If you haven’t seen the movie “A Quiet Place”, I highly recommend it. First of all, it’s a really good movie, and I’m eager to see the second installment, “A Quiet Place II”. Second of all, I don’t know what all the characters are so damn afraid of. To me, living in total silence sounds GLORIOUS and I’ll bet you dollars to donuts I’d have NO PROBLEM surviving the monsters, if only A Quiet Place really existed.
Oh and just in case if you haven’t seen the movie, here’s a quick plot teaser from Rotten Tomatoes:
If they hear you, they hunt you. A family must live in silence to avoid mysterious creatures that hunt by sound. Knowing that even the slightest whisper or footstep can bring death, Evelyn and Lee are determined to find a way to protect their children while desperately searching for a way to fight back.https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/a_quiet_place_2018
Maybe it’s just me, but just like water tastes at 3AM, living in total silence sounds like absolute heaven.
I can’t tell you how often I feel like the Grinch. Not just at Christmas (funny, that’s about the ONLY time I’m NOT a Grinch) but twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and almost three hundred and sixty five days a year. In that, the Grinch HATES noise (at first, before his heart grows three sizes too large), and God bless America, so do I. WITH THE PASSION OF A THOUSAND BURNING SUNS.
Matter of fact, it seems like the older I get, the worse noise gets to me. Of course, being autistic and having sensory issues AND misophonia doesn’t help.
Misophonia is a common disorder characterized by the experience of strong negative emotions of anger and anxiety in response to certain everyday sounds, such as those generated by other people eating, drinking, and breathing.https://www.jneurosci.org/content/41/26/5762
By the way, as an interesting side note, did you know there’s a link between autism and misophonia? I didn’t know this until I was doing some research this morning. The article explores how people with autism have a decreased tolerance for sound. Which I knew, from my own experience, from reading articles, and from speaking to my autistic friends. I personally have ZERO tolerance for sound. Either too loud or too repetitive (or worse, BOTH) raises my anxiety to Threat Level Delta and shreds my nerves like a cat does toilet paper.
Even a toilet that runs for too long raises my ire. Related: guess what I just heard.
Anyway, and as for the misophonia part of it, well, let me just put it this way. I had to get all silent clocks for my house because the sound of ticking drives me insane. So why am I telling you all of this? So that you can get a pretty good picture of what someone with sensory issues like myself lives with on a DAILY BASIS unless they live on, say, Mars.
If A Quiet Place Really Existed
Now if it isn’t bad enough that noise drives me crazy, I can’t even really do much about it. With the sensory issues that I have, I can’t wear over-the-ear headphones. They hurt me. So do in-the-ear earplugs. I can’t wear them. So I’m pretty well screwed when it comes to noise cancellation. My mom remarked recently that I’ll be happy when I get older and start to lose my hearing.
I replied, “Given how much I love the sound of my own voice, I hope I don’t lose it completely.” Strangely enough, the idea of losing my hearing entirely scares me to death. While I know I could survive WAY more than forty-five minutes inside Earth’s Quietest Place, ALL noise isn’t bad.
I just wish folks would quiet down a bit, or, if there really existed a quiet place where you had to keep noise under a certain decibel. There would be no loud parties and no loud motorcycles with owners who have dicks the size of thimbles revving them SO LOUDLY up and down the street it rattles my thorax. Alarm systems would be quiet. There would be no roosters waking people up at 3 AM. Even the fucking GRASS would grow quietly.
Also? I’m not the only person in the world that apparently feels this way. Not only that, if it seems like the world has gotten louder, it has! Especially in recent years, when it feels like the world’s volume knob has been turned up to a deafening cacophony of eleven. Just ask The Atlantic.
Though data are scarce, the world appears to be growing louder. The National Park Service’s Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, which sends researchers to measure the acoustics of the American outdoors, estimates that noise pollution doubles or triples every 30 years.https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/11/the-end-of-silence/598366/
And to someone with sensory issues like mine, that kind of noise pollution is nearly unbearable.
The Sound of Silence
Of course, in my perfect world, everyone would be kind, considerate, respectful, and all the other values that Paddington Bear espouses. At the risk of sounding like a Miss America contestant, I’d like to add that my perfect world would also have no war, hunger, or strife. At the base of it all, that world would be QUIET.
