Sep 22, 2012

Somebody Turn Down the Volume

Why do they serve popcorn at the movies?  They might as well serve raw carrots, celery, and apples while they're at it.  How about noodle soup?  Slurp. Slurp.  Fondue with mini plastic pots of melted cheese and crusty French bread for dipping?  Bags of whole almonds? Peanut brittle?

The lights go down in the theatre, you sit through the endless trailers and four admonitions to turn off your cell phone and then the movie finally starts.  You've been hoping all the chatter and ambient noise will end when the preliminaries are over and the feature begins, but from behind your right ear comes the crinkly sound of someone rooting around in an enormous paper bag and the crunch, crunch, crunch of popcorn.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. If this were a play you were viewing, the crinkling and crunching would continue well into the second act.

Why is there so damn much noise in our country; that's what I want to know. Why, when I take a seat in a restaurant with only one other customer already seated, does said customer strike up a shouting conversation with the cashier, one on one side of my table, the other on the other. Why, when I'm walking down the street, doing a little shopping, stopping at the drugstore and the dry cleaner,  does some idiot pull up at the red light with his car vibrating like one giant subwoofer? Does he really think that  if the rest of us just heard rap music one more time at full volume we'd finally like it?  Does he think the girls are swooning for Mr. Hearing Impaired?

And why, oh why, do parents of young children think the rest of us will be charmed when they explain absolutely everything in the world to their little darlings, and not in their inside voices? In fact, not even in adult voices but in those overly cheery, crisp voices. "That's a robin, Melissa.  Can you say robin?"  "Let's get some water, Billy.  I'm thirsty.  Are you thirsty, Billy?" When I'm trying to read a book at a coffee shop, and not Fifty Shades of Gray but a book that maybe takes a little concentration, I don't want to have little Johnny's pastry options explained to him at crowded barroom volume. On behalf of the rest of world, I'd like to ask parents to explain a whole lot less to the next generation.  Let them figure out some things on their own.  Maybe they'll grow into adults who like a little peace and quiet.