A Nation of Noise


by Michael Reisig

Never before in the history of America has a society worshiped sound as we do. We love noise, we feed on all its myriad facets. We are uneasy if we’re not inundated by sounds of some sort, informing us, directing us, entertaining us, and distracting us. Quiet is disquieting, silence is frightening, we like our noise. Yes, we do.

I was working in the yard this weekend, loading leaves into the back of the pickup and carrying them to the back pasture – to the cacophony of automatic bells, pings, and chimes that truck of mine makes if the door is open, if the brake is on, if the window’s down with the car stopped, if the seatbelt is undone, or if lights are on and the car is not moving, and all this is nothing compared to the GPS and its insulting voices that tell you you’re basically an idiot if you’ve turned off a major road and into your own pasture.

I miss the days when my car was just a car, not an annoying modern-day sidekick like r2d2. I miss being able to leave my keys in my car if I want, to drive in the wrong direction occasionally, or to back up with the door open to let the dog in, without a symphony of noises and voices hammering at my senses. I miss my old Ford Falcon, from which the only noises I remember came from the radio and the front right shock.

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