Tag Archives: noise

Dance Party USA, whether you want it or not.

24 Jan

Does this sound familiar? You enter a restaurant / café / business and you are barraged by a wall of sound–hard pumping music while you’re trying to get a coffee. You can barely hear the server, they can barely hear you. Why is this a good idea?

There are days I feel like I’m the only one who notices. However, one of my ADD superpowers is that I have an incredible sensitivity to sound, so I can notice sounds that most people don’t actually hear. So when they pump up the tunes, it’s rather painful. As a result I have a couple theories about this little phenomenon.

Nothing Attracts the Crowd like the Crowd

This is the actual theory behind most bar managers and restaurant owners–if you have pumping music in your store, it sounds like people are having fun and there’s a lot of them in there. That means more people will come into your store to buy stuff. And maybe–they won’t want to stay after they buy their crap, because it’s too damn loud to hear themselves think! Quick turnover.

However, when I go into a Starbucks or a Panera Bread, they take the opposite opinion. Go with soft indie rock, because you want people to stay, sit down, and buy more of their product. Sometimes they still keep the volume up too loud for me to be comfortable, but I’ve simply learned to carry a set of headphones in my pocket. I just plug myself in, and from looking around, so do half your customers.

I Gotta Have My Tunes!

I specifically go to a bar that has either has no music or the music is low and in the background… like it’s supposed to be. However, every time one of the regulars comes in, she has to hit that damn jukebox, and crank out her favorite tunes. Why? Because to her, a bar isn’t a bar without loud pumping music. However, since the average age of the bar patrons in this particular bar is 60, I don’t think they come in for the tunes. The problem is that I can barely talk to anyone once the jukebox is playing… which is the main reason I go there.

It doesn’t matter if they’re good tunes or not, if you’re having to shout over the music to talk to folks (which includes, by the way, the barfly in question), it’s not that good. I think it’s an acculturation thing; she’s spent most of her life working in bars, so loud music = bars. Duh. However, when she’s riding in on her motorcycle to the most sappy pop music imaginable, I question her theories… and her taste in music.

So whether business thinks its good for business or whether people expect music in the background, doesn’t really matter, I’ve simply stopped asking the manager to turn it down. Because they just… don’t… get it. So if they look askance at why I’m wearing big headphones in a sports bar, all they have to do is ask to find out why.

Am I the only one who finds the pumping music annoying? Am I overreacting? Let me know in the comments below!

Leafblowers in the Mist

15 Oct

I wake really *#@$&$* early. My job has a lot of East Coast clients, so living in Arizona means I have to start work two hours earlier than most office jobs to match. So I open my window… and am welcomed by the droning sounds of lawnmowers and leafblowers. Can you find zen in the modern annoyances?

You would think this would be a weekly problem (my complex mows our lawn on Wednesday), but in my case, it’s daily. I live next to a golf course (public – I’m not in a gated community) so they have to get that grass to a razor sheen with their Mower After GOD! ™ and drive around the 20-acre plot with that beast before the slightly less insane retirees get to the course to start their tee time.

This sound – even when not near my townhouse – is a constant drone for a good hour and a half right as I’m starting my day. During the summer, this is less of a concern, because in Arizona we can’t open our windows at 5 am because it’s still 90 degrees then. However, fresh air is a wonderful thing, and in September it was finally cool enough to open the windows for the first couple hours of the day.

Now that I have the setup, can I get in the contemplative mood to enjoy my morning work routine with the leafblowers going? Yes. It’s a simple issue of mind over matter; “if you don’t mind, it’s doesn’t matter!” 🙂

Okay, it’s a bad joke, but it’s true. When I practiced meditation, I went to the multi-faith chapel at the hospital I worked at, because it was the perfect quiet space. Only one problem – they were doing construction on the floor above. So every minute, you’d get some grinding sound. Did I give up and go back to lunch? No. I started to use the grinding sound as my meditative focus and it worked great. Since I expected – now needed – the sound, it was welcome and allowed me to focus better.

Of course it’s not like I have a choice. If it wasn’t the leafblowers, it’s the cars on the highway-pretending-to-be-an-interstate 2 miles away, which you can hear all the traffic on a clear day. Or someone will have a traffic accident within a three mile radius and you’ll hear all the emergency vehicles. So embrace your modern distractions… because honestly, you don’t have much of a choice. 😀

Am I off track here? Have you embraced the distractions to find peace? Or have you found more effective ways to block out the noise? Let me know in the comments below!

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