I confess this is an encore post, but it's from June of 2010 so many of you might not have read it or remember it. It's in part a long standing bit of family history.
I have been astonished over time at how people work so differently. Our kids are classic kids, well adults now, but their habits haven't really changed. No matter what they are doing they will have music going, or the TV on, or a phone in their hand. My younger one went through medical school with her ear buds firmly in place. Folks, this gal was reading stuff so complicated that I would have to sound out each syllable to follow along, yet most of it for her was done to music. My older gal is about the same.
Do you write to background music? I definitely do not. It's just too noisy inside my head to handle more than the sound of my dogs chewing their bones.
Let me tell you a story about a battle of wills in terms of noise. Many many years ago we bought a 100-year old house desperately in need of renovation. My daughter would turn on a hairdryer and my computer would crash. Bits of paper would blow off the table if the wind outside picked up. But, as things go, we couldn't afford to make changes right away. I was writing my doctoral dissertation, our kids were little and my husband decided to create his own firm, leaving one he'd been with for 18 years. Oh, and I was working full-time as an associate dean at Yale while also commuting six hours by train for my PhD. Got the picture? Pure chaos. We loved every minute of it.
Well, most of it. My husband is a huge opera fan. He listens to it loud and often sings along not always knowing the Italian so much of it can be "la, la, la", always with gusto. When he set up his own business he initially put it in a room adjacent to my home office, which was an illegal kitchen put in by a previous owner. I mention the kitchen bit because there were long counters plus a spot for our washer and dryer. I was truly roughing it, but it worked.
Our photocopier sat on the counter. My husband uses the photocopier a lot. With his make-shift new office next to mine, he was in and out of my area many times per hour. So, picture me, the one who likes total silence when I work, one a room away from Puccini. I kept closing my office door and turning of the grating sound of the ancient photocopier. My dear husband would be in and out asking why, first the door was close and second, why he had to keep waiting to let the machine warm up before he could make his copies. I literally started wearing ear plugs I acquired from my last plane trip but they hurt after too many hours. Divorce was not an option.
The washing machine and dryer! They were across the room. I started doing the laundry that had been piling up. The chug chug of the washer combined with the whirl of the dryer solved the problem. My poor kids became the slaves, hauling everything they could find for me to wash. I even began washing clean clothes! Nothing was folded or put away. It was just placed back in the washing machine. It's a new concept on recycling. I wished Erma Brombeck was still around so I could share my household story with her.
Within a few months, my husband rented office space. Thank God. We renovated the house years ago, but the stories live on.
So tell me, are you a music person? Are you okay with distractions? What are the quirks you have that only you can tame? And, I've done enough laundry to last me the rest of my life.