All of this so far has been fun, and I am expecting the rest of it to be fun too.
Tonight was not fun.
This evening was Andres' 10th high school reunion (the reason we're here now, as opposed to some other time this summer). They had it up at the Oasis, which is this big restaurant on Lake Travis. The first part was okay; kind of boring, but I was expecting that, seeing as I don't know any of these people. But I can go around and smile and chime in on the answers to those of the typical questions that are directed at both of us, and listen to Andres talk about his job and stuff, and meet new people, and that is all mildly interesting. And the sunset was pretty.
And then they turned the music on, and it became Too Loud. Every half-hour or so, they'd turn it up louder. We ate (the only vegetarian thing they had was chips... I want to go home now, where restaurants can usually feed me) in the quietest part of the room, and then I fled to a chair outside while Andres finished off his socializing. I found a book about the restaurant's architect on a table out there, so I flipped through that while the music got louder and louder and louder and very, very drunk people from the other party downstairs came up to use the restroom. This worked okay until about the last half-hour, when the reunion folks made speeches and things from the deeply over-amplified sound system and then played more music at volumes which were Way Too Loud even out where I was, and a couple of the very, very drunk people from downstairs decided that I was clearly not having enough fun and needed to be cheered up by being flirted with. The first half of their supposition was true.
I have at least progressed to the point where I can recognize when the fundamental problem is Too Loud; it's taken a while to see that coming before it's gotten me to the state where I can't even figure out how to escape it. I even took appropriate measures by leaving, but it looks like now I have to learn to leave further away. I have a cell phone. I can do that.
But it distresses me when that's a problem, because I feel like it shouldn't be. I mean, first, why in hell do they turn music up like that? At concerts, where people are there to listen to the music, they turn it up so loud that people have to wear earplugs, which seems to me to completely defeat the purpose of the whole event. At this event, where the whole point is for people who haven't seen each other in ages to talk to each other, they turn it up so loudly that the people can't hear each other talk, which isn't helpful. Second, why can't I deal with the noise? Other people don't seem bothered by it; I mean, they complain because they have to wear earplugs and can't hear each other, but they don't generally leave, and they hardly ever get reduced to little puddles of immobile unhappiness (although if I ever get good at predicting this and dealing with the effects promptly, I won't either, so that's probably mostly selection bias there). I just feel like such a killjoy, not being able to have a good time, or fake one, when there's noise like that. Everybody else seems to like it.