Posted by: Rob | June 13, 2008

Taking a Relaxing Day Off from Work

I took Wednesday off from work. With apparent rain in the forecast for the rest of the week and into the weekend, I just decided to take the day off and try to get some of the stuff that needs doing around done. And, I figured, since it was mid-week, it should be pretty quiet around our little hamlet. I love quiet. Peace and quiet. And I don’t mind making my own noise in that quiet either.

So, do you suppose it was a nice quiet Wednesday in our little hamlet? A nice quiet day to be productive, cheerful and get a few things done?


For awhile I was quartered in a trailer module office at my workplace. The walls were trailer wall thin. And the location was near to the machine shop. That means that almost every day there was some sort of machinery running at a fast idle not too far away on the other side of my office wall. Machinery running at a constant speed emits a low frequency humming sound. I’ve found that low frequency humming sounds put me on edge. I become a not happy camper.

So, Wednesday. Jordan and I got going on the walls for the garden extension. We had barely gotten started, when a mower motor started. A worker from the county was over mowing all the grass around the Community Hall and the Rec Centre. The mower went on and on and on. I became, in Jordan’s words, Mr. Grumpypants. I started to wonder if the county worker was making a career on that job. I had to go inside the house for a drink of water and to escape that infernal noise.

When I came back out, the mower was finished! But my joy was short-lived as the air was filled with the annoying sound of a weed whacker. Sigh.

Jordan and I laboured on finishing setting up the garden extension, moving dirt around and getting vegetables planted. My mood was beginning to improve when the idyllic stillness was again shattered by the putt-putt-putt of yet another internal combustion engine. What the hell?

I looked out over my neighbour’s fence in the direction of this new assault on my senses. It was a rusty old tractor with big steel wheels. I guess some would call such a thing an antique. I figure it either belongs in a steel recycling mill or in a museum. But not in my hamlet where it can inflict its un-muffled engine noise on the general populace. And by general populace, I mean me.

We got a few things done during the day though. We must have, because I have the all over body hurt today to prove that something must have gotten done. Was it relaxing though? No, not really. I am more convinced than ever that I could never be an urban dweller. Not in a big city. Not in a small city. Probably not even a town.

Give me a quiet valley with forest all around and a babbling brook. And nary a lawn mower, airplane, noisy motorcycle or other sensory affront within earshot. Then maybe I can relax in peace and quiet. Maybe the coming end of the fossil fuel age is not such a bad thing after all.



  1. You wouldn’t like where I live then, two blocks from the busiest fire station in the city. When I lived in the country, it was all the frogs and crickets I found annoying.

  2. perhaps a nice “compound” in texas? or a bunker in idaho?

    i share your disdain for those sorts of noises – for me? vacuum cleaners. not just a psychological aversion to cleaning-related activities, i hate the sound, and have to run away…

  3. I can’t tolerate a constant drone of music or television, either, as well as the drone or throb you describe. Good thing my laptop is usually very quiet…

  4. @silverstar: You’re too funny. We are, apparently, direct opposites. Frogs and crickets I much prefer to sirens, horns and other human noise of an urban nature.

    @daisyfae: Well, despite the inferences, I am neither cult religious nor insane.

    Vacuum I can live with, but mostly because it’s a built in and vents outside. Hate having it going when I’m out in the yard, though.

    @Sally: Actually, tunes are okay when I’m working, although they do interfere with “thinking” work. Out in the garage? Okay.
    Television – well, I don’t watch anymore. The TV is on from time to time for Katy, but her hearing is so sensitive (or undestroyed so far, I guess) that the volume can be kept pretty low. Ironically, I’m currently sitting at the dining room table listening the refrigerator, which makes a host of weird noises (I guess the newer ones do) that seem much louder in the otherwise quiet of the evening.

  5. That was one thing that struck me in the Highlands of Scotland… after a hike into the hills, we could still hear the occasional car. But otherwise–quiet, but for nature’s own babbling. And it was peacefully great…

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