Am I really that noisy?
The look I received from Rachel told me I was doing something wrong.
It is not uncommon for her to question the noises I make, whether it be eating like a pig, breathing too loudly or just standing at an unacceptable volume, but all I was doing on this occasion, was drinking a cup of tea. Apparently, I wasn’t doing it at an approved decibel level.
Research suggests that her dislike of sound is a genetic condition afflicting all the females of the family, and her mother, aunts and daughter all have the same reaction to noise. They shout about it.
It is actually quite a Pavlovian response, and I have grown to find it most amusing. Eating cereal with Demerara Sugar never fails to get a reaction, and a big pack of crisps can usually guarantee me the room to myself.
It got me thinking… am I really that noisy?
The banging, clattering and crashing outside my office had been going on for some time before I noticed anything, but I am usually quite good at shutting out the world when I am working. (When Rachel reads this she will point out that I am actually oblivious to everything around me. Always.)
After listening carefully to the noise I deduced that someone was either trying to get a drum kit, three tea chests and a couple of hat boxes into the attic or they were trying to get a wildebeest into the bath. The kerfuffle seemed to be coming from the bathroom, so my money was on the wildebeest. I had to investigate. With no sign of drums or hat boxes I checked the carpet outside the bathroom for evidence, but there were no hoof prints or dung. Rachel’s head appeared around the bathroom door.
“What are you doing?” I said.
“Oh, was I making a noise?”
She explained that she had been looking for a pot of hand cream in the bathroom cabinet. A cabinet not much larger than a shoe box. And not even the entire cabinet. The commotion was actually taking place on one small area of one shelf, an area in total about the size of a beer mat.
It’s just as well I wasn’t looking for it. Imagine the noise I would have made.
As much as I try, I am incapable of being quiet in the bedroom. While you try to erase the image you now have in your head, I will explain.
It is not uncommon for Rachel to be asleep when I go to bed, so obviously I do my best to be quiet. Sneaking as silently as an SAS mouse in carpet slippers I creep so lightly that even an owl would have trouble hearing me. And yet, what Rachel hears is a herd of elephants doing Riverdance. She tuts, sighs, harrumphs, sits up, scowls, says “What are you doing?” punches the pillow to puff it up and pulls the quilt over her head. This may not be any use to aid her getting back to sleep, but at least it lets me know she is not pleased.
Things are slightly different, however, when the kids use our house as a base to visit old friends. When they come home drunk they tend to make a little noise, and it doesn’t take much slamming of the front door, discarding boots in the hall, banging around the kitchen and stomping drunkenly up the stairs to disturb Rachel. With a single action she whips back the quilt, springs out of bed, and confronts them at the top of the stairs.
Now they’re for it.
“Hello love. Did you have a nice night?” She says in a pleasant and interested manner.
They then stand just outside the bedroom door and discuss the evening’s events in hushed tones, just loud enough for the neighbours to hear.
The door of my office flew open, and I nearly jumped out of my skin.
“Is that noise not disturbing you?” Rachel bellowed. I listened. Nothing.
“That bloody dog at the back,” she went on, gesturing violently as if I didn’t know where the back of the house was. She then began barking at me to illustrate what a dog sounds like.
I tilted my head from side to side and listened as hard as I could, but still there was nothing. Incredulous that I couldn’t hear anything she left the room.
So, in answer to the original question, ‘was the dog disturbing me?’ Yes, but indirectly.
Ok, I confess. I am noisy, I am annoying and I do sound like a washing machine when I eat a sandwich. In fact, I annoy myself most of the time.
I can only apologise for being so loud, it isn’t intentional, it’s just what I do. All I can say is I shall endeavour to think more quietly in future.
Am I alone, or do other people get accused of being noisy when they are merely ‘being’. Perhaps you are the one being driven mad by the slightest sound from those around you. Make some noise in the comments below, and let’s hear you.