Kate was off from school today, so we went down to one of our favorite breakfast places for pancakes. They often have jazz music playing two notches too loud on their ceiling speakers. If you have the misfortune of sitting directly beneath one of the speakers, it’s three notches too loud. Kate can have trouble being in spaces where there’s too much going on, particularly louder spaces. Her breathing deteriorates and her motor skills fall apart. The staff at the cafe has gotten to know us and they’ll turn it down (a little) when we ask them. However, it’s really made us notice a larger trend – that many public places have become artificially loud. “Can you stop the whining and go find another breakfast place?” isn’t an unreasonable question to ask. But what we’re finding is a growing number of everyday public spaces we go to inject some level of floating music or TV noise into the background: department stores, grocery stores, restaurants. During routine car maintenance last week, our car dealership had a gory re-run of ‘Criminal Minds’ on the TV in their waiting room. At 9:30 in the morning. So a humble plea to all business owners everywhere – a little softer please, if possible. Just two notches maybe. Or three.