”
It comforts the soul.
And if you don’t know who Pogo is, look him up.

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