When you see someone wearing headphones and tapping away at a laptop it means that they don’t want to be disturbed. The wearers are trying to ignore the world and grab a bit of peace. Not everyone recognises the signs however and insist on trying to engage the person in conversation. If you are one of these people, unless it is an emergency, please take note.
It is ironic that we find we have to listen to music to get some quiet. In the hustle and bustle of the modern world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find solitude. You would think this is a city phenomenon yet I read that the mayor of a French village wants countryside noises to be declared a national heritage treasure. Bruno Dionis du Séjour, mayor of Gajac, population 387, in southwestern France, said he had been spurred into action after a string of complaints from “selfish” neo-rurals over the noise of rural life. (Story from the Telegraph).
I must confess that this is a problem that affects me, noise that is rather than neo-rurals, especially when I am out and about trying to work. Being a Guerrilla Worker I am peripatetic and often find myself trying to catch up, read documents or write reports in noisy cafes and other public spaces. I had an old pair of headphones which I had bought from a supermarket but they were not up to the job and so I have invested in some noise cancelling ones, a bit pricey but well worth it.
I now find I can cut out most of the distractions around me and can immerse myself in whatever needs to be done. Of course the headphones do not cancel out all background noise, only most of it, indeed it would be dangerous if I was unable to hear anything going on around me. By adjusting the volume I am able to focus on my work without being impervious to my environment.
This is a modern problem as more and more of us find ourselves in flexible, multi-purpose spaces. My headphones have certainly brought a new dimension to my working life and I find classical music the best to get the most done.