Dear Mary Pat,

Dear Mary Pat,

I think they are all deaf and sometimes, in a restaurant trying to enjoy dinner, I wish I was also. I’m referring to these people who sit facing each other six inches apart and they are yelling and screeching continuously. They can’t talk in a normal voice. They can’t stop even when they’re chewing. I fear my water glass will crack or the plates will break and conversation at our table has to end the moment they sit down and start bellering. Have they been to Yelling School? Do they call cattle as a daytime job? Do they ever consider that they are wrecking everyone else’s meal and maybe all our eardrums? What’s your take on this?

For Fewer Decibels in Door County

Dear For Fewer Decibels in Door County,

I agree that this is a frustrating occurrence. I am particularly sensitive to noise myself and have in some cases considered moving to a place where people only show up every third day or every 52nd day depending on how I am feeling and the pitch of voices around me. (By the way, thank you for using “bellering” in your letter to me. I love this word! It is not very commonly used, so for those of you not in the know, bellering means to scream, shout, shriek, wail, etc.)

There are several reasons why people are so loud. (I have considered getting a team of scientists together for research; however, I then remembered that there are many pressing issues that the scientific world is currently working on, and my noise sensitivity will have to take a back seat for the time being.) Please see below for a list of repeat offenders in the loud department:

1) You’ve got your garden variety blowhards that just like to hear themselves talk, so they always speak much louder than necessary. Your best bet with this kind of person is to hope that you only run into them during their naptime when you might only risk hearing snoring. If you do run into him/her in a restaurant, get your earplugs out and consider having a written conversation with your tablemates instead.

2) Then there are the lushes whose voices increase with every alcoholic beverage consumed. One glass of wine, it’s a quiet hee hee hee similar to that of a Geisha. By glass four, it’s HARDEE HAR HAR HAR, SNORT, SNORT, SHRIEK accompanied with a lot of back slapping, pounding on tables and stomping of feet. Um, check please??

3) There are those who don’t know the difference between an inside voice and an outside voice. They are harmless and have routinely proven useful in distributing local gossip faster than Facebook. These are also the people who think they are whispering when they have actually never mastered this helpful task. My brother-in-law thinks that he knows how to whisper. Meanwhile, his neighbor two doors down has heard “Joe” reveal his secret for a perfect deep-fried Thanksgiving turkey.

4) There are lots of people out there with Middle Child Syndrome who have been talked over their whole lives by their older and younger siblings. They generally aren’t too loud, but you might find them repeating themselves in an effort to be heard.

I am sure that there are other reasons why people are loud, but until I convene that scientific panel, this will have to do for now. In the meantime, I recommend eating out earlier (blowhards and boozebags are generally out later), learning sign language to communicate with your friends and having cotton balls at the ready to stuff in your ears.

Good luck,

Mary Pat