Sunday, February 14, 2010

Observation and Description Exercise: One Hour of Uninterrupted Listening (250-500 words)

For this assignment I made my way to the Reston Regional Library in Reston, Virginia.  It was just after lunch time when the library opened for the day.  I looked around for a good spot for quite some time, but in the end I settled for one of the larger tables that was near the entrance of the library.  This allowed me to hear so many sounds that I doubt I would've heard if I would have hunched up in the corner or somewhere secluded.

It was almost too riveting to step back away from the liveliness of humankind in order to focus on the sounds that we mostly disregard.  The majority of the sounds were typical technological sounds consisting of the annoying book scanners and over-sized jalopy copier.  Although all of the other sounds were emanating from people, these sounds seemed to press my patience the most and even began to give me a short-felt throbbing headache halfway through the process. Just the constant chatter and walking of most passerbys was enough to drive me completely insane in this small time frame.  I never completely realized how horrible people sound while they're walking until this point.  The constant shuffling of atrocious jackets, worn pants, and sky-rise heels over that cheap government carpet drove me crazy, and I doubt I'll ever be able to stand that noise ever again.

As if these annoyances weren't enough, it seemed like every parent in the immediate Herndon/Reston area decided to bring their children to the library for "I can read" day, which unfortunately caused a horrible ruckus.  I didn't quite realize how young they start out kids on computers these days.  There had to be a couple three or four year olds that just drove me nuts for the majority of the time.  As if the dreadful screams for their parents weren't enough, they just had to sit at the computers for what seemed like an eternity just complacently pecking at the keys and sliding their petite hands across the keyboard.

By doing this experience I learned that I get rather annoyed at many things that people do, but most of the time I just shrug it off to the point where it doesn't even bother me anymore. An example of a small thing that really irritated me was an older lady that took well over half of an hour of just cold-hearted pecking at the keys in order to accomplish her task.  Another noise that really annoys me, but wasn't so evident from this experience, was the unbearable swooshing noise that copiers make when scanning a document.  Luckily only two people came through to use this new-age piece of equipment, but it was still more than enough to poke and prod at my patience.

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