Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Craving Chaos, In Search of Silence

The radio in my beater commuter car sucks.

I'll be cruising down the highway, singing along with a song, when wham!... it goes dead like it was thrown in a bathtub. It's always temporary, sometimes it comes back on later that day... sometimes it takes a couple days.

I live in Post Falls, my kids go to school in Spirit Lake, and I work in the Spokane Valley. Four times a month I pickup/drop off my kids in Spirit Lake, which ends up being about an hour and a half commute each time. That doesn't include any additional trips to attend baseball games, dance recitals, and everything else parents want to be a part of.

As a result, I do a lot of driving. When my radio first started crapping out, it drove me insane to drive in silence. It felt very disconcerting. Over time, however, I realized what was starting to happen: I was forced to think about things. Sometimes, I'd even find myself talking out loud... as if I was discussing the things I was thinking about, with the person whom it was regarding.

Every time I caught myself doing it, I immediately stopped. In our society, when we think of people talking to themselves, we instantly view them as crazy. I'm fairly confident that I'm not crazy, and even if I am... I don't care. It was highly therapeutic, and helped me work out a lot of stress that I was going through. We all know that writing thoughts down can help get it out of our head... so why wouldn't saying it out loud have the same effect?

It did for me.

All of this brings me to a thought on basic human behavior: Everyday, we are surrounded by chaos. Hectic work places. Busy schedules. Negative news. And... we all hate it. About the only thing that gets us through is the idea that someday, somehow, we'll find a way to "get away from it all". Spend an afternoon at the ocean, hike to a secluded mountain lake, or hang out in the backyard for a lazy weekend.

So... if peace and quiet is what we're longing for... then why do we surround ourselves with chaos? We even do it when we have the occasional opportunity for peace. Many people leave their TV on all the time, for the noise. We crank the music in our cars, to keep our brains occupied. We schedule out every spare second of our lives.

Why? To keep from actually thinking about, or dealing with anything?

We surround ourselves in chaos, while searching for silence.

Now, I find myself enjoying my peaceful commutes. I've also found that with the radio off, I'm more apt to have conversations with whoever is in the car. Something else people tend to try and avoid.

And yeah, okay... I'll admit it. I still wish I had a car radio that works. :)


JJ said...

I was just telling O'Malley that the key to my happiness is staying busy, then I don't have time to think about stuff.... weird...

VelveteenReal said...

I like this Otis. I recently have found some silence for a while....I often find it like prisoners finding Jesus....during those difficult moments in life. I'm sure proud of you and who you are.

KatyP said...

Hey! That's funny, because in my hoopty, the radio only works if I plug in a certain fuse that, if left plugged in constantly, drains my battery. Thus, I almost always ride in silence, and it's really started to grow on me! Now, if I do plug in that fuse, I get easily distracted...

The only downside is I am like 4 years behind on newer music. S'okay,though, because I hear there's not a lot worth listening to anymore anyway.

Anonymous said...

the radio is missing from my jeep

i also have learned to use that silence