Sunday, March 13, 2011
I don't know about you, but day in, day out, I suffer from sensory overload. Mostly, it's a constant assault on the eyes and ears. Everything seems to be flying at me non-stop, from nonsense on a computer or television screen, to angry and/or loud junk cutting the air or bleeding through earbuds. A lot of it can't be avoided, but much of it I bring on myself just by feeling the need to stay connected, to know what's going on. I'm beginning to see the brilliance in "Ignorance is bliss."
Sometimes I have to pull off to the side of the road (figuratively speaking, of course, since I no longer own a car), regulate my breathing, and just listen. Yes, noise is one of the culprits in this overload business, but taking time to sort it out helps make it bearable for me.
Right now, for instance, what do I hear? A breeze is gently rattling my window blinds. Not an irritating sound - kind of nice, as is the breeze. A car or two swooshing by under my window. A truck's gears changing to turn the corner. A tink-tink-tink caused by who-knows-what a block or two away. Car horn in the distance. Whoa - Metro North train incoming, so that wipes out everything else. OK. It's passed. The refrigerator fan just kicked on. A different car horn even farther away. Helicopter in the distance. Mmm. Everything's pretty quiet for a New York Sunday afternoon. Except for the trains and occasional car horn (no car alarms, thank goodness), all is gentle on the ears.
It helps me squeeze out a week's worth of sensory bombardments to stop and concentrate on every little sound. Yes, some times are noisier than others, but separating out each sound - and really listening for the ones that get lost (like the refrigerator) - has the effect of hitting the reset button for me.
Add a cup of tea to that little exercise, and there you have bliss - and ignorance, I suppose. A peaceful Sunday afternoon to you all.