We are assaulted everyday by noise — sounds from cars, alarms, security people yelling in airports and music (or muzak) in stores, cafes, bars and restaurants. We can’t have decent conversations or concentrate on what we are doing. So I enjoyed this article from Salon talks about No Music Day in Britain (November 21) where “radio stations, stores, recording studios and scores of music lovers took a laudable vow of musical silence.”
How about no TV in restaurants unless it’s a sports bar where people gather around to watch a game? Recently I was in a Vietnamese restaurant with my parents and my brother. We couldn’t keep our eyes off a large TV screen that was showing a Vietnamese song-and-dance program. It definitely interfered with the flow of conversation. That TV screen was intrusive. A lot of Asian restaurants have these big-screen TVs and I wish they’d just take them down. The staff are not watching it because they’re too busy serving customers. So who’s it for? The customers? They’re trying to eat and having conversations!
But even that’s not enough. There should be less advertising all around. We are assaulted by billboards on the street, ads on the Internet and TV, phone calls from telemarketers, junk email, spam, everywhere! There’s no place to hide. The result is the opposite that advertisers want to accomplish: people tune them out because they have become part of the landscape like street lights. But that act of tuning out takes a lot of energy and having all that stuff around disturbs our peace of mind. It comes at a real cost.