I may have mentioned once or twice that my household is loud. While there are occasions (particularly with the little girls) where the loudness is due to unpleasantness, mostly it's because we have a household of very verbal people who all want to share their opinions all the time. (Well, except when we encounter any human being outside our home. Then it is absolute silence and not necessarily a silence I appreciate.) In order for all these people to be heard when they share their opinions or whatever happens to be flitting through their head at any given time, it is necessary to speak loudly. This is because everyone else is already speaking. When the background noise is already loud, one must speak even louder to be heard.
Yes, I have tried to have them all practice the rule of one person speaking at a time that most of civilized and polite society observes. We practice... a lot... especially during dinner. We need more practice. Dinner is still exceptionally loud. It is also frequently hilarious. Such as the night a little bit ago when some children were discussing a field trip they went on. At the museum there was a plastic cow which had plastic udders hooked up to a water supply which allowed visitors a chance to "milk" a cow. TM was sharing how when it was his turn, the udder came off in his hand and water was spraying everywhere. This would have been funny enough, except that HG missed the key word "plastic" in our conversation and was horrified about a cow's udder coming off. No one actually snorted milk through their nose when the misunderstanding was discovered, but it was close. This is what I'm up against. Hilarious noise which is nearly constant, except when it is not caused by hilarity and is due to five year olds who have not gotten their way. That type of noise is not nearly as enjoyable.
The real trouble is that we've all become accustomed to speaking at a certain volume in order to be heard at any given time. I am discovering this volume is significantly louder than anyone else uses. Our indoor voices are at least as loud as most people's outdoor voices. (Which is another reason the museum worker's comments yesterday made me chuckle. Really, she didn't want us to use our indoor voices.) It is bad enough with the children, but people sort of expect children to be on the loud side, so the complications are fewer. The real problem is that I have become accustomed to using a louder voice so that I have any chance at all of being heard. Usually, my loud voice can be heard saying, "Will you people please be quiet?!" (No, the irony is not lost on me.)
So, if you have been talking to me recently in a venue outside my home, I apologize if it seemed as though I was shouting at you. There were more than a few times at church last Sunday where I realized that my voice could probably be heard over everyone else's in coffee hour. It's as if I hear group noise and am now conditioned to need to speak above it. I blame my children.