Nancy Harmon Jenkins’ commentary “Seasoned diner’s pleas to restaurateurs: A bit of hush” (July 28, Page F1) bears repeating. We have become a nation of stimulation overload, resulting in a detriment to the daydreamers, storytellers, poets, artists and scientists within us who depend on elongated periods of quiet conversation or silence to grow and develop.

Restaurants are not the only place where intrusive technology is making its insidious mark. My childhood camp was a sure bet as a place where the only noise was the call of the loons, the laughter of children or an occasional small-engine motorboat. In time, the dynamics changed with the arrival of boom boxes and CD players, blasting away and penetrating the bliss and essence of all things camp.

Today my husband and I took a picnic to a beautiful lake, complete with loons and chirping birds. We looked forward to quiet conversation and to silently read our books. Our nirvana was quickly shattered when a group two picnic spots over decided to turn up their hip-hop on their music box. We packed up our picnic and left.

While waiting and praying in a hospital to hear the results of a loved one’s tests, must we have a television overhead blaring with the latest disturbing news or a shallow soap opera? While in a supermarket, do we need the ongoing canned music or advertisement invading our mental menu planning? Can we enjoy a clothes- or gift-shopping experience when a CD is whining in the background?

Silence and solitude should be embraced, not escaped from. To continue to rely on outside forces to fill our minds is a dangerous path to travel down. We need the time to imagine, to engage with others and to create. Our civilization depends on it.

Lucy Webb Hardy


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