The sound of silence


The song from which I borrow the title is a personal favourite, but true silence is hard to find and so, for me, quiet does very nicely.

Our upbringing influences us all and two parts of mine come into play here. The first is the amount of time that I spent on my own as a child, and living in the country you could lose yourself in the fields and woods where there really was little noise at all, especially deep in the pine woods where the trees and the carpet of their discarded needles absorbed most sound. Solitude and quiet were part of my growing up and I like both.

The other influence was that I grew up in service and have since worked in service industries for most of my life. That means that I have, as part of what I do to earn a living, had to have contact with others, to listen to them and to react accordingly, and to do those things when they wanted to raise them. Even away from the coal face there would be meetings where it was important to listen and concentrate, so I have spent all of my adult life in situations where quiet time, thinking time, has been at a premium.

Today I still earn most of my crust from interacting with people and I enjoy what I do. People are interesting and I like to listen to their stories, but I like to get away from from that and I like being on my own with as little noise around me as possible: If I don’t have to interact with anyone I won’t and such times are precious to me. Perhaps I am selfish, but to me I am no more so than someone who thrusts their company onto others, especially unannounced.

I quoted a Paul Simon song at the start of this blog, and there is another favourite song from the sixties that fits well, so I’ll close with a line from a Neil Diamond song; “A solitary man; that’s what I am”.




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