CLINE: Golden days of silence have passed

I went to the Miami-Georgia Tech baseball game at Tech on Saturday night. It's always fun to go to the ballpark, especially when it's retro night and the flashback involves the '80s.

Tech honored its 1985 ACC champion baseball team before the game, and the current Yellow Jackets saluted that group as well, wearing replica uniforms from the '85 season. Keeping with the theme, the between-innings music was also from 1985. Nothing like Huey Lewis and the News' "Power of Love" or "And We Danced" by the Hooters to get a crowd going.

My friend suggested that in honor of the night all the intro music for the batters should have been from 1985 as well. I countered that if they truly wanted to be retro, there wouldn't be any intro music.

In today's sensory-overload society, silence, it seems, is a true throwback. It doesn't matter if you're at the game, a restaurant or even the dentist's office, you never have to worry about entertainment or the cacophony that goes with it.

We must be engaged at all times, never straying too far from audio and video stimulation. The ever-present iPod plays a large role, making sure everyone from commuters to co-workers to the person on the treadmill next to you is able to pump up the jam.

Restaurants are no safe haven either. Even the most upscale places have TVs on the wall in addition to by the bar. And on the off chance that none are found, there's always the trusty iPhone for dad to use to check highlights or as a pacifier for a restless tyke.

It makes sense that TVs are featured so prominently in public since we adore them so much in private. We've got them in the living room, the bed room, the guest room and for some folks even the bathroom. They are the ultimate silence busters -- ever heard someone say "We like to keep it on for background noise?" -- so much so that a lot of people leave them on while they sleep.

Thanks to advances in technology you can watch your DVD player in the back seat of your SUV, or take your personal movie library with you on a flight thanks to your laptop. Our desire for being stimulated is Suessian: you can now watch TV here and there, you can watch it anywhere.

Case in point: A visit to the dentist doesn't even take me away from the tube. While enduring the filling of a cavity, I have had a perfect view of "The View," which, in many ways, is very similar.

Silence is no longer golden, it's non-existent.

The way we are today, if anyone ever did get a chance to be alone with their thoughts, their main thought would probably be: "I wonder what's on TV."

E-mail Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.