The Arrow

There are no answers; only choices.

White Noise

Posted by thearrow on July 27, 2008

With my home Internet connection down for a few days, I’ve been enjoying some unplanned but much-appreciated quiet time. There was no reason to turn the computer on, so I took a break from the hypnotic screen and cooling-fan noise, and rested both my eyes and my brain.

Everywhere I go, there’s a constant droning of air conditioning and computers — another thing that was really hard for me to get used to. In fact, I only got used to it in the past two years or so. This is especially a problem at the office, where there’s no way to turn the A/C off and where I’m trapped in front of a screen 9 hours every day, in a windowless room. At the end of the day my brain is dead. At home I turn the A/C on as infrequently as I can, but the computer’s cooling fan is still buzzing in my head. I think I’ll start keeping it off two evenings every week or so. The turbines in my mind continue to whir if the computer’s on and I end up being tired all the time.

I’m grateful that I live in an old apartment building, though, and I can turn the A/C off completely. I can only sleep if there’s no noise at all, but here houses and apartments are heated and air-conditioned through a ventilation system, so there’s no escaping the noise. The first two months when I got here I stayed with a couple of friends and it was very difficult for me to fall asleep since air was circulating through the system all the time. I may not have the strongest sense of smell, but boy do I hear a pin drop a mile away.

Aside from my personal sleep challenges, though, I think ventilation is very bad for your health because of all those tiny dust particles it spews in the air continuously. My personal theory is that this is why there are so many people suffering from allergies in America, even in cities without any industrial activity, like DC. Yes, we have pollen in industrial quantities, but that’s seasonal. Here some people have bouts of allergy year round. After staying with my friends, I lived for a year in an apartment with water radiators like most Romanians have and I loved it. It’s such a great way of heating a place; I really miss it.

I know, I know: you can’t have it all. If I could combine what I like about America with what I like about Romania, I would make the best country in the world. For me, of course :).


One Response to “White Noise”

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