Tag: mind-flooding background noise infernos

Dinners & Sensory Overload

Recently I’ve been to dinner in a restaurant twice. With the first of the two dinners, it was so long time since I’ve tried it last that I thought that maybe dinners are not as bad as I remembered them. However, they are even worse than I remembered.

My husband told me that our neighbour Toby* had invited us out for dinner, and he had said yes, so we were going. We had been talking about inviting the neighbour over for coffee or something for some time. It is nice to have good neighbour relationships, and we like Toby.

Toby is a relaxed, quirky elderly guy who lives by himself and has a bunch of old** cockatoo friends whom he chats with on his balcony in front of our house. I often have a short chat with him and his friends*** in the mornings when I pass by his house during the morning walkies with my dogs.

First Dinner

First I didn’t get that the dinner was in a restaurant. When I did, my husband said that he had explained to Toby that I have issues with background noise, so that it had to be a quiet place. It would be somewhere local, close to home. All in all, it sounded like it was going to be OK.

Clipart: dinner table in restaurant with a bottle of red wine and a glass on

The restaurant turned out to be a local Chinese restaurant in the nearby little low key (some would say white trash) town. There wasn’t any table available when we arrived, so we waited in a nearby pub, all by ourself outside in their beer garden. That was nice.

Then we went to the restaurant and was seated at our table. The noise level was overwhelming. There was the typical relentless cascades of background chatter spiked with sudden high pitched laughter mixed with the massive, irregular murmur of miscellaneous restaurant sounds – Kitchen scramble, cutlery hitting plates et.c – as there are in restaurants.

I wore my usual invisible ear plugs but they weren’t quite effective enough. There was a birthday party with a toddler that kept screaming; a torturous high pitched sound that tore right through the ear plugs and “through marrow & bones”**** at irregular intervals. So I turned on my magic inner sensory shield, and the cacophony of irrelevant noise bounced off my personal space field as if the room was quiet, only letting through what I needed to hear. Just kidding…


A Lovely Bouquet from Lori!

Boquet for Mados

… of A Quiet Week in the House. Thank you so much Lori for creating this amazing artwork! This makes me very happy every time I look at it.

From Lori’s comments, the flower vase is an ear to appreciate one “hearing” you without words, silent support… and it also refers to the over-sensitive hearing that gives problems with background noise.

And yes, the image makes sense to me in so many ways. It feels familiar and relevant yet strange. The flowers convey the idea of a unique sweet-sour taste of red berries and those specific soft white flowers, lemon (?), ancient science & scriptures, and decorative stingy bushes and ferns. Symbolically, the image seems to carry a message about the beauty of receptiveness; listening to friends; inspiration from listening; uniqueness and trustworthiness.

The ear makes particular personal sense to me. If I was to draw my own unique Sensory Homunculus based on my intuition, then the ears would be huge on the drawing. Ears, hands, feet, and skin surfaces would be giant features.

Ears are not just hearing-tools. Hearing is just one of he ways the ears assist (or obstruct) interaction with the surroundings. The skin on the ears senses subtle air flows in the surroundings, and the ears move subtly and change expression in response to feelings and sensory inputs. They are fine tuned communication organs in more than one way.

The ears are important instruments for sensing my own position in a space and estimate how far away the edges are. I like that a lot when I walk down the street or navigate a crowd, or even drive in my car with the windows open. When that function is switched off, then moving in a space tends to feel fumbling and unstructured.

When I imagine calming rhythms and sounds and sensations that help me align my inner rhythm with that of the surroundings, then it feels like they happen in the ears, although I do of course know that it is an imaginary activity that happens inside the brain.

Ears are also too wide open giant receptors that allow all the noise of the world to pass straight into my head and flood my mind like a cacophonous wild ocean (that is what a shopping mall sounds like, for example). No thanks to the ears for that.

The image remind me what I like to be: I like to be a good listener. I like to be a good friend. I like to learn. I like to grow from the inspiration I take in from other people. Thank you 🙂