Saturday, April 11, 2009

Second Hand Noise

Having put up for years with bogus studies and dire warnings detailing the health risks of second hand smoke to those around me I have finally reached a point where I will seldom smoke in public. The looks of horror and disgust, the disdainful remarks, and the visible hatred that I am subjected to by many of those around me in such situations is simply not worth the small pleasure of enjoying a fine cigar.  

While I continue to refuse to give up my "filthy little habit", I will at least concede the day to the army of politically correct nannies who seem to control the discussion and limit myself to such guilty pleasures either in the privacy of my home or during the occasional pilgrimage to a good cigar store (and La Casa de la Habana, you know who you are). Having thus performed this sacrifice for the betterment of mankind however, I now have a health concern of my own that I wish to share. My concern is for the insidious and despicable attack on my piece of mind made through second hand noise. Now for those of you who cannot understand this concept, it is basically noise that someone else is making, that has nothing to do with me, and that I do not wish to hear. I am sure that you know the kinds of noise that I'm talking about if you take but a moment to think about it; but let me list just a few of them anyway:
  • You are crammed into an airplane for a cross-country trip, only to be subjected to someone four rows ahead of you playing an I-Pod or DVD player through their headphones loud enough for you to hear what they are listening to just well enough to annoy the hell out of you.
  • You are stopped at an intersection only to have someone pull up beside you in a car whose stereo is playing loud enough to rattle the windows in yours, not only drowning out the sound of your own radio, but that of your engine as well.
  • You are sitting in a quiet restaurant attempting to enjoy a fine meal, a great bottle of wine, and perhaps an even better conversation with someone, only to be interrupted by the screams of a baby far too young to be there in the first place, but brought nevertheless.
  • You are attempting to shop for what may prove to be a couple of completely unnecessary items in a grocery store or mall as quickly as possible before returning to the relative peace and quiet of your home, only to be subject to the squeals, screams, and shouts of some family's rug rats as they clamor for some sugar or chocolate coated item or toy guaranteed to make their behavior only worse.
  • You are sitting almost anywhere these days, simply trying to enjoy a moment of peace in what is proving an increasingly insane world, only to have that brief respite ruined by someone who thinks that listening to their end of a conversation on the hands-free rig of their cell phone is something that you cannot live without.
People, if I am forced to deal with your unproven anecdotal data on the dangers of second hand smoke and to modify my behavior as a consequence, then those of you contributing to the loss of the volume control of the planet can deal with my very real concerns with the now deafening output of noxious noise coming from most of the rest of you, most of the time. 

Perhaps those of you particularly guilty of making this auditory assault on our collective eardrums can make a sacrifice similar to my own, and limit yourself to more solitary occasions for your mostly auditory assault. Perhaps it's time that every one of you contributing to the higher overall decibel level of the human race begin to make a similar behavior modification in the name of species' peace of mind. 


Hooda Thunkit said...

But, but, but..., you want to curb their right to be publicly obnoxious just because you want a little peace and sanity in the world around YOU!

How dare you expect others to control their progeny and not share their private conversations and so-called musical tastes with you...

Why, sadly, that appears to be un-American, as much of the rest of the still (albeit shrinking) civilized world would tend to agree.

Welcome to the ugly Americans my friend, unfortunately their ranks are swelling :-(

(A Happy and quiet Easter to you Amigo, although I doubt that it will be...)

Tim Higgins said...


How right you are. Welcome to the new noisy, ill-mannered America where the deficit goes up almost as fast as good manners shrink.

Just wait til next time when we take on the next of our five sense ...

As for Easter, shhhh .... This Elmer is hunting chocolate rabbits.

Winky Twinky said...

tsk tsk...hunting chocolate may have sunk to a new low...hehe..... Anyway, I do not share your love of the cigar smoke, but I do however agree with your right to be able to do so! I'm not a smoker either, but HATED the smoking ban...because people who have half a brain SHOULD realize that seizing people's rights in one area only transfer over to every other right we USED to hold dear. It's SUCH a shame that the rights our fathers fought so hard for are being squandered by people who don't have at least the one brain cell required to think ONE coherent thought for themselves.... Okay, I could say a lot more, but I'll stop here... good post, Tim!!

Tim Higgins said...


Bagged a few rabbits, and without a hunting license I might add.

You are right on about rights though, I would love to have one of today's do-gooders explain to the Founding Fathers about all of the things that they feel are their rights. It could be amusing.

Ben said...


That first example of noise pollution on a plane happened to me a couple weeks ago. I was two rows ahead and could hear the lyrics. It was pretty shocking.

Roland Hansen said...

Planes, libraries, restaurants, department stores, grocery stores, public restrooms and more are full of second-hand noise most especially from cell phone users and obnoxious loud overbearing rude insensitive ego-centric individuals.
Oh, and by the way, If I seem unclear on my position, I'll just say that I think far too many people are inconsiderate of other people around them.

Hooda Thunkit said...


Can't speak for anybody else, but I clearly got your message :-)

No doubt in my mind...