Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
I am a quiet person living in a loud world.
TVs, radios, music players, ringtones and voices all compete for attention. Sounds scatter in the air. I am surrounded by background noise.
My family pays no heed. They are not affected by the sound effects. In fact, they are contributors to the chaos and confusion.
For instance, sometimes, one or more of my children set two of the household TVs to the same channel. Then they leave, and the house is empty except for me and the loud televisions. On the best days, the show playing is the cartoon known as Sponge Bob. He talks incessantly. His voice is high-pitched and nasal. I find it impossible to ignore. My family does not.
Oh sure, I can get up, walk over to the TVs and hit the off buttons, but my rescue is short-lived. The young people living with me return and soon Mr. Square Pants is back on the small screen, and the joy of my quiet is no more.
The same thing happens in the car. Loud music with a hippity hip hop bippity bop beat does not enhance my driving skills. It distracts me. When I listen to music I do not feel like driving. I feel like dancing, and we all know dancing while driving is prohibited in at least 49 states.
I've come to the conclusion that most people are comfortable with sound waves because they can disregard them. The members of my family, for instance, have no trouble concentrating with the TV on, music piping through headphones and a video game playing on a cell phone.
I am not skilled in this manner. My brain works best when my thoughts experience no outside competition. I've decided this is caused by a filtering affliction. I lack the ability to sort through information, and instead, have a propensity to give it my full attention. When confronted with audio stimulation from multiple sources, I jump from one to the other, which results in a discombobulation of my brain function. In other words, I am unable to hear myself think.
I may be a rare and dying species. Certainly the ability to multi-task while facing an onslaught of information, music and noise is a skill worthy of survival of the fittest. I am far from fit. But, I'm willing to bet I'm not alone in my quest for calm. There must be others, like me, out there, suffering in out-of-shape silence.
I've decided to form a club for those of us who enjoy being alone with our thoughts. We'll call ourselves the Silence Seekers. So far there are three members Ð me, myself and I, but I'm accepting applications starting today. You can rest assured membership status will be kept confidential. It's on the QT, so to speak (or preferably not to speak). We don't want anyone shouting this from the rooftops. I think you know what I mean. I'd appreciate it if you'd keep this information on the hush hush, but consider yourself (quietly) invited. Text me. I'll have my ringtone set to silent.
Jill Pertler, award-winning syndicated columnist and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication" is collecting fans on Facebook on her Slices of Life page. E-mail her at
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