I grew up in New York City, so I'm obviously okay with loudness, generally speaking. Why, then, would I find it necessary to buy in-ear headphones for my iPod? Screaming foreigners.
Moving about the city by foot and public transportation is already a harrowing experience. Simply put, New York is filled with annoying people. Typical offenses include (but are of course not limited to):
- GENERAL WALKING ACTS OF OBLIVIOUSNESS, i.e. walking too damn slowly for no reason (the most vexing variant of which being the slow saunter-down-the-stairs-to-a-subway-platform-with-a-train-pulling-
into-the-"station"-because-he-or-she-needs-a-different-train-line so you end up standing on the platform watching the train leave you behind)
- GENERAL STANDING ACTS OF OBLIVIOUSNESS, such as stopping short in the middle of Times Square to take a picture of an entirely uninspiring fire hydrant (the most vexing variant of which being the standing-with-another-member-of-your-party-on-the-escalator-so-
that-no-one-can-pass, and then copping an attitude with people who politely ask to pass)
- OBLIVIOUS SPATIAL ACTS OF INDECENCY (Please don't touch me or violate my personal space.)
- INTENDED SPATIAL ACTS OF INDECENCY (Don't fucking touch me. I'll cut your face.)
This brings me to the last category...
- GENERAL ASSAULTS ON APPROPRIATE VOLUME LEVELS
See Also: "Why the fuck are you screaming?"
See Also: "Why do you insist on keeping the volume on your phone while playing a game?"
See Also: "Can you not wait until you get home to decide on an obnoxious ringtone for your new phone? ("No"? Oh. Well it is an important decision: the horrifying version of the Fourth Movement of Mozart's Fortieth Symphony in G minor "orchestrated" for a MIDI ringtone most likely in C major versus some crappy pseudo-jazz bullshit. And it is also certainly essential that you make this decision by playing them back and forth in public.)
Alas, we come to the main point of this outline of offenses against social propriety. Why must people (in America, at least) who are speaking a foreign language YELL? I will safely err on the side of this being a behavior that only takes place in public... not only to avoid a sweeping over-generalization. But also because if people spoke at that decibel in their homes, they would all be evicted and no longer live in New York.
Is there something inherent to the structure of EVERY other language in the world that REQUIRES that absurd kind of volume? Other theories: a strange disease that deteriorates hearing, to which only Americans are immune? All non-native English speakers were forced by their parents all their lives to use their "inside voices" and have developed deep-seated psychological damage to which they are responding by lashing out against... well... me?
I suppose I'll have to start hanging out in libraries.
Or travel abroad. And when asked to moved aside on the escalator, whisper "no."
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