We needed lunch. A quick lunch. Our requirements were few, reasonably decent food being first among them. We went to a neighborhood place, a self-described cafe-juice bar whose motto is “A health-conscious kitchen.” The food was okay. The service was no more or less than expected. The prices were reasonable. But the noise, dear reader, the noise. Here is the list of noises that made conversation close to impossible and relaxation completely out of the question:

Air conditioners
Canned music
Television (sound on)
Kitchen (pounding and clanking)
Smoothie machine

The whole thing felt neither healthy nor conscious, and I wonder: Why do we need so much sound?

Look, we have to allow this place its blenders and juicers (which, to be fair, weren’t running full time). Kitchens produce noise (though occasional plate catastrophe aside, kitchen work doesn’t have to involve banging and clattering; I’ve worked in restaurants, and I know). It’s August, it’s New York, so we’ll give them the AC (though the temperature was unseasonably low, so perhaps a setting lower than arctic would have done the job).

That leaves us with the canned music and the television, and me with more questions, first among them: Why? Why music and television, a combination that feels like some kind of assault on the nervous system? Why does nearly every public place play canned music? Didn’t anybody who worked in the place think, “Hmmn, the TV has subtitles; maybe I should turn the sound off”? Have we become so desensitized to the constant intake of sound everywhere we go that most of us don’t even notice when there’s music and television at the same time? Will I return to that health-conscious kitchen? What do you think I am, crazy?

5 Responses to Noise

  1. wayne says:

    had to laugh, because today after work we went out to celebrate a few things and the place was so quiet that one of our gang fled to find some noise

  2. Ever since I was 13 years old when the definition of a party was sitting on the floor in the dark with black lights on, loud music blasting and trying to hold a conversation with someone by yelling at the top of your lungs and nodding at the incomprehensible sounds coming out of your interlocutor’s mouth as though you understood them, I have not understood why people crave debilitating noise. 45 years later I suffer with the same feelings trying to hold a conversation in countless contexts, especially on cell phones. I suppose if everyone felt like I do, there would only be landlines. I have uttered the word WHAT??? far too many times in my life.

  3. AMEN TO THIS. (sorry. amen to this. didn’t mean to shout.)

  4. Pingback: Daily Twitter Digest @mirakkulglasss | Mirakkul Glassware Blog

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