First World Problems Require First World Solutions.

Silence isn’t golden. Silence is the deep, velvety blackness of the early morning. At no time are you more aware of the depth of that silence and how easily broken it is than when you’re going through your usual morning routine without waking up the person in the next room. You become intensely aware of just how much noise you make.

The door hinges creak. The latch snapping into place sounds like a gunshot.

The toilet flush is a cannonade.

The shower isn’t merely running water; it’s a thundering cataract, a waterfall of immense proportions. Adjusting the temperature, moving it from scalding to lukewarm to a final reasonable medium only  intensifies the crash.

Even the steam seems to make noise as clouds of it pound the walls.

The soap squeaks in your hands like a rabbit in a poacher’s trap.

The shampoo and conditioner bottles burp out their liquid allotments.

Halfway through you realize you’re singing Duran Duran’s “The Reflex” at the top of your lungs.

Old habits are hard to break.

The faucet creaks as you turn off the shower. Water floods from the now open tap with the sound of an angry river.

After the rush even the stillness seems loud.

The activity of drying off brings the noise level down, a quiet dance with a thick terrycloth veil.

The toothpaste cap twists off with only a gentle sigh.

As the loud ratchet sound of you brushing your teeth fills the room you realize those post-shower moments of silence were just long enough that a person might be able to go back to sleep.

More silence follows. It’s blissful. You feel peace spread through the house you’ve disturbed.

Then the electric razor snaps into action, a chainsaw felling the hairy seedlings that have sprouted from your face over the past day. In the harsh glare of the bathroom bulb you wipe away the five a.m. shadow and you’re racked with guilt for breaking everyone else’s hibernation.

Sound familiar? If so I’m giving you a chance to get in on the ground floor of my latest invention: the sound-proof bathroom!


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  1. Gilly Maddison

    Yes – this is exactly how it is – the context of the situation really does change how we perceive noise. Your description is vivid and made me smile – especially the toilet flush example – it just cannot be done quietly!

    My husband has to get up at 6am every day and his job is very physical – so he needs unbroken sleep. If I wake in the early hours (which I often do), it seems like absolutely every single move I make, however insignificant under other conditions, suddenly involves deafening noise – which very well described here. A sound-proof pod for him to sleep in would benefit us both greatly, so maybe that could be your next invention?

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      A sound-proof sleeping pod might be the more elegant solution although the idea kind of unnerves me. I’d rather be awakened by noise than be in something that blocks it all out. It’s the same reason I can’t sleep in a sleep mask or with ear plugs in. It’s a very primal instinct. If there’s potential danger when I’m sleeping I want to be able to see and/or hear it as soon as I’m awake.

  2. Gilly

    Here is the ‘is’ I left out of my second last sentence.Feel free to insert it.

  3. halfa1000miles

    I’m all in with this. Sign me up. I am so immature that when I hear a fart through a closed bathroom door I have to yell “Heard it!. Hubby is not impressed. I wear a Fitbit, not to count steps, but to vibrate to wake me, since I get up 1/2 hour before Hubby. And yep, every noise I make seems crazy loud.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Using a Fitbit to wake you up is a really good idea. That’s actually the best use I’ve heard for a Fitbit. Seriously, I don’t need some device to remind me how little I’m exercising, but using it to tell me when to get my ass out of bed is something I could use.

  4. Arionis

    The mental image of you singing “The Reflex” at the top of your lungs has me cracking up! LOL!

    I’ll invest in your soundproof bathroom if you invest in my Buttfit.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Of course I’ll invest in the Buttfit. As much time as I spend sitting around that seems like a brilliant idea.

  5. Mrs Fancy-Pants

    I had no trouble sleeping through my husband’s bathroom noises….right until we had our spawn, and I would lie there, terrified, just waiting for him to wake them up with ALL HIS BLOODY NOISE!!!!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I take it he wouldn’t be able to put the spawn back to sleep by himself. And I hope he was trying to be quiet although as I’ve discovered the more you try to be quiet the louder you end up being.


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