There was almost no one on the road when I drove to work this morning. This afternoon, I could only assume one of 3 things:
1. Everyone got over their 4th of July hangover at the same time and hit the road
2. Schools reopened early and no one told me
3. There is some major natural disaster headed our way, and everyone is stocking up on canned goods in anticipation
Seriously, there was an obscene amount of traffic driving home--unusual for highways not pointing at the Jersey Shore in the summer. If you're from New Jersey, you don't go "to the beach", you go "down the Shore". And pretty much everyone is down the Shore at this time of year. I live 2 hours from the Shore, so it's usually dead around here in the summer, except for people swimming in the local reservoirs. Which is fine with me.
I was out with a friend the other day who wondered why you can't walk into a bar or eating establishment and not have music blaring. Come to think of it, you can't go anywhere and not have music blaring--usually music anyone over 30 would hate. There was some psychological study done (there always is), that suggested that loud music causes people to drink more, which is why bars are always blaring loud music. That doesn't work for people like me, and I don't think I'm alone. So, for you entrepreneurs, here's a new get-rich-quick scheme--quiet restaurants.
I remember hating every minute of my wedding reception, even though it was very nicely done. My guests loved it, because we chose to not have loud music blaring. Some of the people invited hadn't seen each other in years. They didn't want to shout over some obnoxious band or DJ. If I ever had to plan such an occasion again, that is something I would not change.
I realize I'm far more sensitive to noise than I used to be. Mind you, I've always been a fan of hardcore punk and thrash--you would think that I'd love loud music. But I don't consider that noise. Unless I'm trying to write, in which case, it's a distraction--but it's still not noise. If there was one thing I could say for the family with 8 million kids that moved out this past year--at least their teenage boys were into the Misfits. I could handle that kind of interruption during the day. In general though, I like things quiet, which is why I listen to more ambient music these days, if I listen to anything at all. Or, I watch re-runs of my favorite TV shows; I don't have to pay attention because I've already seen them.
My big problem with music in public places is that I usually like to go out, have a meal, and either read a book or think about my writing. In spite of meditation, it's really hard to think or focus when you have loud music blaring around you. I wouldn't even mind if it was classical music, played softly. Not soft rock--soft rock is an abomination to the human race.
In addition to having my nerves rubbed raw by loud contemporary music, I really hate soft rock and all the sentiment that goes with it. It sounds terrible, but I find myself cringing at words like love, light, healing, angels, etc.--just as I am irritated by men who sing, in the immortal words of Dave Barry, like they are "having their prostate examined by Captain Hook." I'm not moved by the music of "soulful" women either--I have visions of turning a fire hose on them full blast. Whether it be some New Agey light thing or a smarmy love song about how the guy knows he has cheated on her a billion times but now he knows he loves her and it's forever, I can't help but feeling like vomiting in the best case scenario. (Worst case scenario--I want to punch the person until they stop talking or singing). It's like eating massive amounts of raw sugar--it's sickening. If I'm subjected, for example, to a group like Air Supply, or perhaps to Midge Ure's Ultravox, I feel like I need to listen to Minor Threat or DRI stat.
I don't know if I've become a cynical and crabby old lady, or if I'm just good at calling BS when I see it. I don't mind heartfelt emotion, but "heartfelt" is the key word--this isn't heartfelt, it's totally phony. There's something to be said for subtlety.
On a totally different note, in your Cthulhu moment of the day, here are Cthulhu slippers. These are almost as good as Mental Floss' Freudian slippers.
And for the heck of it, because it's my blog--here's a video of a cat ruining someone else's video. Your welcome.