Environment and Expectations

One of my favourite places to write is mall food courts. It’s not because of the people-watching, though that can be fun, but I’m not really sure what it is. Maybe it’s grounded in familiarity, having done it for so long  on breaks and while waiting for friends.

I try to write in the public library, but I find when I’m there the background noises distract me. For example, the man behind me yesterday who alternated between reedy whistling and murmured whispers. I hope the whispers were reading aloud his book, but I have no explanation for the whistling.

They’re little things, really. But people coughing, walking by while they browse the books, or holding conversations (a normal volume) are impossible for me to ignore in the library.  And yet, in the middle of a crowded mall, nothing phases me.

I can ignore the kids who seem incapable of tlaking below a shout. I can ignore the line of people waiting at McDonald’s. I can even ignore the background buzz from having so many people in one place.

I don’t know what the difference is. Perhaps it’s because I expect noise at the food court. Libraries, however, I still expect to be quiet, though the expectation seems to be growing outdated more and more.

Rather than continuing to expect them to be so, I should probably just grab my books and go across the street to work in the food court.



by | Sep 27, 2009