(Trying to write this with my fingers in my ears to block out the sound of keyboard clicks is futile.)
This title may be confusing for those of you who know I’m into metal, but apart from explicitly listening to music, I hate hearing loud things in my life: the bathroom has an extractor fan in place of a window that switches on whenever you turn the light on, and sounds like an opera singer being pulled feet first through a cheese grater; my computer makes a deep hum when it turns on, similar to the sound of Lisa’s bass in this Simpsons episode, but crappier; and gushing taps and flushing toilets spoil an otherwise tranquil day by reminding me that without the steady supply of running water our culture has come to depend on like Oxygen, we’d all be living in our own faeces.
The first problem here is the stark difference between the peace and calmness of an average day, and the sudden loudness that each of these decibel-crazed appliances cause; when I turn my computer on in the morning, I’ve gone from literally eight hours of near-silence, to being slapped in the face with a duelling glove of sound. Also, first thing in the morning I’m still tired and shuffle-y, like a zombie with sideburns, and so I don’t really want this sudden change – it’s like walking into a bright room after being in the dark for a while, your pupils have got used to little light, and so the lightness of the new room is made even more unbearable by the contrast to the dark room. This is especially problematic in the bathroom, a place of cleanliness, relaxation and, perhaps pushing it a bit here, purity – I don’t want this peace shattered by a tap hissing at me as it spits water, making it look like the most hygiene-conscious snake in the World after going binge drinking. The fact that the extractor fan (who I affectionately refer to as ‘Satan’) is on for the entire time that the light is on is also infuriating; we have a bath, not a shower, and so I’ll be spending around ten minutes bathing a day, while the fan is going ‘WHEEEEEE!’ the entire time. THis makes it very difficult to actually relax in the bath. Also, the fan doesn’t shut up for about fifteen minutes after the light is turned off, meaning that if I brush my teeth in the bathroom, then go straight to bed, I’ll lie awake listening to Satan for a while, as my room is next to the bathroom; although this is just fifteen minutes, the fact that me ‘going to bed’ is often immediately after writing one of these or doing work means that I want to crash as soon as I get to bed – the extractor fan rather ruins this hope.
The second problem is the pointlessness of all this volume – I understand that for a toilet to flush, water must be flushed, which creates noise; however, it is less tolerable when said toilet makes the bathroom sound like the inside of a tornado. Can we not insulate toilets somehow – and I don’t care if this is an incredible first-world-problems sort of thing, we’re a society that not only has first-world-problems, but feels the need to write a bloody newspaper article about them! Consider, too, taps – I don’t want washing my hands to sound like squeezing a whoopy cushion, and someone leaving a room and closing the door behind them needn’t sound like an explosion. You could argue that these sounds confuse your senses, as your eyes perceive a mundane, even boring, task, whereas as far as your ears are concerned, it’s like World War Three out there. But mostly, this noise just pisses me off.
I don’t know what to suggest in terms of solutions: if we cover everything in the world in bubble wrap to insulate sounds, nothing will be practical or easy to do anymore (and we’d all just pop the bubbles to high Hell anyway); if we simply stop doing these noisy things, we’ll end up in a society with no computers, diseased people and unused cars, and, to be honest, I’ll take the noise over a dysfunctional society. I suppose the solution is simply to shut up and deal with it; life isn’t ‘too short to worry about it’ (life is actually depressingly long in most cases), but life is too important to spend time debating these trivial issues. Hell, I’ll bet you didn’t even think about this sort of stuff before you read it here, did you?
Incidentally, I am aware I just rendered this whole blog pointless with that penultimate clause, but I don’t really mind – it’s often the silly things that are the most interesting.
– Barry White in The Simpsons (and I can’t get enough of your love)
– The Telegraph on first-world-problems (this counts as newsworthy?)