Monday, April 23, 2018

Noise Pollution

There are lots of different types of pollution that foul our poor old world, not only the obvious ones that the current leadership of the Environmental Protection Administration wants to ignore in the interest of protecting businesses. Light pollution is one, although most people other than astronomers don't recognize or care about it ... who needs to see the stars at night, after all?

Another important type of pollution is noise pollution - the ceaseless din that surrounds us every day.  Traffic noise, aircraft noise, painfully loud rock music, Faux News, Donald Trump ... loud, discordant noise envelops us every day, everywhere. One example of the daily decibel assault is addressed in this interesting recent article: Why Restaurants Became So Loud — and How to Fight Back.

One of our favorite local restaurants has great food, excellent service, and reasonable (for NoVa) prices*. We love going there except for one thing: you can't hear yourself think. There three primary reasons for the tremendous noise level, and the Vox article addresses all of them:

Open, industrial-like space, which can make it seem like you're sitting inside a drum.

Minimalist decor, which removes the sorts of things - like curtains, carpeting, tablecloths, and plush cushions - that used to dampen the noise in older restaurants, but which are incompatible with the current trend toward informality.

Lots of people, which is the curse of wanting to go to a place to which lots of people want to go.

Oh, and there's one more reason that restaurants are noisy - we Americans are loud. Not much we can do about this one.

What can you do to protect yourself from restaurant noise? The article suggests four things you can try:

Dine Early: Most of us prefer a later dinner, but there are fewer people, which means less noise,  before 7 o’clock.

Ask for a Quiet Table: If you’re seated in a spot that's particularly loud, ask to move to a quieter location. If you make a reservation, ask to be assigned a table in a quiet area.

Ask Your Server to Turn Down the Music: If it's too loud for you, it's probably too loud for other diners, too, but nobody has said anything. Ask your server, or a manager, if necessary, to turn it down.

Complain: If enough customers complain, the managers may understand that they’re doing something wrong. Lodge a respectful complaint with a manager before you leave the restaurant, or note the noise level in an online review.

That helps with restaurants. Unfortunately, it doesn't help with the thunderous din coming from Faux News, Donald Trump, or Congress. I'm afraid you're on your own there.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* In case you're in the area, I'm talking about Mike's American Grill in Springfield. I also love their motto - "Be Nice or Get Out."


Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Those are great tips! We'll follow them when we go to our favorite Chinese restaurant.

Mike said...

If someplace is too noisy I won't go back.