Screaming Bloody Murder

During the Yeah Yeah Yeahs concert at Berkeley’s Greek Theater on Saturday, I was on the receiving end of an attempted murder. The show was good and the crowd was friendly, but I happened to be seated in front of a stone cold killer; one of those concert attendees who repeatedly screams a high-pitched Woooooo! — a sound intended to show enthusiasm for the experience, but one that hit an obstacle between its source and its intended recipient about 100 yards in the distance. That obstacle was my head. Or more specifically, my ears.

Maybe I’m being unfair equating this behavior with murder as the screamer was merely expressing relentless exuberance. The years her behavior took off my life were simply a side-effect of what is actually a pretty common behavior. While I’m still able to testify in the case, let me amend my accusation to say it was more manslaughter than murder, and my attacker is hardly the only perpetrator of this chronic sonic crime. There are plenty of them out there, and they’re trying to kill you, too. NYT (Gift Article): Noise Could Take Years Off Your Life. Here’s How. “Unpleasant noise enters your body through your ears, but it is relayed to the stress detection center in your brain. This area, called the amygdala, triggers a cascade of reactions in your body. If the amygdala is chronically overactivated by noise, the reactions begin to produce harmful effects. The endocrine system can overreact, causing too much cortisol, adrenaline and other chemicals to course through the body. The sympathetic nervous system can also become hyperactivated, quickening the heart rate, raising blood pressure, and triggering the production of inflammatory cells. Over time, these changes can lead to inflammation, hypertension and plaque buildup in arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and stroke.” (That’s exactly what I tried to explain to the 911 operator I called from the Greek Theater on Saturday night, but they couldn’t hear me over the Woooooo!-ing.)

Copied to Clipboard