Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Sounds of Un-Silence

How awesome would it be to work from home, you think. You could lounge around in sweat pants, surf the Internet at your leisure, cut your commute time down to nothing, and tune into Oprah or the occasional soap opera if so inclined. You could be the Master of your own schedule. And sure, you might miss shooting the breeze with co-workers, but you’ll never have to hear the words “outside the box” again unless you speak them to yourself in jest.

It’s all true, and mostly all good.

But there is a dark side, young Jedi: Noise.

Your average hermetically sealed office tower or campus not only pens you in, it also keeps the rest of the aggravating world at bay.

Barking dogs, vacuum cleaners, car alarms, lawn mowers—the banes of any home office located with earshot of a neighbor. All operate at decibels higher than sounds encountered in your typical cubicle—conversation, copy machines, telephones—and all can be heard right outside my door. Reams have been written about one particularly offensive piece of yard equipment. A Google search will turn up “Leaf Blowers: Scourge of Humanity.” I’m not sure the title was harsh enough.

Our handyman loves his leaf blower, wielding it for hours at a time, several days a week during peak foliage season. In fact, if I hadn’t seen our condo association budget, I’d swear we were paying him by the leaf. No molecule escapes his blast. At our annual meeting, I asked if we could purchase him a silencer as part of his Christmas bonus. No one thought I was funny, or serious.

For the past two days, I have been serenaded by jackhammers and the sort of saw blade that cuts through concrete. We are having the rear porches replaced for the entire building, based on an engineering report that pronounced them “structurally unsound.” Was that really such a bad thing?

The jackhammer clocks in at 120 decibels, the equivalent of a jet takeoff. A jet takeoff that lasts eight hours. I’m ready to throw myself out the window or cry.

And now it is my turn to envy my neighbors, those lucky stiffs who leave in the morning before the work crew arrives and return at night after they’ve left.

How awesome would it be to work outside the home.


Blogger jonesybot said...

I am confident that my unholy love for pajamas pants could allow me to endure any sounds that my apartment could dish out. You are living the dream.

3:00 PM


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