I think it was Satre who said “Hell is other people” but I am not so sure.  My fellow hell-mates can shut up and be quiet. In my opinion, Hell is not other people but hallway music.

In the clinics where I work the stereo goes nonstop. I am told the reasons for playing the radio throughout the clinic corridors are a) to cloak conversations

b) to placate the work staff    and

c)  to help create a pleasant ambience for patients in the waiting room.

There is a more pernicious reason:

d)  A dastardly means to drive me to an early grave.


I would be OK with a) through c)  if the music was mellifluous and therapeutic. Classical tunes or ‘new-age’ ambience music would do nicely. Alas, what is being played is ‘Top 40’ combined with ‘old favorites”. “The top 40” seems more like “The top 10”, for the same songs are played over and over.* Even the old favorites seem to be limited to two or three dozen. I kid you not. I hear “Don’t stop believing’ and “Margaritaville” three times a day if not more. “Come sail away” is rather popular. You would think the soundtrack for “Saturday Night Fever” had just come out only last week given the amount of Bee Gees heard throughout the workday.  I think it macabre if downright detrimental to mental health to escort depressed and stressed patients down the hall to accompanied by the soothing voices of Michael George ( You gotta have faith!) and “Men At Work” (Who can it be now?).

At times the music stops for a commercial. These repeat more often than the cards.


I’ve tried to get them to turn off the pernicious piped paplum or change the station but I might as well try plowing Lake Michigan.

It grows harder and harder to find peace and quiet.  TVs are ubiquitous, up in every barbershops, waiting room, and airport. The worst is my dentist who has the TV running while I sit in the chair. I have to put my foot down on that one.


* Or so it seems. I was a fan of Ms. Perry but no more. Her tunes are ‘on the hour’; they all sound like she is shouting.