Toney and I were talking about sounds that drive us crazy yesterday. I have a bunch o’ them, and so does she. However, they don’t overlap much. And she thinks my list is ridiculous, while hers is perfectly logical. It’s funny how that works, right?
She says for her it’s all “human” sounds. Including, but not limited to the following:
- Lip smacking
- Gum chewing
- Foot tapping
- Finger drumming
- Knuckle cracking
I also cannot stand the first two on that list, especially the lip smacking. It’s one of those things that almost makes me angry. Was there no home training? How was this atrocity allowed to continue deep into adulthood?! My parents would’ve put an end to that shit long before it was allowed to metastasize. Hell, some people seem to have a mouth with perfect acoustics to accentuate the noise and project it into the room. Like a tiny Hollywood Bowl with teef. I’ve attempted to re-create the impossible volume of random people eating chips and salsa in Mexican restaurants, and can’t do it. Not even if I really go for it and risk a catastrophic chip laceration.
But I also have others that Toney believes are ridiculous.
For instance… the sound of someone talking through a walkie-talkie almost makes my brain explode. I don’t know why. I think it’s just the shrillness of it, and the unnecessary high volume. I’m almost certain you can adjust the volume up and down, right? Why are they always — without exception — kept on the LUDICROUS setting? Also, walkie-talkies are not telephones, you shouldn’t be having full conversations over them. Grrr… I’m getting annoyed just writing about it. Whenever we’re in Sam’s Club or Home Depot, where the employees all carry those things, I’m about to crawl out of my skin. And Toney doesn’t seem to even hear it.
Also… somebody dragging a chair across a tile floor. If you have to move it, pick the thing up and set it back down. We were in a brew pub a few months ago, with the unfortunate name Wallenpaupack Brewing Company, and it was like a school cafeteria in there. It was huge and cavernous, with tile or linoleum on the floor. Everybody kept dragging and shoving their metal chairs, and causing loud scraping noises. I was shouting, “Seriously?!” It was nothing short of maddening, and Toney… nothing. It didn’t even register with her. Amazing. But if somebody had been across the room tapping their foot, it would’ve been a different story.
Another one that makes me crazy: incessant beeping, like on heavy machinery or a forklift or whatever. It can go on for a limited amount of time and I roll with it. But at some point a threshold is crossed and I flip my lid. It’s like Chinese water torture. STOP IT! MAKE IT STOP!! I’LL BURN THIS PLACE TO THE FUCKING GROUND! And Toney doesn’t even notice it.
Sometimes it goes the other way, but not often. The most obvious example of that was when Andy, the king of dogs, was still with us. Any kind of noise he would make with his mouth made Toney lose her mind. Like if he was drinking water “too long,” or licking his ass or wiener or whatever dogs are always doing. I sincerely didn’t notice any of it, but she could seemingly lock in on that crap from a different floor of the house. Sheesh, I’d say. What a kook.
What do you have on this subject? Which sounds cause you to wince and grimace? Bring us up to date on it in the comments. Any unique ones? Anything out of the ordinary? I’m interested to read all about it.
And before I call it a day here, I have a few links to share. Some friends o’ the site and podcast have some cool projects going, which I want to alert you guys to.
Producer Zipp does a hilarious podcast with his friend Bob, called No Redeeming Qualities. Every year they produce counter-programming to Shark Week, and do a series of shows about a different animal. This years it’s the walrus, and here’s some info about Walrus Week. Good stuff! You should definitely check it out. Also, they asked a local band (they’re in Houston) to create a brief Walrus Week jingle, maybe 10 or 15 seconds long. And the band, called Dompston Checks In, came back with an amazing full-length song, which you can hear right here. Do yourself a favor and crank it up!
Also, my old Peaches Records & Tapes buddy Eugene has a great new(ish) podcast called Wheeler’s Dog — which is a super-obscure Green Acres reference I’ve learned. Eugene is a funny guy and his podcast is really good. He takes a similar approach to it as I do in mine — reacting to things that happen in our everyday lives. But with his own unique Eugene point o’ view. The podcast is available everywhere, and I recommend it. Check it out.
And I’m calling it a day here, my friends.
I hope you’re doing well out there.
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I agree with Toney on the dog mouth noises, and the knuckle cracking.
Some of my least-favorite sounds: styrofoam rubbing on anything, when someone uses a paper napkin to clean their teeth (*shiver*), clattering cutlery on dishes (the ‘russian diner’ effect), the stupid extra ‘ding’ after my car starts up that lets me know I’m either low on gas or it thinks it needs an oil change, the frigging cat scratching something she shouldn’t.
Waiting on a hurricane here in NC. As someone recently stated, ‘this is the most normal thing to happen in 2020.’
