My life has always been noisy. I grew up in an apartment in Queens right under an approach route for LaGuardia Airport. Most days of the week I spend two or more hours commuting in a poorly soundproofed economy car. And of course I am almost continuously sitting at high-powered computers and the constant drone of their cooling fans.
One day I decided to try to find a quiet spot. A really quiet spot, where I could hear no trucks rumbling by, no gas station air compressors, no high school football team; no crashing surf or gurgling brook; preferably not even any wind, or the rush of my own blood in my ears (as when they’re underwater or stuffed with earplugs). I didn’t want to not hear anything; I wanted to hear nothing. I wanted to listen to silence. Obviously no place in or near the Bay Area would suffice, so I located Pine Mountain Lake airport on the San Francisco sectional chart. Of all the places within easy flying distance, Pine Mountain Lake appeared to be the most remote and the most likely to be quiet (once I shut down the Cessna’s engine). My friend Steve came along for the trip. We crammed our bikes into the back of the plane just in case we had to put a little distance between us and the airport in order to find silence. But even on the mountainous roads of Pine Mountain Lake, the whoosh of cars and clatter of trucks are inescapable.
If I were more intrepid and more persistent in this quest I’m sure I would eventually have found something to satisfy me — in the desert, perhaps, or out on a calm sea. But this goal languishes way, way down my priority list. I was glad to see recently that others are more dedicated to the cause, and have been more successful, to wit: One Square Inch of Silence.