Although my life is no longer a pile of steaming dog poop, I've noticed during my time "off" between semesters that I rarely, very rarely, have my house quiet. I automatically turn the TV on when I come home, and there it is. My company. My constant noise. If I turn it off, I play a CD. Usually, even if music is playing, I leave the TV on, muted.
A couple nights ago, when I turned off the TV at the end of the night, my ears were ringing. It had been so long since I'd experienced silence that my poor bastard eardrums were resonating with it. Immediately, my brain stepped in to provide some noise. QUICK, Candy! Resist! Do not let the evil silence bring you to the dangerous abyss of having a thought that might be deeper than the candy layer of a Chiclet. But there was really no threat of having a useful thought. Because during that tiny slice of time when the noise has ceased, all the subjects in my mind that need to be thought over are stunned. They are bored, magazine-reading firemen who have not been called to a fire in months. By the time they rise from their La-Z-Boy recliners, the noise is on again, and they sit back down. False alarm. Pass the dip.
But it's not just audible noise that I surround myself with. When I get into bed at night, I must read. Even if I can only last 10 minutes, I have to force more words into my brain. I have already had enough words for the day. It's like I have a big bulbously fat man tied to a chair and am ramming cupcakes into his mouth as he gags. Picture Monty Python's "just one more wafer" scene.
WHY do I do this? My mind never gets a rest. As I turned out the light last night, I thought about this blog post. I was mentally editing it. Then I tried to turn all that off and go to sleep. I took deep breaths. But you can't suddenly calm down the overstuffed fat guy with a few deep breaths after you've pushed an entire turkey down his piehole, bones and all.
Almost everything that goes wrong in my life can be traced back to too much stress or not enough focus. Both of these things are exacerbated by noise. The end result is that I can't even access my own thoughts. When my poor brain gets a moment's peace, all the topics in dire need of my attention fly out of the dark recesses like frantic bats swirling in a cave. I try to look at them all, take inventory, and there are too many. The cave becomes a K-Tel Salad Shooter and the bats are centrifuged against the inside of the cave and the G-force makes them all look like they're grinning. Until, that is, they become a bat smoothie.
I don't want my thoughts to be a bat smoothie anymore.
My one resolution for 2007 is to make my surroundings more quiet. It will not be easy. For 3 weeks in November, my car stereo was in the shop getting a new laser. When I drove, the silence gnawed at me. I'd say out loud "Enjoy the silence. Relax." Then I'd say it again. Then I'd say "This is good for you." My nerves were unraveling like a Walmart sweater.
I need more focus. I need to think in something other than fragments. Even God must be weary of the way my prayers have turned into drive-by shootings. He would like, I think, a nice sonnet occasionally instead of the bumpy haikus I send upward. I am a spiritual skeet shooter. If I'm worried about something, "PULL!" I say. I shoot the quick bullet of a message heavenward and hope he gets it and intervenes even more quickly. And if not, I will of course make some noise.