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  • Writer's pictureLaura Perry

The Noise Annoys

I spend a lot of my time writing and editing. Those are activities that require a fair amount of concentration. I have my own home office with a door that closes, and that helps. But until my schedule changed last month, I didn't realize just how much ambient noise was affecting my ability to get my work done.

We live on the back end of a tiny neighborhood, and we're lucky to have a little patch of woods on our property - our Wild Acre, so to speak. Until about a year ago, our little patch of woods backed up to a small family farm that had its own woods as well as pastures for cattle (and wild deer) to wander around in.

But then the developers came.

The farm family had to sell their property under unfortunate circumstances. Since then, there has been a never-ending stream of heavy equipment just beyond our back fence, cutting down trees, digging holes, and pushing the dirt around.

My daughter started college full-time last month (she had already taken a bunch of dual enrollment classes while she was still in high school). Due to various logistics, I've ended up spending most days on campus while she goes to class. I hole up in the library and do my thing: writing books, editing manuscripts.

The amount of work I've been getting done is pretty shocking.

At first I thought it was because I'm at a library so I can't just wander off and get a cup of tea or procrastinate by doing housework.

But then I realized, what I've done is go back to the level of productivity I had before the developers (such an Orwellian term!) started tearing up the land behind us.

Besides the emotional stress of knowing what's going on back there, when that area used to be such lovely woodland and pasture, there's another factor I hadn't realized was at play: constant noise. I imagine it's similar to what people in really big cities experience all the time, especially if they're at ground level where all the traffic is. There's enough vibration from the big machines that our ceilings have developed some cracks. But there's just constant noise from bulldozers, backhoes, giant dump trucks, and all kinds of similar machinery.

The library, in contrast, is almost silent - about like my office was before the developers came.

I guess maybe we're kind of a quiet family compared to many. We don't leave the TV on, we rarely play video games, and if there's music, it's either over earbuds or fairly quiet (unless we're jamming - we're all musicians - but that's different).

So while it's a hassle to pack up all my stuff and haul it to campus every day, it has turned out to be a blessing. I'm getting a lot of work done and I'm actually relaxing in a way I can't do at home because of that constant background rumble (sometimes it sounds like the big machines are about to run into the back of our house).

Maybe, by the time the semester is over, the machines will be done and I can go back to enjoying the peace and quiet of my own home.

#ethics #health #writing

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