I dined happily alone this evening in a small and spartan Chinese restaurant. Nearby was a table of seven young people, probably – given the drift of their conversations – university students (does this matter?*), all speaking very loudly. I wondered why they were so annoyingly loud and concluded that most people today are so used to an accompaniment of amplified thumps and caterwauls -- the sounds that pass for background music these days (curmudge curmudge) -- that even in its absence they must shout.
This need, I suggest, is brought on merely by socialising in a public venue.
I have come across this phenomenon many times before but tonight''s episode was an extreme example. I suspect that those students would have been deafening were I not already undergoing some hardening of the hearing.
* It matters a little because their shouting was inconsiderate and thus uncivil. Whither civilisation then if the very best and brightest of our youth cannot contain their exuberance, eh? What's that?