When the Outdoors Became Quiet and the Indoors Became Loud

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When the Outdoors Became Quiet and the Indoors Became Loud

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My aural experience changed greatly when Nevada all but shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic, mid-March 2020. For me, the indoors then became louder, and the outdoors became much quieter. School was canceled for my four children, so naturally my home had far fewer quiet moments than it had prior—a challenge since my son and I were taking college courses. A Just Dance song called “Diggy,” instantly reminds me of the COVID shutdown whenever I hear it, because my kids frequently danced to it (amongst others) in the first few weeks. Because my husband’s hearing aids amplify indoor sounds to the point of discomfort at times, there were also a lot of spoken (and yes, even yelled) reminders in our home for the kids to bring down their voices—another auditory memory. The outdoors were a particularly quiet place at that time, which was unusual since Las Vegas is quite lovely in the Spring. Birds and silence and the occasional barking dog, replaced the sounds of planes and traffic that normally accompany nature’s noises in my area. On still days, I could hear the school-bells chime at one of the three nearby schools, reminding me of what we were collectively experiencing. Additionally, when my kids went to distance-education several months later (August 2020), versions of the refrain “Quiet! I’m un-muting!” were daily—often multiple times a day—auditory experiences in our home.

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This item was submitted on February 4, 2022 by Bethany Spangler using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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