NASA better be working on a mute button…


Talking, that’s what is irking me this week. Perhaps this post is another variant on noise in the same vein as the one I wrote a few weeks ago, but nonetheless it needs to be put out there!

Now don’t get me wrong, I know that talking is an essential part of daily life. More than that it is a way to connect and share. I’m all for a good debate or ‘discussion’ (as I sometimes call it to avoid people claiming I am arguing with them when I am merely exercising my sociablility muscle). But yesterday I did not take this view. In fact I wanted to ban talking altogether with some kind of en masse mute button, a device that NASA should be looking into now that the space shuttle programme is defunct.

Yesterday I went back to college ,which at the best of times is tough. But after a long break you have got used to those free evenings to do other things, such as laze about in pyjamas or congregate with others in the dark chomping on popcorn and sour worms to be entertained by flashing images. With that in mind it is no surprise that returning to an airless room and listening to someone going on about models and data is not exactly an easy thing to slip back into. It is no pair of fleece lined pyjamas.

While I sat there trying to get my brain to work again and take in all of this new information, two people behind me seemed to think they were on a date. There were giggles, snorts, quips, basically a running commentary on what they had done at New Years, and what they were intending to do for the rest of their lives. As I was boxed in with people beside me there was nowhere else to go. I was stuck on their quasi date and really not enjoying it. I tried a subtle glance back, one of those poses models are told to do on ‘America’s Next Top Model’ that probably is labelled something ridiculous like stretchtotheleftise. I got a smile, a strange withered contortion that belonged on a constipated clown. Then they stopped and I rejoiced with a lean into the back of the chair.

A minute later it restarted. A back and forth of loud whispers Darth Vader struggled to accomplish. I leaned forward again; the desk at my stomach hoping that the extra centimetres would somehow allow me to hear what the lecturer was saying at the top of the room. Even a lip reader would have encountered problems as she moved around continuously in the manner of someone out for a jog. As the talking continued I realised that nobody else seemed to notice or care. They were all staring straight ahead, completely unperturbed by the date taking place at the back of the room. Perhaps they were all in a January stupor and had painted eyeballs onto their lids so as to avoid participating at all.

So I leaned and strained, glanced back and huffed a bit to make my point which was either way too subtle or easy to ignore. Two hours in I wondered what on earth they had left to talk about. In my naievity I hoped they would wear themselves out in the way that children do after a day in the park. But the conversation kept going. Him throwing out one liners while she responded with a eardum splintering giggle or quip of her own. I wanted an alter ego to appear. A coin flipping Harvey Dent that on the appearance of tails turned back, snarled and told them to just shut the hell up.

Instead I said nothing and sat there getting more irritated. I took the cowardly route. If there isn’t a relationship out of this there will be trouble. In the guise of a feedback form or maybe a veiled comment on our LinkedIn group.


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