Friday, January 18, 2013

Janathon 2013 Day 18 - Noise

Running (on treadmill - 8.2km time - 42m, Weights & stretches - 40m. The weather outside was snowy.

Gyms are noisy places. Not only is there the thump of feet on the treadmills (some people are very heavy runners) there is the sound of the motors, then there is the background sound of some sort of music. If the body builders are in there are grunts, and if someone is using the punchbag there is a slapping sound. I cut out much of this by listening to my own music and concentrate on what I have to do. As I look around I see that about half of us do the same.

Gyms were ever noisy:
“I cannot for the life of me see that quiet is as necessary to a person who has shut himself away to do some studying as it is usually thought to be. Picture me with a babel of noise going on all about me, staying right over a public bath-house. Now imagine to yourself all manner of sounds that can get you hating your ears. When the strenuous types are doing their exercises, swinging weight laden hands about, I hear grunting as they toil away - or go through the motions of toiling away - at them, and the hissings and strident gasps every time they expel their pent up breath. When my attention turns to a less active fellow who is contenting himself with an ordinary, inexpensive massage, I hear the smack of the hand pummelling his shoulders, the sound varying according as it comes down flat or cupped. But if on top of this  some ball player comes along shouting the score, one is done for! ...But by now I have so steeled myself against all these things that I can put up with even the coxswains strident tones as he gives the oarsmen the rhythm. For I force my mind to become self absorbed and not let outside things distract it. There can be absolute bedlam without so long as there is no commotion within, so long as fear and desire are not at loggerheads, so long as meanness and extravagance are not at odds and harassing each other. For what is the good of having silence throughout the neighbourhood if one’s emotions are in turmoil.” (Seneca, Letters, LVI)
Seneca had his self discipline. I have an IPod. TA less virtuous method but times change. 

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