Phil Jett says
Oh my the styrofoam. A styrofoam cooler, in the car, a 4 hour drive, Cleveland to Indiana Pa., when I was a kid. Oh the humanity of it all. My spine aches thinking about those trips.
Yes! The styrofoam sound could send me to the whacky shack! It ranks right up there with that obnoxious “slowly letting the air out of a balloon high pitched squeak” sound. (for lack of a better phrase).
Smoke alarm beeping – there was one around me somewhere in the neighborhood that beeped for years
Talking on the phone with someone who has a piece of hard candy or a mint in their mouth. Even if it doesn’t clack slightly on the teeth (though it usually does) the difference in the sound quality of the voice can induce pure hatred.
Toney’s entire list plus:
someone incessantly clicking a pen
someone incessantly sniffing snot (GET A TISSUE MF!)
unnecessarily LOUD car stereos booming ghetto music. WTF!? i want to sit on my front porch & shoot every MF that goes by at all hours of the day & night & causes the pictures & stuff on my walls to vibrate.
I live in a college town. I know what that is about. I work with a couple of people who do the sniffing thing and the coughing thing all day thing.
surreal killer says
People who shuffle their feet make me feel homicidal.
Root 66 says
The top of my list: when someone runs a metal eating utensil through their teeth! It makes everything shrivel up on me and every hair stand on end. I hate, Hate, HATE that!
Now, in no particular order:
-People who talk with that ‘vocal fry’.
-Total silence. I have tinnitus, so I constantly need some kind of ‘white noise’ to keep me from wanting to bang my head against the wall on account of the incessant ringing!
-It’s already been mentioned, but someone with the constant sniffles takes me from zero to pissed off in a heartbeat. Grab a frickin’ hankie, fer cryin’ out loud!
-People rubbing their hands on a balloon also makes my skin crawl. I’d rather take a punch in the face than hear that madness!
Dank Burgleson says
That Walrus song needs a grammy
Nowadays it’s the “sounder” that my local NPR station has recently adopted. Playing this piece of shit every five seconds makes me like your station less, not more. Fire your marketing people.
Back in the day, it was the sound of a quad machine. 240 rpm * 4 heads = 960 Hz. My left ear is permanently deaf at that frequency. Thanks, TR-60. Now, of course, I wish I had recorded that sound.
And even more so, the Ampex ACR-25B. What a magnificent machine. The loader and vacuum column tape tensioner had a distinct sound. This thing was a “cassette player” for 2-inch quad videotape, and could play 10-second spots back-to-back indefinitely. Very impressive at the time, because it had to rewind the tape, put it away, find the next tape, inject it, thread it up, cue it, start playing and lock up to house sync – this took about 8 seconds. Mid 1980s.
Chill, I had to look that one up. I’m familiar with a number of uses of that word, including “a group of wild boar or domestic pigs foraging in woodland”, the sounds of which are most often encountered these days at fast food joints. I don’t eat the food, but I’ve heard its distant echoes.
Also, “a device for detecting operability in a telegraph”. My parents (b. 1917, 1918) were both licensed amateur telegraphy operators. I learned basic skills as a kid, but I never made it far enough to acquire a “hand”.
And I doubt that you’re talking about the Brazilian thrash metal band, although Lord knows somebody should.
I suppose you’re talking about a terrestrial radio station identifier. I find those NPR sounders more palatable than their competition with “Kars4Kids” for my old jalopy. Since there’s no reason to incur the expense of having my ride of 21 years burned up with me at the crematorium, I’ll leave it to NPR and the Kars4Kids people can go to hell.
In the mean time, we need to restore federal funding to public radio and get that nice Mr. Keillor back on the air. THAT should take care of your ambient noise concerns.
I recall Mr. Keillor saying that “orphans get a good deal less sympathy when they’re 73 years old.” I did like his show; he was (is?) a good storyteller. The local station has cancelled many shows that I liked, such as Hot Jazz Saturday Night – a gem of a show, hosted by Rob Bamberger, who is a walking encyclopedia of 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s jazz. They canned him to put on some lame hipster bullshit, and a repeat of Weakened Edition.
When I was in high school, we moved into a house that had been built in the 19th century by one of those “pioneers of electricity” (not a famous one). In the attic were many 1930s and 40s college textbooks for physics, math, electronics… evidently one of the guy’s (grand?)sons went to engineering school and accumulated this stuff. There were also a few 1940s editions of the Radio Amateur’s Handbook, and a Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia. Being a nerdy electronics hobbyist, I ate this stuff up. I never got my ham license because Morse code, but I did get my First Phone.
