Can an entire country be quiet? I think it can certainly be quieter than another. After having been in Nicaragua for about a month, I think England is a pretty quiet country.
I’ve mentioned how I think the language you speak profoundly influences the way you think and act, so on a larger scale surely the language of a country greatly affects its culture and way of life. Spanish is known for being a very animated and interactive language and that’s maybe made Nicaragua noisier, livelier and more expressive than England.
From the hollering of people selling juice and ice cream on the street and buses, to the cacophonous honking of car horns, noise and the concept of personal space are completely differently here. For example: it’s a common occurrence for a guy to get on a crowded bus and push his way through the hot mass of people whilst loudly advertising his food; on the London underground he’d be met with a sea of silent faces, but here it’s unquestioningly accepted.
It made me think how in England the attitude towards personal space and only communicating with strangers if it is completely necessary, creates a barrier that reduces human interaction and ultimately ends up isolating the individual. You only need to look around on a train or bus to see people too preoccupied with their devices to talk. Screens become an excuse not to interact, which makes people from already quiet countries like England, even quieter.
2 thoughts on “Noise and personal space”
Very interesting observations, Max.
Having worked mostly in London last week, the image of anywhere even noisier, is quite disturbing to me! The reliance on car horns especially, as your Dad described in India recently, would drive me to distraction.
But the lack of interaction I disagree with – on one occasion last week, I did actually ask a chap on the underground to stop standing on my toe, as the pain had become quite intense. He gave me the loveliest smile and I feel we connected briefly, before he went back to his screen.
Yes, at first it was quite a shock but you grow accustomed to it all like anything. I know London is noisy as well, a different kind of noise; besides people shouting loudly here to sell things, what strikes me is the noise of the firecrackers the kids set off in the street all the time which are as loud as gunshots and sometimes go off at 4-5 in the morning!
Perhaps he was smiling at the fact that his inflicting pain had actually moved someone to interact?