Yesterday evening the first hint of fall was in the air, so I decided to meet my hubby for a date at a nearby restaurant with a beautiful outdoor courtyard. The evening started perfectly. Sipping on our drinks, we listened to water trickling down a small stone fountain, inhaled the flavors of a rich mole sauce wafting from the kitchen and noticed how blue our eyes looked in the fading light.
Deep into conversation an hour later, I suddenly noticed my energy had dropped. Tuning in, I found a mild headache, stiffening shoulders, and I realized I was shouting. It was the music. When we arrived, there had been no music other than the fountain and birds. I had vaguely been aware of music starting during our conversation, but it had obviously been turned up louder and louder until now it was at such a volume I had to raise my voice to be heard.
I don’t understand why it is that restaurants, especially outdoor ones, feel they need to create “atmosphere” by cranking up the tunes. Do they feel we’re unable to appreciate the subtle symphony of sounds that happens with soft or no music? Or that distraction is the only way we can enjoy ourselves?
As my husband and I left, retreating to the relative calm of the parking lot, we took a sigh of relief. I started thinking of all the noise pollution we contend with during our day, and how much happens that we don’t even consciously notice – but that our bodies register and react to nonetheless.
Ponder: What are the noises around you at this very moment? Is there a squeaky air conditioner whirring in the background? A barking dog? Rustle of leaves? Are the noises making you feel more relaxed or more tense? Simply by being aware, we get to choose what our next step is.