Hey, Chill, mark your calendar! Next Friday (14 August) WOWD 94.3 FM is broadcasting A HOT JAZZ FRIDAY STAYCATION from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm EDT. Don’t know if this is a one time only or a series of shows. The station has a very weak signal so you’ll probably have to listen online.
In the mean time, three minutes of Mose Allison is worth a dimebag of just about anybody else. He was about 80 in this short clip, and still pretty nimble with the fingers and the lyrics. . .
And this isn’t jazz, but it’s pretty good guitar work and, until it got played a million times, it was a pretty good song. Stay for the solo . . .
I do love me some Mose. His voice sounds just as good as it did in the 1970s. I may be just a middle class white boy, but at least my mind is on staycation.
Clue, thanks for that! I’m glad to see Rob is still with us. And looking at the website, it seems like he’s doing a somewhat regular show; monthly maybe? Anyway it will be fantastic to hear him (and his record collection) again. It’s been more that two years since WAMU unceremoniously shitcanned him.
I have to agree with Toney on the incessant fingernail drumming. I work with 2 impatient nervous Nellies who constantly clatter the tops of their desks with their manicured nails, to the point where I have to walk into the break room or hallway to get away from the sound.
I also can’t stand the beep beep sound of a truck backing up. Or those huge trucks on the highway hitting the Jake Brakes. I don’t like loud noises in general. My shoulders actually flinch. Beloved has a tendency to turn music up to a deafening level and I can’t stand that. My living room is NOT Madison Square Garden.
I think the top noise, though, is a baby crying in distress. Not a hungry or tired baby, but one in pain. That goes through me like a knife.
madz, it’s good to hear you’re no longer living at the Garden; especially since those Ramones reunion rumours have faded with time. We can only wait so long — then we have to move on.
Norman Wisdom, Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, good times.
For many years my parents lived next door to Joey. Apartments 10J and 10K. Mom said he was a nice boy, but his friends were not so nice.
I had the pleasure of seeing the Remones at a very small venue (Tuxedo junction, Danbury, CT) long after they became popular. It was like hanging out in someone s garage. Unbelievable evening.
Or, as Abraham Ramone said, “onetwothreefour score and seven years ago . . .”.
People who have their phones configured to make a sound for every “key press” when typing should be shot in the street, with more draconian punishment for repeat offenders.
People slurping drinks. If its too hot, blow across it first ffs.
The sound of an overloaded electrical tool due to someone overfeeding it (ie: dremel, bench or hand held grinder).
I’ve recently retired but when I was working we had one of those battery-operated air fresheners in every bathroom that would emit a beep every 12 seconds when the canister was due to be replaced. Now when you’re sitting down conducting your business, that beep becomes so much worse than the Chinese water torture because it actually becomes counter-productive to what you are trying to accomplish as the annoyance and stress ramps up. I would turn the thing off or reset the counter regularly and the next time I would be there it would be beeping again as if someone just turned it back on without replacing the canister or anything. And I would constantly wonder “Doesn’t anyone from Maintenance ever have to use this bathroom? Don’t they hear this????”. Add to list of things I do not miss about the job…
On the other hand, the distress of having your timing thrown off by a five dollar smell replacer might be offset by the pleasure of conducting your mandated bodily business on company time.
Every coin has two sides in a universe with four dimensions, with the possible exception of the Susan B. Anthony dollar.
Sebastian Valmont says
I am very sensitive to noise in general, but the sounds that annoy me are:
Open mouth chewing, slurping, dogs licking themselves, knuckle cracking, snifflers, and bad singing. There used to be a young lady at my old job that would sing way out of tune in her cubicle, and finally management had to tell her to shut up because people complained. While I felt kind of bad, I was relieved that I didn’t have to listen to her screech anymore. Like another poster here said, I absolutely hate heavy bass on vehicles. It’s actually a reason I’m moving to a more rural area; I’ve called the cops so many times on people blasting shitty music until 2am when I have to get up at 6 for work. Also, cars that have flow masters and other devices intended to make their shitty ’96 Honda have more “horsepower” or whatever dimwits think it will do.
Anyway, I hope everyone here at the Surf Report is doing well and staying healthy, safe and sane.
knuckle cracking!! OMG how could i have forgotten that one!? i immediately freak out & get my fingers in my ears as fast as possible. it literally makes me gag.
When I used to go out in public and spend money on things unnecessary for life, the sound of the hairy man at Dunk’n Donuts clanking the empty sheet pans together to make room for full ones, used to make me want to scratch his eyes out. I have no problem clanking my own sheet pans together, or more like when I open the cabinet and they all come crashing down on the floor every.fucking.time, but him doing it was like he was purposely trying to drive me insane. It is possible to move sheet pans without making that noise, it was like he had been deaf his whole life and hearing sounds for the first time and this clanking was bringing him so much joy he couldn’t stop.