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Sounds and Silence

With as many years as I spent in Los Angeles, one would think I would be used to various sounds; the cars passing in the streets, the gulls crying overhead, the noise of neighbors moving about. I lived alone long enough to learn that the television was a companion of sorts. I would turn it on and not even bother to look at it - I would have it on for the noise, for the company. It would block out the cars and gulls and neighbors - but what would block out the noise of the television?

Silence wasn't readily available anywhere I looked, unless I went to the back of the garden out on the mountainside by the Getty Museum, and I wasn't willing to pay the museum admission prices just for a moment of silence. Instead I would take some melatonin, pop in my ear plugs and go to sleep. Even then my dreams were disturbed and my ears would ring deafeningly until I was lost in those disturbed dreams.

When I lay in silence, trying to fall asleep, my ears still ring so loudly that I can barely concentrate on anything else - except the pain in a smashed finger or the pound-pounding of my brain within my skull. Often when I get to the point of feeling so overwhelmed by noises, I try to stay up late at night reading in silence, so that I might sleep later during the noise of the day. With the words flashing before my eyes, there seems to be some sort of a distraction - I can't hear the ringing in my ears unless I listen for it. The pounding in my brain seems to lessen a bit.

I've mentioned the pounding of my head twice now - but it can't really be called a headache. It's more of an awareness of all things around me and feeling overwhelmed by the world in that very moment. It's an odd sort of feeling, where the only thing I crave is a hand to hold and a quiet room away from everything else.

It all seems to start gradually. I start to mute the commercials on television first. The times and moments that noise seems to bother me begin to get somewhat unpredictable. Sometimes in the middle of a show I'm watching alone and seem to be completely interested in will suddenly get shut off. I not only loose interest, but the noise starts to bother me. I might turn on some classical music to drown out the noise of the world around me and then become frustrated at hearing the music. I might begin to sleep more, or take more showers during the day to let the water drown the noise around me.

It usually doesn't last long, and there seem to be so few things that help with the pressure building up behind my eyes.

It's not the company of people that I eventually find disturbing, but the ambient noise of everything around me. It's the impersonal cars on the close by roads. It's the mindless birds crying out incessantly. It's the neighbors lack of consideration for others. It's the television constantly blaring, never ceasing, growing louder in the commercials. It's the lack of personal contact, of pleasant conversations, because of everything else arising as a constant distraction. Ambient noise is my worst enemy on days like that.

So, my friends, be patient with me.  

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