• Dear Gmail: Will you please be quiet, please?

Some silences are harder to find than others. Or maybe it’s that certain noises are harder to avoid? In any case, people keep trying. Quiet has become “a delicacy just for urbanites, who’ve gotten so used to fighting for silence that it now seems exotic.” Taking it a step further, soundscape ecologists (yep, those exist) have trekked deep into the Alaskan wilderness to track down a species of silence—one devoid of all things man-made—that’s all but extinct.

I get it. I understand the anthropological nostalgia attached to such a pursuit. I appreciate pristine tranquility—and its scientific significance—as much as the next person. But I still love the noise of the city. Bring on the din of traffic, the stray siren, the chugging bus. It’s the sound of life, of hustle, of progress.

But there’s another, newer noise that I find disturbing. And those of us who hear it will probably never find a way to turn it off.