Working in an industry where there are people in your face all the time, when you must deal with people on their terms, when the daily chatter of hotel life is non-stop, it makes you crave quiet. When you come home after an eight hour shift there is nothing you want except silence. No music, no talk, nothing. Just quiet. That was me, for years. I would play music on my days off, sometimes not even then. With the loud, constant ringing I have in my ears most of the time, quiet was fine.
At some point you realize that noise is different for each of us. Depending on where you work, you might be surrounded by noise all the time but it might not be intrusive. Or you might be the person who doesn't mind the background confetti of sounds, always ongoing. Maybe that background chatter doesn't feel personal so it is easy to ignore it, like constant white noise.
The other evening, I sat at a nice bar in a nice restaurant having a glass of wine while waiting for some take-out food. The place was noisy, as restaurants usually are, but surprisingly I found that the noise was mildly entertaining. Noise was coming from the patrons at the tables, noise was in back of me from the hostess stand, chatter from other people sitting at the bar, clattering from the open kitchen, a slight murmur from the bartenders as they worked. Many layers of noise but none of it disturbing or annoying. (Of course the glass of wine and the promise of good food probably were factors in the lack of annoyance.) And I realized that it wasn't sounds that bugged me. It was when the noise intruded on my personal space: people chatting at me when I didn't want to chat, the telephone ringing when I didn't want to answer it. That kind of noise over an eight hour shift made me crave the silence.
Since my life doesn't have eight hour shifts much anymore, I am going to start paying attention more to sounds that I like and that I enjoy. Except for the cawing of crows, I really like the sounds birds make and I live in a bird-rich area, so I'll start with appreciating that. I might have to sit at restaurant bars more often and bask in the happy noises emanating from that venue. Maybe I will even begin to listen to music when I am alone and enjoy the companionship of that kind of "noise." Maybe my solitary world will become less silent and maybe even more joyful.
Who knows? Change is good.