Noise Pollution

Mar 10, 2010

Our adult son lives with us–not an uncommon statement by parents in my age bracket. It’s temporary–or so we keep telling ourselves–until he gets acclimated to a new career. About a week ago, he started on the graveyard shift: 11:30PM-7:30AM.

Not only does his nocturnal work disrupt his sleep schedule, it disrupts my awake schedule. Today I’ve been typing on my keyboard, baking a cake for a friend, and emptying the dishwasher. What I notice is this: I’m a noisy person.  I crash around the kitchen, stomp up and down the stairs with elephantine footwork, and sing and mutter all day long. Even my keyboard strokes are loud and harsh.

So for the past hour I’ve been working on my quiet and gentle skills. Instead of my usual “grab four plates at a time and slam them into the cupboard,” I took one plate from the dishwasher and placed it with clatter-free care on top of the others. With my eyes shut I imagine the way I used to place a slumbering infant in his crib and pray for continued sleep.

Emptying the dishwasher took about eight minutes instead of three. But I remember each plate, each dish. For those few minutes I did not wish this part of my life away as I often do with daily chores. Maybe next time I’ll say a prayer with each plate. Today I just had the pleasure of a job done with attention and care. And I enjoyed the lack of noise pollution in the house.