597: Addiction

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But if you unplug everything, it gets so quiet you hear that high-pitched empty-room hum. And then the whispers begin.
Title text: But if you unplug everything, it gets so quiet you hear that high-pitched empty-room hum. And then the whispers begin.


Megan is attempting to stay a weekend at home without the Internet as she feels the constant exposure to novelty (from her internet surfing) saps her own initiative. She writes a "last" on-line message about her resolution to Cueball, but he writes back that he doubts she can do it for even one hour.

She turns off her computer (or at least the screen) and stands up triumphantly next to it, however then she logs right back on to write to Cueball that it's not half bad being off-line, thus violating her original attempt as she clearly used the internet to send the message to Cueball. She doesn't even realize she did this until Cueball replies with the written sound Ahem? proving he was right about less than one hour.

Very typical of people having some kind of addiction, in this case for being on-line, they may not even realize when they indulge into it, which is the case with Megan here.

The title text elaborates on Megan's addiction, saying that when she turns off all of the machines in the room, it results in an "empty-room hum". This is a high pitched buzzing noise, which it is suggested results from the brain increasing its sensitivity to noises. This is a fairly normal experience, but the "whispers" mentioned may be slightly more sinister, as this is frequently associated as a sign of schizophrenia. See also 1590: The Source.


[Close up of Cueball typing at his computer. Megan's text message to him can be seen coming from the screen with a zigzag line, and Cueball writes a response as seen from the line going from his hand on the keyboard up to his message.]
Megan (through the computer): Constant novelty saps my initiative. I'm gonna try to spend a weekend at home without internet.
Cueball (writing): I give you an hour.
[Megan is standing up, she turns off the computer in front of her by clicking on a button on the screen. Her office chair has rolled back behind her.]
[Megan stands in front of the computer arms in her sides. Beat panel.]
[Zoom out with Cueball sitting in his office chair typing a reply on his computer to the message from Megan as in the first panel.]
Megan (through the computer): So far, it's not actually too bad!
Cueball (writing): Ahem?
Megan (through the computer): Wait. Shit.

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Or was it just the monitor Megan switches off? That's my take on it, thus leaving the Skype (or similar) connection active for continued two-way audio at the very least... 18:38, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

No it cannot be two way audio, because it is clearly Cueballs typing we see, as the "speak" line goes to the keyboard in both panels! And then it would be weird if she was talking to him. But it is true that it seems like she is only turning of the screen though. There did exist computers that was part of the screen, so the off-button would sit there. On the other hand it could also be that she turned of the PC using the on screen button, and then just afterwards turned of the screen. --Kynde (talk) 18:50, 20 October 2015 (UTC)

I think that the hum is actually Tinnitus, as people that use computers a lot tend to get exposed a lot to loud sounds (when playing games or listening to music, or both) or use headphones a lot. I know I have it. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Tinnitus is a low hum or squeal that's always there. You can ignore it when there is other sound, but it always there. This is due to damage to the ear. If they take a hearing test, they will see the damage. The hum that people hear when it gets quiet is not due to damage. I can go to the doctor right now, and there's no damage. Not everyone hears this. It's possibly linked to auditory perception disorder. I have that. Occasionally my ability to convert sound to language is stalled. I will suddenly not understand you, then 2-3 seconds later, understand what you said. This is because my mind plays back the sound it remembers until I recognize it. This is a similar experience to not paying attention, with the exception that I am paying attention and it still happens. Cflare (talk) 17:35, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Could the humming be the 60 Hz noise that some people can hear caused by electricity in the walls? Mikemk (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)