And I won't pretend that I drive home from ear-splitting shows at the Empty Bottle or Double Door thinking of Seneca, the first century a Roman Stoic philosopher—I'm busy cranking the stereo really loud—but his essay "On Noise" resonates somewhere under my consciousness as I'm zipping along I-88. "You may be sure, then," Seneca writes, "that you are at last 'lulled to rest' when noise never reaches you and when voices never shake you out of yourself, whether they be menacing or inviting or just a meaningless hubbub of empty sound all round you." So deal with it, Seneca says to me, boasting: "For I force my mind to become self-absorbed and not let outside things distract it. There can be absolute bedlam without so long as there is no commotion within, so long as fear and desire are not at loggerheads, so long as meanness and extravagance are not at odds and harassing each other."
Of course, Seneca couldn't even cut it, resolving at the end of his essay on noise to move somewhere less noisy. I'll still take beautiful, underrated silence where I can get it: