My kids have me craving the sound of silence
PUBLISHED: 17:52 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:52 29 March 2019
With two young children, is there any wonder that Chris McGuire's favourite sound is the sound of silence?
We all thought about it. You know you did.
When that guy won £71 million on the EuroMillions the other week, we all stopped for a moment and day dreamed about what we’d do with that kind of money.
I’d have a special room built.
Actually that sounds a bit weird.
Not a ‘special’ room as in the Fifty Shades of Grey sense, that all sounds far too much like hard work (the dry cleaning bill alone would make it all prohibitively expensive)! Anyway, I’m talking about a special room in my house, that’s completely and utterly… silent.
Just think of it (quietly).
Silence is golden, but more than that, for most of us mere mortals almost completely unobtainable. When was the last time you experienced silence? It’s been a while. As the father of two young kids I crave silence in the same way a shipwrecked castaway, in torn clothes crawling up a beach, craves drinking water. Funny thing is, I’m feeling quite jealous of any Robinson Crusoe type on a desert island – with no noise but the gentle lapping of the sea, certainly nobody screaming: “Daddy, I wanna watch Paw Patrol!”
The ability to control noise around you is the ultimate luxury. Anyone can amass Ferraris and private jets, but they’re not truly powerful until they can have silence whenever they ask for it. The Queen, as you probably know, is woken every morning by a piper outside her bedroom window. I like to think that she does this purely so she can wake and say: “Good morning Jeeves, will you please tell that bagpiper to pack it in!” safe in the knowledge that instant silence is guaranteed.
Sadly, in our overpopulated towns and cities, noise always falls to the lowest common denominator. We hear what others chose for us: whether that be a neighbour’s music, a passing car’s deliberately growling exhaust or the ins and outs of a stranger’s haemorrhoid treatments graphically retold in a booming voice by the lady at the next table in a cafe.
Noise is the way many among us mark territory - it’s just like dogs peeing against lampposts. The loudest person literally dominates those around them. As a relatively quiet type, I’ve lost count at the number of times my partner have been reduced to silence in a restaurant – eating quickly so that we can just leave – because of the noise generated by another customer is completely colonising our space, leaving our conversation next to impossible.
In fact, it strikes me that there are two types of people on the planet: those who don’t feel too much noise is a problem and everyone else who is forced to listen to them. I genuinely can’t get my head round the idea that at someone would think it’s OK, at midnight, to think: “I fancy listening to some thrash metal, and you know what? My neighbours should listen to it too.” It’s almost as if headphones were never invented. But then I suppose it’s impossible to attention seek, through anti-social behaviour, if nobody else knows you’re doing it.
So, back to the lottery. This is my quiet (and very polite) request: if any of you come into a large amount of cash, perhaps you could donate to a triple-glazed sound insulated room in my house? Don’t worry you could do it anonymously – I certainly wouldn’t make a big noise about it.
In the meantime I’ve managed to get my hands on a couple of gross of egg boxes – to glue to the anaglypta – in the (probably vain) hope they might go some way to soundproofing my living room.
That said, my other half will probably cause a racket when she sees what I’ve done to her interior designs.
Hello darkness, my old friend.
I’ve come to talk with you again…
Chris McGuire is a writer and stay at home dad. Check out Chris’s new book ‘The Modern MAMIL: How to look pro’ a hilarious look at the cycling culture of middle aged men in Lycra – out next week. @McGuireski