People will pay a lot of money for some peace and quiet.
I am what might politely be called sensitive to noise. When I was growing up, the sound of Garrison Keillor’s muffled, nasal bass coming up through the floorboards of my bedroom from the kitchen just before dinnertime drove me crazy; I would pound the floor and plead with my parents to turn it down. (They finally bought me a white noise machine from the Sharper Image.) Today I sleep with earplugs and keep extra sets in my office and in my handbag for emergency backup quiet. I am the one on the subway giving the evil eye to anyone talking too loudly, dropping notes under the doors of upstairs neighbors about their music habits, and skulking around the office trying to identify the source of the speakerphone conference call. I would set up residence in an Amtrak Quiet Car if they’d let me. It’s not overstating things to say that silence is my drug of choice. (You might wonder why I live in New York City. It’s a fair question.)