What is it with people being loud in public spaces? I’ve written about loud yoga breathers and sighers before. Today, it was a girl in the gym, grunting like crazy while lifting weights and then WOO-ing and breathing loudly and heavily when she switched to the treadmill to run. I’m happy for her – she’s pushing herself hard and she seems to be enjoying it – but I couldn’t help but notice it and compare it to my own behavior. I spend a lot of time trying to make sure I’m not bothering anyone. I don’t want to notice other people most of the time, and I don’t want them to notice me. I assume that other people want the same thing, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe these loud people want to be noticed, or maybe, and possibly more likely, they just don’t care.
But what’s that about? Is it carelessness? Callousness? “I don’t care about other people being comfortable, so I’m going to be loud and take up space.” Or is it self-confidence? “I am me, and I need to make these sounds and be obtrusive, and I’m not hurting anyone, and it’s okay with me if other people do the same thing.” She certainly wasn’t keeping me from my workout, and while it was a little distracting, it’s not like I need total silence to get anything done.
I sound like I’m complaining, but I’m really not. Yoga, talking through a movie, being loud in a library – those are different. Those are quiet spaces for everyone. When you’re at the gym, outside, in a store, at a mall, be loud, whatever. I’ll notice, and I may judge (in my head only), but I don’t really care. What’s to be bothered about? I just don’t understand it. I’m trying to think of times I’m cool with being loud in public.
- Roller coasters. I will scream my head off, on purpose, on a roller coaster.
- Concerts.* I sing and shout and WOO and whatever.
Honestly, I can’t think of any other public space where I’m comfortable just being LOUD and not trying to consider others. I’m not trying to say I’m super-considerate of others all the time. I’m just aware that other people are around, and I feel like I act that way. Most of the time. I have accidentally hit people while gesturing. I’m not so good at noticing when people are close behind me. So maybe I gesture loudly and I should just shut up now because I’m just like that girl in the gym. We are one.
*Of the rock variety, of course. Can you imagine? “WOOO! Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048: Allegro! WOOOOOO!!!”