Help me. I am being assaulted.
Yes, right now. As I write. I am being assaulted by a wall of noise and lights and smells and did I say NOISE?
I am at a bowling alley with two of my kids and two of their friends and about a thousand BILLION other people. The music is pumping, the bowling balls are being thrown against the lanes like bombs (or, in my daughter's case, being literally dropped vertically - who knew bowling balls could bounce?). I can feel every vibration throughout my body. It is physical, this noise. It hurts.
I hate noise. I always have. Even when I was a teenager I hated noise. I felt uncomfortable in dance clubs, partly because the intense volume made me claustrophobic. I didn't enjoy concerts, because they were so loud. To this day, I hate loud restaurants. I hate loud parties. I hate loud music. It doesn't make me feel buzzy. It makes me feel oppressed.
As a kid, I felt a bit freaky for preferring quiet. But now, at 43, I'm not freaky anymore. At 43, you're not expected to like loud noise. At 43, you're supposed to like peace and quiet. Finally, I am appropriate for my age.
But why is it that we prefer quiet as we get older? Do we become overstimulated too easily? Can our brains no longer cope with the onslaught of aural data? Or - because our eyesight is failing - are our ears more sensitive as a result?
I don't know. What I do know is that my peers have caught up with me, and it's nice not being a freak anymore.
And I hope my kids are enjoying the bowling, because they're not coming back until they can drive themselves.