Wait – have I just happened upon the SECRET TO UTOPIA?? If we all just shut the fuck up and listened to the sound of silence, if someone DID speak, we’d be able to hear them? After all, they say if you want someone to listen to you, speak quietly. People hear more when you talk TO them, not AT them. And loud speech often feels like an attack, whereas soft speech I’m more willing to listen to.
But maybe that’s just me. At any rate, like it is for a pimp, it’s hard out here on the sensory-issued like myself. Maybe not in exactly the same way, but it’s hard nonetheless.
At this point I consider myself like one of those Precogs from Minority Report. Remember that movie? When it’s just too much for me, like when I’ve had my absolute fill of noise, it feels to me like what it looks like when the Precogs get overloaded.
I guess I should tag “Pop Culture” in this blog, huh. Mental note.
Can We Turn The Volume Down From Eleven?
Anyhow, if we live in a very loud world – loud enough to for it to be noticed on a global level, think about how loud it is to someone particularly sensitive to sound. Wait, here comes another pop culture reference! It’s like…remember in Dogma it was said that when God actually spoke, humans would violently die from hearing the sound of God’s Voice?
That’s what it’s like for someone with a particular sensitivity to sound, like myself. When it’s too loud, I feel like my HEAD is going to explode and my heart is going to exit stage out of my chest. Too much sound grates on every last nerve that I have. And while we can always take steps (double pane windows, quiet rooms, anechoic chambers) to try and make it quieter, it’s very difficult to exist in a world that storms your brain via your eardrums like the invasion of Normandy.
Circling back to the Atlantic article, this means the last time it was quiet enough for my liking is when I was a TEENAGER and I’m almost fifty years old. Though it is of comfort to know that it’s not just me getting old and crotchety (think Clint Eastwood from Gran Torino minus the racism), but the world really IS getting too damn loud.
You know, there used to be an old saying from when I was a kid,
“If it’s too loud you’re too old!”My Wasted Youth
Can Someone Pass The Remote Control? Turn it Down!
And you know what else? It’s officially too damn loud all the time which means I’ve arrived right at the corner of “too fucking” and “old”. So mix in the idea that the world noise level is A LOT louder than it used to be and you’ve got a five layer anxiety cake that’s about to collapse in on itself.
Okay, mini-rant over.
Unfortunately for this disgruntled former office monkey, I am very much in the minority. I am a cranky introverted hermit who lives together with my tiny, cranky, introverted hermit family in our tiny, cranky introverted little hermit house. You get the idea? We live in a fairly large city. (Bakersfield’s grown a LOT). Lots of people means lots of NOISE. I just can’t get away from it, especially during quarantine! So I just have to grab as many of the few and far between quiet moments that I can and just live until such time as I can move to Tibet.
So I guess all of the above reasons are why I wish A Quiet Place really existed. Some people dream of fame and fabulous wealth? I dream of a world of silence where too-loud people would be eaten by scary monsters.
So What Have We (Quietly) Learned?
Because I believe that different perspectives help people to learn how to better understand humanity as a whole, and the fact that I try and take every situation and learn from it, I like to include a “so what have we learned” section in every blog.
As for me, I’ve learned there are some things I just have to live with, and how to handle my overwhelm however I have to, as long as it’s legal. I learned that I’m not crazy, but the world really IS louder than it was thirty years ago, and I’d better be prepared for it to be even louder thirty years in the future.
I hope people have learned from my perspective that there are some individuals in this world that like it super quiet and please remember that when you’re having a loud party at 2 AM. Okay, that was snarky. But it used to be we had consideration for our neighbors, didn’t it? Or has that all gone out the window? You know what? That’s probably a rant for another day.
The Silent Takeaway
If it were up to me, I’d make my own personal Quiet Place. If there was some way I could drop a sound-proof forcefield around my house, I’d do it. Or I’d go live in my own personal biodome. If I were President, I’d add designated Quiet Places to an upcoming Housing and Urban Development plan – whole quiet NEIGHBORHOODS, for people who needed to live and work in quiet. Artists. Writers. Remote workers. Hello, President Biden? Is the FBI taking notes on this? You don’t even have to give me credit. Just please make it happen.
So what do you think? Is the world in general too loud? Too quiet, or just right? Do you love it loud or are you more of a quiet mouse? Drop me a comment -I’d love to hear what you think. And if you liked this blog, feel free to subscribe for more pop-culture laden rants, lifestyle commentary, and observations about this very strange world that we live in.
Et imperavit silentium en vobiscum,