The girls have gone to church to watch a Jesus thing. To be fair, Moo is actually in the Jesus thing. She’s in the children’s choir, and all I know is that she bounces and snaps while chanting, “John 3:16, John 3:16, John 3:16.” I only know that because Sassy showed me. It seems Moo has rehearsed for her sister.
Moo also goes to cheer every week and it’s always, “Fine.” It is Moo’s perspective that all they do at cheer is jump and stretch. If I asked Sassy what Moo does at cheer, she’d probably start a routine.
(They can’t stand one another, but they tell each other everything.)
But the point is, I’m alone in the house. It is quiet. I hear only the heat coming from the vents and the ticking of the clock.
I wonder if childless people can fathom the sound of quiet, or how unnerving constant noise can be. Sometimes the presence of children is loud, even with closed mouths and eyes. I can hear the energy of the children, like the quiet hum of fluorescent lights. Apparently some people do not hear fluorescent lights. I feel like I hear everything.
The Mister will be home soon, and he will turn on the television. The girls will come home after, and he will turn the television up to cover their hum.
Once the children have gone to bed, one can turn the television down from 30 to 15.
My husband doesn’t seem to understand that I can’t tolerate television noise, particularly the extremely loud commercials. I’m rather talented at living in my head, keeping a dialogue and painting my own scenes, but the commercials are so jarring, because they’re at least twice the volume of any programming.
Compared to the Army, The Mister works odd hours and is home more often now. He watches television and interfaces with me when I would otherwise be in solitude. And silence. It’s good, but I’m still adjusting.
I’m not a quiet person, really. I suppose it’s relative. I’m soft-spoken, but I can be louder than anyone seems to enjoy, if I’m provoked. I grew up as an only child in a quiet house. My parents are quiet people. They can do everything like ninjas.
They never, ever, said, “Hey Joey! Hey Joey! Hey! Hey! Watch this!” forty-five thousand times a day. They did quiet things. Like read, and word puzzles, and cooking, and gardening, and golf. I grew up spoiled by peace.
I am not a television person. I enjoy my shows, which is why I record them. I do not channel surf. I do not wonder what’s on tv.
The other day, I asked a familiar question, “If I’m writing on my computer, you’re reading on yours, and she’s got her nose in a book, why on earth is the television on?”
“For the noise.”
“Yeah, no, I don’t need noise.”
(It’s noisy enough inside my head, thanks.)
When I stated, “When no one is home, I do not watch television. I don’t even turn the damn thing on.” He looked at me skeptically, and when my face was unflinching, he seemed stunned. I won’t say never, but very rarely. I prefer reading and writing, and when I’m ready to turn off and zone out, then I’m interested in television.
I can sofa and mouth-breathe with the best of sloths, but not as long as many can.
I love to listen to my music loudly, but only when I’m moving, or having a Zen-like episode. I asked for a CD for Christmas, and I plan to bother my neighbors and mouth-breathe extensively if I receive it.
I mainly watch tv before bed. I know it’s a major feng shui sin, but when I’m snug in my bed, the volume so low I can barely hear it, my mind shuts down and I sleep. I always know when I’m falling asleep, and I turn off the tv, throw the remote on the floor, and zonk out.
When we first got married, one of The Mister’s favorite things to do was to watch an action film at night, so that scenes of war and gruesome violence would permeate my dreams and awaken me with fear and sweat. I must only watch happy things before sleep.
I wasn’t this way before deployments. Before deployments, when my husband was home, I preferred to sleep in silence. But when he left, some cog turned in my brain: I could hear every single noise in the house, every training exercise on post, every loud drunk in the neighborhood, and none of that was good for my anxiety.
I took the advice of Beauty Queen, and turned my television on. The trick, she said, was to watch television and not try to go to sleep, because then I would relax and fall asleep.
I must go prepare foods for the family and prepare myself for the racket. It’s been lovely writing to you from the quiet.