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IN THE BACKGROUND
The Noise, Noise, NOISE!
And then all the noise. All the noise, noise, noise, NOISE!
It’s a line from Dr. Seuss that refers to all the Whos down in Who-ville. It’s also been the soundtrack of my life.
With kids in the house, there was always noise. Sometimes it was happy noise, like singing and laughing. Other times, the noise was not so happy, like doors slamming and name calling. Rarely was it quiet.
If I were being honest, I’d tell you I come from a long line of loud-talking, singing debaters. In my family, debating was a sport, and Grandpa was the king of the word joust. He once told my Aunt Crista that she had an aquiline nose. Aquiline. Sounds like a compliment, doesn’t it? Nope! Aquiline means like the beak of an eagle! Score one for Grandpa.
Jousting and debating were passed down from generation to generation in my family. The more heated the discussion, the louder and louder it would get. Then, someone would say a line that reminded them of a song, and everyone would start singing. The tension would be averted. It’s hard to be angry when you’re singing. It’s true, and it makes me laugh when I remember it. We could be in the most heated discussions, and everyone would launch into a Captain & Tennille song—“Love, Love will keep us together . . . .”
When the kids left, I lost my best jousting partners, and I don’t sing much anymore. I kind of miss it. Word jousting with my husband is not the same. It kills me to admit it, but he knows a ridiculous amount of trivia and has memorized innumerable facts. He always wins. Games are only fun to play if each team can win—or at least compete. Once at a family Christmas gathering, he was banned from ever playing the Trivial Pursuit board game ever again.
These days, the noise at my house is the TV. The television is on 24/7, and I don’t know why. Rarely is anyone sitting in front of it. Usually, there’s some other activity taking place—paperwork, surfing the internet on the computer, cleaning the house, or folding the laundry.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve lost my ability to multitask. My kids could do three things at a time and do all of them well. I once read a report that said kids who had music, TV, and the computer on while they were studying performed better on tests. I never rose to that kind of success. I blame it on the fact that we didn’t have computers or cell phones when we were growing up.
I think it’s actually a good thing to focus on the task at hand rather than try to do too many things at once – but when the TV is on, I find myself stopping to watch it and stopping the work at hand! I’m almost never glad I did. There I stand in the living room, in front of the TV, trying to decide if I have the symptoms of a new disease and need the drug being advertised. Sometimes I try to argue with the presenter . . . talk about an uneven match!
As I write this, it occurs to me that I need to take control of the noise!
I’m giving myself a little advice: Turn off the TV, play some music, or just enjoy the quiet. Take control of what’s going on in the background.