The Art of Silence

Zara Kelly

“Hey, do you think you could maybe, if at all possible, turn that music down just a teeny tiny little bit? Not to be a bother, but I’m trying to do this really important thing for my super important class tomorrow, and I’d be very appreciative if you would please BE QUIET! Thanks so much.”

The art of passive aggressiveness: a finely honed skill that develops into something really special as soon as we hit university. Suddenly, it seems, we are Kings and Queens of the kinds of subtle hostility our parents would be proud of. The skills you learn at University aye? And a heated topic of debate: noise. It seems to be a familiar topic amoung students, myself included, whether or not you are doing the shushing or are on the receiving end of it.

You see, for the last two years I have lived on the top floor of the two flats I’ve stayed in; a privilege I took for granted and without much thought, particularly for the poor buggers living below us and especially during those late night ceilidh sessions. At the same time, however, I have been that obnoxious ‘Lets play the game of who can stay quiet the longest, yeah?!’ flatmate, crusading against the obscure rap music that one flatmate plays loudly at two in the morning on a Tuesday. Now, as complaints begin to trickle in once again from both the noisemakers and the quiet crusaders, I find myself developing a new opinion on the subject.

Sandwiched between these two views, and now living in a ground floor flat with a group of rowdy students above us, I’ve come to the conclusion that being surrounded by a constant buzz of activity, whether welcome or not, is inevitable. The more I’ve begun to expect this, and accept it, the less it triggers that searing rage that occasionally seeps out in the form of late night passive aggressive texts. We’re all noisy bastards and we all occasionally want some peace and quiet – unfortunately we don’t always get what we want (and this is life lesson number two, courtesy of University, behind the development of a threefold passive aggressive text policy)!

We shouldn’t be so quick to constantly complain about noisy neighbours or flatmates, and, you never know, that may give us more leverage regarding other important issues, like ‘who’s goddamn dishes have mould growing on them?’ Oh the joys of adulthood! In other words, learn to be soothed by the dull thud of your flatmates questionable music choices, the faint hum of a Netflix romcom, the chattering clink of wine bottles/beer bottles/vodka bottles (insert any and all alcohol receptacles here) and perhaps invest in a pair of ear plugs for *ahem* anything else.

Accept the soundtrack to your student days because soon you’ll be old and boring. You’ll miss those bars of chocolate your flatmate bought you as an apology, because you share a wall and they weren’t just spooning.

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