Hey. Y'know what really, REALLY grinds my gears? Screaming children. Mostly in restaurants, but anywhere in public, really. I have extremely sensitive hearing. Extremely. Life is very difficult for me to navigate because of it. Things hurt my ears that don't bother normal people. Screaming children in restaurants is really upsetting for me. Happy toddlers are far worse than crying infants. (Though that probably isn't the case from the parent's perspective, I know.) With crying infants, you get a bit of warning. It's not so sudden that you don't know it's coming. If an infant starts crying, there's a bit of a windup, and you have a chance to cover your ears. And it's not as loud, either. Happy toddlers let out sudden, shrill shrieks with no warning. It's like a gun being fired. No chance for one to cover one's ears. I have had to get up and leave many-a-restaurant in the middle of a meal, leaving my poor and very understanding parents to pay the bill and package the rest of the food to go. I carry earplugs with me wherever I go, but I cannot eat with them, or any hearing protectors, because the echo of the chewing in my skull in also intolerable. (Yup, I'm a f*ckin' nutcase.) This issue causes me so much grief that it's often life-deranging.
I wish so much that there was a wide variety of adult-only restaurants. Y'know, besides bars, that is. (I'm not at all comfortable in an atmosphere like that, and that sort of place is usually even louder.) Why can't I just have some reliably quiet places to dine with my parents where we can talk and have a relaxing time without having our hearing assaulted? I hate this world.