Waiting Room Blues

Waiting room

Waiting room (Photo credit: Melissa Venable)

I’m old enough to remember when TVs weren’t ubiquitous. I think they used to cost more. Back then, you could get your car fixed or wait for an airplane in relative tranquility. Now, not so much.

Yesterday I had to get something done on my Toyota. Some safety recall or other. So there I am for an hour in the dealer’s waiting room, waiting. It’s the same as the doctor’s office, the airport terminal, or any other place. A television is placed where everyone can hear it and see it. Which means, no one can not hear it or see it. Including me, who would rather read a book, doodle, daydream, or just sit in silence.

I’m not the only one, I think. Almost nobody is watching the shocking news of … whatever it is. Or the inane commentary of people who must, I should think, hate the sound of their own voices by now.

But alone or not, I’m the only person who’s brought his own reading material. Insistent, like no one else, that I will read now. I’m not chatting with a complete stranger. I’m NOT on my cell phone scrolling through something with my thumb. I’m with a book, trying like all get out to read three words without the banter of talking heads interrupting me.

Oops. Sorry. It’s just that life as an introvert seems to get harder and harder as I age. I want to be left to relative quiet. Let me come out of my shell when I’m good and ready. Some days, I just don’t have the energy for sociability.

I know, I know. There’s a place for all this blasted sociability. And I live in the South, where people are (sometimes correctly) known for their hospitality. But there are times and places and situations where a LITTLE LESS NOISE would be appreciated. Noise, people. Noise. As in, televisions blaring when no one wants them.

(Sigh.) I’ll get over it. I always do. But seems like somebody on the other side of this situation should know what they’re putting the rest of us through. The endless noise of a society grown afraid of its own inner life.

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