A few years ago, my husband and I went to a swanky wedding out of state.

When the reception started, Phil leaned over to me and said, “This is a classy place. I hope they’re smart enough not to play the music too loud.”

Those were the last words I heard out of his mouth for the next three hours.

Phil and I have something in common: We hate loud noise.

That does not include symphony orchestras, which we don’t think of as noise; string quartets, which only our cat abhors; and musical theater, which we both enjoy.

Noise, in our estimation, includes the sound of loud bands, demolition derbies, fireworks exploding well past our bedtime, and — when we go to the cinema — movie previews.

I always have to remind Phil, as we plug our ears during previews, that the noise won’t last into the movie itself — only the previews are loud.

Loud music at wedding receptions, parties and other such events are especially irritating because they’re great venues to meet new people and chat with old friends and family, but do we actually get to do that?

No, it’s typically too loud, and we’re not proficient at lip reading.

So as a result, we find ourselves just smiling a lot at the guests across the table or waiting for a song to end to exchange pleasantries — and then we have to make it quick.

Of course, there’s always the option of stepping outside, away from the noise, to talk with people.

We did that a few years ago at my high school class reunion.

Of all the times you might want to have a conversation with someone and hear what he or she has to say, a class reunion, I think, would be near the top of the list.

How, otherwise, would we catch up?

At my reunion, the music was so loud, we opted to leave early. We got tired of yelling at old classmates, only to have them mouth back, “What? I can’t hear you!”

We had the most meaningful discussion with the few people who gathered outside to smoke cigarettes, which wasn’t the ideal situation, as both Phil and I aren’t fond of cigarette smoke.

But we had to take something away from that reunion, be it only a few memorable chats about how much time has passed and how good or bad everyone looked.

Speaking of high school, I think I was the only student back then who despised hard rock music — and in the early 1970s, hard rock was all the rave.

If you attended parties or other events, you could be guaranteed of having to listen to hard rock, which I dreaded.

I never understood the appeal of hard rock. I didn’t understand the music, couldn’t hear what the singers were saying and basically equated it to loud noise.

I didn’t mind folk music, which was much more sedate, but the classics were another thing all together. I loved music from the baroque, classical and romantic periods, which made me an anomaly among my friends. I’m sure casual acquaintances thought I was just odd; my close friends didn’t understand or share my taste in music but were kind enough to allow me play it in their presence without running out of the room screaming.

Which is all to say that it’s our differences, I guess, that make the world go ’round.

If we were not barraged with noise now and then, we’d never appreciate silence. If we didn’t have noise to complain about, we’d find something else to target.

Still, I hate it when I go to a nice restaurant, with elegant food, and find myself scarfing it down because the music’s too loud, making me want to high-tail it out of there.

Someone told me once that some fast-food restaurants play loud music because it ensures patrons move in and out more quickly.

We sure do live in peculiar times, where the emphasis is on healthful living and de-stressing, yet we continue to crave a pace that is fast, loud and driven.

Amy Calder has been Morning Sentinel reporter 24 years. Her column appears here Mondays.

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