Quiet! It’s what many of us want, but is increasingly difficult to find. People tend to be getting louder, with society not giving enough quiet places for introverts! American writer George wrote his book Zero Decibels, about his quest to find peace. It started when two trains rolled up at once at a New York subway station, the screeching so bad he clamped his hands over his ears.
So he went off round the world, in a search for the quietest place on earth. He thought it would be Antarctica, but in fact there is high wind, and the sound of an albatross screening in the environment (and ships) means it’s anything but.
He finally found the quietest place on earth, which was a lab for that purpose in mid-western USA. But you know what? He didn’t like it! He went in and found it was so quiet, he could hear his own pulse. He could even hear the sound of his scalp moving across his head!
This shows that in fact, we don’t want absolute silence. We just want nice sounds: the rustle of wind in the trees, the purr of a cat, the trickle of a river.
Pipedown is our national charity campaigning to ban piped music from stores. It has had some success, but there’s a way to go. One area they want music banned from is hospitals, where bedridden patients literally have no escape.