Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Radio silence

Radio Silence, a beautiful essay in La Vie Graphite:

The constant and compulsive clatter reminds me that many people are afraid of silence. And just as many are unaware of the existence of others in their midst. Aspiring to be compassionate, it is essential to be forgiving of the inconsiderate. After all, somebody needs to be aware of the unaware. As this life is in preparation for eternity, here is the time and place to refine the ability to forbear. But as a flawed mortal who finds forbearance unbearable, I try distracting with noise-canceling headphones (which I can hear through), listening to music, running a household fan, and turning to a lifelong friend: radio. As with any means or instrument, it is for each listener to discern and discover that which suits. Due to all the noise in the building, I’m applying a dulcet layer of classical music to try masking the din of disturbance. My less passive form of listening happens when I seek out noteworthy programs and lectures. If the bulls-in-their-china-closet are too disruptive, especially when they rattle the walls, I’ll use earphones. Amidst the chaos, I’ve taken many inspiring notes from timely broadcasts. With all of this mentioned, when I sense a late night hour when the building falls silent, I’ve noticed how I turn the radio off- just to savour the silence. My shoulders and brow noticeably settle back. It’s the good silence.

The essay resonates with me. In 2009, I transferred to Manila and lived in a studio apartment in Orosa Street. I shared the room with a classmate, who was always away. Beneath the room was a dying Korean restaurant. From a single window that faced a busy street, I could see a Minute Burger stall. There were bars everywhere. At night time, when all I had were books and transcriptions that I had to study, I could overhear party music I would never voluntarily listen to. I did like the quiet moments at 2 am, when everything became silent, and I could hear my stomach's grumbling.



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