I was a youth group advisor for many years---one of the best gigs in my life. One of the sweet 7th grade girls in our group (who, by the way, is now married and has a one-year old daughter---nothing quite like pics on facebook of her party to make a person feel REALLY old!) had a fairly loud voice. She was vibrant, exuberant, and her dad used to tell her, "Jessy, low tones" when it would get to be too much in a restaurant or perhaps during a church service. I got so tickled with that, it became a thing we would all say to each other when anyone's decibel level exceeded the norm.
Some people share every thought and every feeling and every vacation photo and every recipe and every pedicure and with the world, and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allow us to do just that (not to mention blogging, thank you). I read something the other day that one of the top ten posts people write on facebook is their "bored" status. What? Has being bored actually become significant enough to warrant a facebook post?
Couple the volume and the "I share everything" attitude and you have a recipe for disaster. Trust me, I sat in front of it on a 3 1/2 hour flight the other evening. As the very young couple boarded the plane, they were both talking at a volume that suggested they had just exited a Def Leppard concert (anyone else going to break into a little "Pour Some Sugar on Me" now? You're welcome). I turned to my seatmate, a lovely gentleman who fit in his seat (a bonus!), and said, "I'm sorry to tell you this but they will sitting behind us. I'm a magnet for that profile." He laughed....until loud couple sat down in the seats right behind us. Seatmate turned to me and, with a mix of awe and derision in his voice, said, "Wow". "I know", I replied. "It's a gift and a curse"
And so it began.....for everyone within 10 rows or so to hear:
Loud Husband (LH): I can't believe we didn't get Boarding Group 2.
Loud Wife (LW): I know. Your status isn't worth s*** on this airline, apparently.
LH: I'm calling them when we get to Houston and telling them they screwed up bigtime.
LW: That little man at the gate didn't know your status, I guess.
LH: (heavy sigh, then the volume actually increases, if that is possible) They'll hear about it for sure, you can bet on it.
LW: Geez, I just can't believe it!
And so it went, for another 10 minutes or so....
My dear seatmate turns to me and whispers, "Can you imagine them buying a house?"
We both shuddered.
"Low tones", I whispered, to no one in particular.
I actually consider that phenomenon every bit of pollution that other air contaminants are, maybe even more so.
Perhaps if we had a volume control that set off every time we got above a particular level....I think it would beep or maybe say in Jessy's dad's voice, "Low tones"
But, alas, as Dave reminded me later, "People like that would never self-monitor. They WANT people to hear them."
Aha! Good point.
Just for today, perhaps we can monitor and adjust our volume, on the off-chance we don't need everyone in a 25 foot radius hearing us talk about our frustrations with airlines, our mother, our latest meal, etc.
Happy Communicating (in low tones)