So Loud!

Clouds, drizzle, and fog shrouded the afternoon sky and enhanced my drowsiness. I decided to settle into my favorite living room chair to chill out. I daydreamed of floating through clouds while stretching my arms to form childish wings. I was just about to perform loops, when a crashing roar disturbed my reverie.

I glanced out the window and saw a Harley Davidson motorcycle slowly pass. The driver revved the engine a few times to create repeated, loud engine farts that rattled the window glass of the room.

I frowned, took a sip of coffee and tried to resume the cloudy daydream. Unfortunately the loud motorcycle engine had completely spoiled the mood. I stewed in frustration for awhile before getting out of the chair to complete some household cleaning chores.

Rhetorical questions: Why do some people feel compelled to purposely cause extremely loud noise? Do some people derive a sense of pleasure as they pass through quiet neighborhoods to deliberately disturb the peace?

Some loud noises cannot be muffled. Thunderclaps from lightning happen by nature. The airplane flying overhead creates noise only as a byproduct. This is just the way stuff works.

When we hear a sudden, loud noise, adrenalin pumps through us to trigger the fight or flight response. We feel a momentary threat to our safety.

When we hear expected loud noises, such as explosions at a fireworks show, we feel thrilled. When an unexpected loud sound intrudes, such as the motorcycle engine noise, we feel annoyed. People who are especially sensitive to sound suffer extreme startling and panic. If you’ve ever observed pet cats and dogs when they hear firecrackers explode during Independence Day or other festive occasions, you understand that non-human animals suffer panic, too.

Repeated exposure to loud noises that trigger fight or flight response is harmful to health. Medical experts claim that over a lifetime, loud noise can cause physical damage to the cardiovascular system. This also causes hearing loss. So, the danger is not imaginary; it’s real.

“You cannot see the Milky Way in New York City any more…. We risk the loss of our sensual perception. And if you lose those, naturally, you try to compensate by other stimulations, by very loud noises, or by bright lights or drugs.”–Rene Dubos

There seems to be some truth to Dubos’ observation. When one chooses to commune with the natural world, she or he feels an inner, spiritual joy. Gazing at stars or listening to the breeze whispering through trees bring about a sublime thrill.

Perhaps, when one chooses to ignore the natural world or is somehow deprived of the opportunity, we seek out artificial thrills. Is that part of the reason the motorcyclist created engine farts as he drove through the neighborhood? Is this why I enjoy the crescendos within Camille Saint-Saëns “Organ” Symphony? It’s difficult to know for sure. Maybe Dubos’ explanation is only part of the reason why we enjoy certain loud noises.

One thing for sure is that categorizing noise is subjective and relative to the quietude preceding it. The more absolute the silence, the more shocking is the motorcycle roar. There is also the situation during which one is exposed to constant loud noise. When that noise comes to a sudden halt, the silence feels absolute. Such a sudden silence is thrilling in its own way.

The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders a thought from Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax of the 20th century. “True merit is like a river; the deeper it is, the less noise it makes.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Environment, Health, Hometown, Meanderings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to So Loud!

  1. I think that motorcyclists get a sense of power from making loud noise. It’s a big ego boost for them.

  2. I very much relate to this when my daughter was very young for every such loud sound she would have panic and we had to help her feel calm ,it was really a tough time for us.

  3. I think he just wants attention, I assume he doesn’t care that it’s annoying, or maybe even likes it. Assume he has larger problems than you and ignore it 🙂

  4. rkrontheroad says:

    Spring is finally coming the mountains where I live. At this time of year, I open windows for a while each day and I’m surprised by the bird song. I missed it!

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