April 19, 2012

The Wall

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'm not complaining, really. Which is a total lie, because of course I'm complaining, which is understandable as I'm in HELL. But I'm in temporary hell, and it will pass in about an hour - or sooner if I run screaming out the door before the kids finish playing.

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.


  1. I also hate noise. And I really hate music that hurts. I am 27, so I look forward to a time when I too can be appropriate for my age.

  2. When I was a teenager I loved to listen to loud music, but the years have changed me. I have never thought that the loud music will irritate me in such a way, but .... I think that we are too much  burdened with other troubles, problems and day routine and this is indeed the reason to seek for quietness and tranquility.
    Movers Ireland

  3. It's our children that make us dislike noise. I blame them for everything! x

  4. I'm finding I'm hating people more as I get older. (Well, people enmasse.) That's probably a bad thing!

  5. "I hate loud music" but you go to an Eminem concert?

  6. I hate noise too, always have, but that's pretty 'normal' for a shy, quiet, Aspie. Hope you survived it without getting a headache.

  7. I hate loud noise and lots of people too! I am 22 but avoid clubbing, big concerts etc because its SO over-stimulating ! I get all anxious and stressed out and just wanna lie in a dark peaceful room!

  8. Middle Son's last birthday party was a bowling/laser squirmish type thing. Lots of doof doof music, and inappropriate video clips showing in the background. It wasn't too bad, actually. Some of the dancing...!

    What was worse, was the party room afterwards and cutting of the cake. The kids just SCREAMED in there. Had the music during bowling rendered them deaf, or something? 


  9. It's actually related to anxiety did you know? Being hyper-sensitive to noise? Something about your mind/body becoming hyper-aroused so that you are alert to any threat (if there was actually a threat - which obviously there's not if you are just suffering from anxiety, but your body/brain perceives that there must be danger). Just thought that may interest you as you wrote about being anxious recently :)

  10. I am hyper sensitive to noise. Some days the sound of someone chewing food puts every nerve ending on edge.  I am becoming a nightmare to live with.  Just ask my husband!

  11. I always wonder how the staff manage to work in places like that. It would do my head in!

    I'm not averse to loud noise if it's a concert with music from someone I like (recently saw Lenny Kravitz and he was freaking AWESOME) but if it's that doof doof music or techno crap, I can't bear it.

    I have noticed I'm becoming more insistent about finding peace and quiet as I get older though. It think it helps me find my inner zen so I can handle the 'noise' of everything else.


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