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Location: PDX, United States

Sunday, September 16, 2007


I can be really loud when I want to be. I developed this skill as a kid; having three siblings forced me to learn to project if I wanted to be heard. Working with large groups of kids makes me practice this skill all of the time. My coworkers are amazed that such a loud voice can come out of my body. I reserve my loudness for the workplace and am on the quieter side in my personal life.

I became really sensitive to noise when I lived with B., who somehow was loud even when he wasn't saying anything at all. I knew the mood he was in by the way he would close the door when he came home. A certain kind of slam would ensure that he would head straight to his office to blast music that I hated, like Melt Banana, Mr. Bungle,and No Means No. When he was in an exceptionally angry mood, he would scream "JOY!"

When I moved out, I lived in almost complete silence. I couldn't really play any music, since almost all the cds had been B.'s. I didn't even have a couch for five months.I spent a lot of time crouched on the floor in front of the heater, holding my own body, trying to get my mind around what I'd just done.

Ironically, during this time, I lived above the most noise sensitive people I've ever encountered. They complained to my landlord about the noise I made multiple times, referencing nights I wasn't even home, saying they could even hear what television show I was watching. I didn't have a television. I became paranoid about even walking around in my apartment. I was overjoyed when they finally moved out. I wondered a little about where they moved to and a shitty part of me that knew they'd never have a quieter neighbor than me hoped their new neighbors were really loud and not as easily intimated by them as I was.

I still live pretty quietly. I know how noise travels in my building, and part of my dislike of the neighbors in apartment four is their noise level. They speak at almost a shouting level. I am constantly overhearing phrases like "DO YOU WANT ANOTHER BURRITO?" spoken so loudly and delivered with such intensity that if I didn't speak English and just heard the sounds, I would think they were fighting.

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