chapter  7
22 Pages

The Sensory Order

I(Simon) am sitting in an airplane, flying to Europe, reading a book insteadof watching the movie. Every few seconds, a woman sitting a couple of rows behind me chuckles a bit too loudly. I suppose she is amused by the infantile movie, but I notice that none of the other spectators is laughing. Hence, I conclude that she is laughing not only too loudly but without sufficient reason. What are the sonic norms in an airplane? It seems a bit strange that anybody’s voice could be considered too noisy, given the roaring of the engines, the clattering of the plastic trays, the squeaking wheels of the food carts, the banging of overhead luggage compartments, the constant ringing of bells summoning crew members, and the amplified voice of the pilot waking you in the middle of God-knows-which-time-zone proudly to enumerate absolutely useless facts. But still.