Signal and noise

Philip Morgan

(Readin' time: 57 seconds)

The Lyft driver who drove me to the Colorado Springs airport a while ago was the living breathing dopleganger of Milton from "Office Space".

He's probably a nice guy, but holy crap did he not understand how to manage a conversation with a stranger!

The whole drive was basically this:

So the driver was doing his Milton thing and the car radio was set--somehow!--to precisely the same volume as his voice.

So I'm in the back, struggling to hear and respond to enough of his conversation to avoid looking like an a-hole, but not actually wanting to hear him talk about how years ago he gave his house to his wealthy brother who has conveniently forgotten this fact and now doesn't understand why the driver guy struggles to make a good living at his USAF contracting job, etc, etc.

I've always had trouble distinguishing speech from background noise. It's why I try to avoid socializing in noisy venues. I don't know if it's hearing loss (likely) or a brain auditory processing thing (possible). Either way, it makes situations like with my Milton Lyft driver exhausting.

This problem is fatal to consultants.

Not the actual hearing issue I have, but the analogous issue: an inability to distinguish the important signal from the background noise in a business problem-solving situation.