There was a Kevin Costner movie a few years ago called For Love of the Game. It starred Costner as an aging MLB pitcher for the Detroit Tigers nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career. He was pitching what might be his final game in enemy territory at Yankee stadium. Anyone who follows baseball knows that Yankee fans are very loud, especially on their home turf. Costner’s character was able to free his mind from any of the outside distractions or noise using a technique I always admired and sometimes wish was an ability I possessed.
Pitcher Billy Chapel (Costner’s character’s name) would lean down before his pitch, take a moment and close his eyes while thinking to himself the phrase “Clear the mechanism”. When he reopened his eyes the only thing other than himself that was on the field was the catcher. There were no other players, umpires or even a batter. Also there was no noise. The fans were not a part of the equation any more. It was just him throwing the ball wherever he wanted and the catcher catching it. It didn’t matter how loud the fans or opposing players were, they had no effect on his effort.
What a wonderful thing this could be if I could integrate this into my daily life. There are times when I just need a little quiet, a little peace. Problem is even when I have a chance for it, there is always something that breaks the silence. A dog barking, a child screaming or a radio blasting.
At home I have dogs of my own and the neighborhood is full of them. I live close to a major highway and have for the last twelve years. during a normal day it is not uncommon to hear sirens, car horns, breaks squealing, radios cranked to extreme volumes and possibly even a crash. About once a month we hear the crunch of cars connecting at the stoplight just a block away and once even had a car flip across the street into the neighbor’s yard.
So it seems it is never quiet at the house and even though you get used to it, you still wish for just a few minutes of silence at least once in a while. The neighbors, animals and travelers do not feel the need to cooperate. So maybe at least when I go to work and enter my office I can take a minute to myself and enjoy the quiet, right? Nope, that doesn’t work either.
The workplace has never been completely quiet, but since the hiring of a few new workers it has become a noise filled box from which there is no escape. Two co-workers seem to never stop talking, whether it is with each other, to me, or others it is constant. The chatter becomes overwhelming after a full shift and especially so after a six day workweek. I cannot wait to get out the door and home to my noise filled residence.
Please, please can someone teach me this “clear the mechanism” ability. I could really use the ability to tune out the unwanted noise and distractions. Maybe then I could concentrate on my blog topics and write a little better. Maybe I could finish my first novel. Maybe I could be a little less agitated and moody. That would probably be better for everybody.
Anybody have any suggestions for me? A technique you use to have a little peace of your own. Maybe a way you handle your own world of noises. By the way, screaming to the top of your lungs doesn’t work and seems to annoy the wife, the pets and the neighbors. Also attempting to drown out the noises by making even more noise yourself doesn’t work either. It again annoys those around you and can eventually lead to harm. Sometimes the harm can come from others who are aggravated and sometimes you can do it to yourself by your noise making techniques.
At work I have attempted a new concept and it is helping a little. I will go around and talk to myself then randomly shout out odd, senseless, confusing topics. Every so often while in my office by myself I will shout “purple dogs make great poets” or “skanky skunks scare rhinos in trees” or “my alien and bigfoot are making out again” . Sometimes I will just mumble for minutes incoherently.
I bet you are wondering how this helps with the noise levels at work huh? Well you see now the co-workers are still talking, but it is usually in whispers about me and the random things I say. They are a bit scared to talk out loud thinking I might try to join the conversation. So for at least a little while I have figured out a way to have a quieter workplace. I just hope as long as my work is still good, the powers that be do not decide to send me for evaluation.
I’m sure I am the subject of a few after work conversations and that is fine with me. I’ll be the crazy gut at work as long as I am also the less aggravated and a little better tempered guy at work and home. Sometimes you have to take the crazy with the good. My philosophy for the day. You can do with it what you will.