Silence, Blessed Silence

Cabin

Our ancestors enjoyed silence.  At least I hope they enjoyed it, because every invention they produced – every mechanical and electrical advance they made – has led to the constant thrum of noise that we in the developed world are immersed in.

Our forebears worked their asses off 16 hours a day.  When they finally huddled in their huts and cottages and cabins at the end of a long day, these hovels were not the insulated and breeze-resistant wonders we live in today.

It wasn’t so quiet that they could hear the grass grow.  There would have been the sounds of birds and animals and insects – all hopefully outside.  Then, along came technology, and constant, growing noise.  We have become inured to it, and most of us never even notice it.  It’s just part of our lives.

I had one of ‘those moments’ the other day.  Like the digital clocks and power indicator LEDs spewing light around my house, I became aware of how many things were constantly pumping noise into my ears.  I have four analog clocks spread around my house.  They’re all electric, running on batteries, but they all tick, tick, Tick, Tick!

The son doesn’t want the cats or dog messing with stuff in his room, so he keeps the door closed 24/7.  It could get a little funky in there, so he has set the thermostat so that the circulating fan on the furnace runs on low, constantly.  In the summer when the air conditioning, or in the winter when the burner kicks in, the fan ramps up to high.

In the winter, the air in the house gets so dry that I raise half-inch blue sparks, reaching for doorknobs or light switches, so we have a humidifier pumping moisture (and noise) into the atmosphere.  The mechanical timer on the water softener clatters away to itself in the basement, and the softener itself howls for about two hours, twice a week.  Beside it is the chest freezer, beside that is the ‘beer fridge’, plus the big one in the kitchen, none on constantly, but regularly.  Even the water heater burbles away to itself when hot water is used.

In an attempt to conserve electricity, Ontario has banned incandescent light bulbs.  The new CFL, compact fluorescent light bulbs are cheaper on power, but each has a starter built into the base.  These emit a faint 60-cycle hum when turned on.  I sit beside a tri-light bulb when I do my crosswords.  The greater the light output, the more pronounced the hum.  Two or three of those in a room, and the cats have their paws over their ears.

The tower for my PC sits below my desk, down in cat-hair country, so we decided to add a second exhaust fan, just to be safe(r).  The son’s PC is not always on, and only has one fan.  The wife’s laptop has one exhaust fan, but she plays a lot of games.  No Grand Theft Auto – more Canasta and Monopoly – but it was overheating, so now its single fan sits above a cooling pad with two more fans running.

Laptop

The wife has tinnitus – overactive nerves that make her ears ‘hear’ squeals and whines that aren’t there.  To cover up the fakes, so that she won’t go crazy, she often has the stereo on low, or a play list running on the laptop.

There’s the exhaust fan above the stove, when we’re cooking – the washroom exhaust fan – the washer and/or dryer – the dishwasher – the microwave – the stove-oven exhaust fan – the toaster-oven fan – the traffic noise from the four-lane Regional road, 100 feet from my back door – the four-year-old boy who lives in the other half of our semi-detached house, with his collection of bowling balls that he rolls down the stairs, and his seven-year-old sister who walks like a rhino.

I’m going mad – MAD I tell you!  (What?  Too late??)  It’s a wonder that the kids playing road hockey outside don’t tell us to keep it down.  I moved from a quiet small town to the big city (500,000) for jobs and amenities.  I shouldn’t complain, but I’m a Grumpy Old [retired] Dude, what else do I have to do?  If any of you want to comment about the levels of noise you have to put up with, YOU’LL HAVE TO SPEAK UP!  I CAN’T HEAR YOU!   😉

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Two little kids, aged six and eight, decide it’s
time to learn how to swear. So, the eight year
old says to the six year old, “Okay, you say
`ass’ and I’ll say `hell'”.

All excited about their plan, they troop
downstairs, where their mother asks them what
they’d like for breakfast. “Aw, hell,” says the
eight-year-old, “gimme some Cheerios.” His mother
backhands him off the stool, sending him bawling
out of the room, and turns to the younger
brother. “What’ll you have?”

“I dunno,” quavers the six-year-old, “but you
can bet your ass it ain’t gonna be Cheerios.”

***

Is there life before coffee?

***

Fu, Bu and Chu immigrated to the US from China.
They decided to become American Citizens, and
“Americanize” their names.

Bu called himself “Buck”
Chu called himself “Chuck”
and Fu had to go back to China

***

There is a new statute in Pennsylvania that all
lawyers must be buried 20 feet under.

You see, they’ve found out that deep down all
lawyers are really good.

***

Smartness runs in my family. When I went to school
I was so smart my teacher was in my class for five years.

***

If you put the federal government in charge of the
Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.

***

After God had created Adam he noticed that he
looked very lonely. He decided to help. He said
“Adam, I’ve decided to make you a woman. She’ll
love you, cook for you, be sweet to you, and
understand you.” Adam said “Great! How much will
she cost me?” The answer came back, “An arm and
a leg.”

“Well,” said Adam “what can I get for a rib?”

***

How many mystery writers does it take
to screw in a light bulb?

Two: One to screw it almost all the way in and
the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.

***

The kindergarten class had a homework assignment
to find out about something exciting and relate
it to the class the next day. When the time came
for the little kids to give their reports, the
teacher was calling on them one at a time.

The teacher was reluctant to call upon little
Johnnie, knowing that he sometimes could be a bit
crude. But eventually his turn came. Little
Johnnie walked up to the front of the class, and
with a piece of chalk, made a small white dot on
the blackboard, then sat back down.

Well the teacher couldn’t figure out what Johnnie
had in mind for his report on something exciting,
so she asked him just what that was. ‘It’s a
period’, Johnnie explained.

‘Well I can see that,’ she said, ‘but what is so
exciting about a period?’

‘Damned if I know,’ said Johnnie, ‘but this
morning my sister said she missed one. Then Daddy
had a heart attack and Mommy fainted.’

***

An Army sentry had been posted at a base road gate, with the firm instructions that no vehicle was to be allowed on base without a special pre-authorized sticker.

A large car rolled up with no sticker, but a military driver and an officer in the back.  “Halt.  Who goes there?” he said.  The driver replied, “It’s General Wheeler.”  “I’m sorry; you can’t enter without a sticker.”  The General says, “Nonsense son, drive on.”

The sentry stepped out to block the car and repeated, “You can’t enter the base without a sticker for your car.”  The General said, “I’m a General.  I don’t wait.  Drive on son!”

The sentry pointed his rifle at the driver’s window, leaned forward and said, “I’m new at this sir.  Do I shoot you, or the driver??”   😕