At some point in my life, I determined that I frequently encounter noise levels that I don't like. Now, this is ironic, considering the volume of my youth. And don't get me wrong: when the right song comes onto my iPod, computer, desk radio, or car or home stereo, the sky's the limit on decibel count. I don't think I've ever listened to "How Soon Is Now" by The Smiths at a volume where things didn't fall off shelves. There are others. "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails, "Housequake" by Prince and the New Power Generation, "Peel Me a Grape" by Diana Krall (although even loud it doesn't rattle windows), all of Quincy Jones's "Back on the Block," "I'm Every Woman," by Whitney Houston (props to Chaka Kahn, but I like Whitney's version better). Any number of Christmas songs, not the least of which is "Sleigh Ride," in particular, performed by the Boston Pops as conducted by Arthur Fiedler. Anything written, arranged, or performed by Mervyn Warren and his friends. But I regress.
I can't pinpoint when the noise factor started to bother me. I've never liked motorcycles or leaf blowers (although the latter has been around a relatively short time compared to the former). The presence of dot-matrix printers became a source of distress for me when I first went to work in an office. One place actually had a specially designed case with soundproofing insulation and a Plexiglass lid to muffle the noise. So, apparently, I'm not the only noise-averse person on the planet.
When my young neighbor decided to show off his motorcycle's revving power to a drunken friend at 1:52am, I threw up the sash and hollered "Guys! Two o'clock in the morning!" Then, it seemed official: I'm the cranky old lady whose house every little kid hated to walk past.
So, when I started writing last night about learning to listen again, it was because I had decided to have a radio/CD-free drive home from work so I could just tune in to my surroundings. That entry was to detail not only the juxtaposition of noises -- good and bad -- that I encountered, but also my difficulty with not trying to escape from it all by putting up the car windows and turning on the stereo. The lack of self-imposed distraction causes me to think more carefully about things going on in life because I can actually hear (or more accurately, concentrate on) the thoughts in my head. I usually look forward to that opportunity, but last night's drive was complicated by an emotionally difficult couple of weeks and the preponderance of really annoying noises.
My lunchtime rant for today.