It strikes me today just how noisy the modern world actually is. I don’t mean outside either. No. What I mean is in the home and office. When I was little, there weren’t nearly so many electrical gubbins churning out their white noise. I remember my Grandmother’s old house was very peaceful. Occasionally you might hear the ticking of a clock or the buzz of the big board in the kitchen when either my sister or I annoyed my Grandmother by pressing the long defunct servent’s call bells in the rooms. But aside from that, tranquil peace and quiet.
At home, the bedroom was a place where only the chink of lego pieces being rummaged through generally broke the quiet. Looking back, the only electrical devices I had in my bedroom was, er, the desk lamp? Yeah. My first computer didn’t arrive until 1991. I wasn’t allowed that in my bedroom (remember a time when “Go to your room!” didn’t equate to “Go to the fun place where all the home entertainment is at!”?) and so it lived in the office. Actually, the old Amiga A500 wasn’t all that noisy except for the disk drive going through
spin cycle disk access.
Now I sit here in my little office and realise that it is noisy as hell. Quite appart from my heavy handed typing, my current computer sounds like an air conditioning unit, thanks to a noisy RAID array (lots of hard drives to you and me) and nearly a dozen different cooling fans. Then there is the dehumidifier beside that. That’s without turning on the stereo, alarm clock or the other two computers and the laser printer (which has its own little noisy air conditioning sound).
I think if everything went quiet I’d be deafoned by the sound of silence. I suspect it would be rather eerie. It’s been a long time since we last had a powercut around here. When they do come they highlight just how dependent we are on the flow of electrons:
“The power’s died. Bugger. I’ll surf the internet until it comes back…. ah. Okay, I’ll have a cup of tea whilst I contemplate what to do. Just switch the kettle…. ah. Okay, I’ll watch television…. oh. Radio? Nope. I know – I’ll read a book. No electricity required there! Clever me. Hmmm – it’s a bit gloomy; I’ll just turn on the light to see better…. oh. Pants. Perhaps I’ll just go to bed and cower under the duvet.”