Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The child factor: Tonight some neighborhood kids were out playing. What they were really doing is screaming--for twenty minutes they screamed which sent the poor dog next door on a barking spree. Screaming usually mean "help." Not today, it meant, "We really don't know how to play, but we've watched a billion hours of TV and we sure have seen a lot of screaming so that must be what people do." 'And so they did.

The band factor: Every day, it seems, we get a free band concert. My dear neighbor, whose kids are in the high school marching band asked me one day, "Can you hear the band practice after school?"

"Oh, yes," I said.

"Me too," she said. And then I realized--she liked it! Of course she liked it, it means I know where my kids are and what they are doing. I didn't have the heart to say, "It's driving me crazy." She was so happy, hearing the band fill the air with drums and trumpets FOR HOURS ON END.

The high school mascot is the Thunderbird. Thundering and bird screeches. It figures.
This is a picture of the BYU band but the Thunderbirds make every bit as much noise, I'm sure of it.

The garbage man cometh: We now have three different garbage trucks. One for garbage. One for yard waste, that the city composts and sells back to us for our gardens. One for recyclables. Garbage trucks do not have mufflers. What they have is noise extenders.

Garbage trucks also have "The claw!" It grabs the garbage can, propels it upwards at ninety-five miles and hour and shakes it over the truck bed like a Coyote with a rabbit. "Clunk!" the can is deposited back on the street with such force that the wheels pop off. It falls over and a remaining stray soup can rolls out and into the gutter. They start this scary, insane noise and fearful demonstrations at 6:00 AM. We had a woman garbage truck driver the other day and she drove forty-five miles an hour IN OUR CUL-DE-SAC. What's up with that? I thought she was going to to slam breaks and skid into the neighbor's house.

Garbage trucks that empty dumpsters know they can not rely on their puny noise extenders to wake you out of a sound sleep so they crash the dumpsters with such force that the concrete has to be replaced. They have to do this for the sound to carry for five miles. They have also made a deal with the concrete man, who is their brother-in-law. Then those garbage trucks back up, and the "beep-beep-beep" causes people in bedrooms all over the city to roll over and hit the snooze buttons on their alarm clocks. Then, before they figure it's time for the alarm to beep again, they get up and shower. These people get to work an hour early and they have no idea why.

The school is "bing-bonging" me into insanity: We live close to two schools. An elementary and a high school. One of them has some kind of "bing-bong, bing-bong, bing" warning system attached to something ALL DAY LONG. I don't know if this is the noise of their phone's make or a warning when they are going to make announcements so the kids have time to turn their ear off or what, but it is enough to make me want to stick needles in my ears.

Jet airplane engines masquerading as lawn trimmers and lawn mowers: Is it my imagination or have lawn trimmers and lawn mowers gotten louder? We sit outside a lot, visiting with neighbors. When other neighbors decide to do yard work we have to put conversation on hold. I think trimmers and mowers are engineered by men who are hearing impaired. I know, they think, let's compensate by making our products sound like jet airplanes taking off. The we will always know whether the mower/trimmer is on and we won't put our fingers under there and get them chopped off.

People with silly little electronic lizard tails attached to their ears: I realize they have a right to get a phone call. What I can't understand is why they talk louder when on the phone. Is my conversation with my lunch companion bothering them?
Motorcycles: I saw a sign on a motorcycle the other day. It said, "Start seeing motorcycles." The motorcycle engineers figured that if we heard motorcycles maybe we'd also see them. The problem is the car engineers are making cars more and more soundproof so the motorcycle engineers have to ramp up the noise. It's a contest between the two. Something ate the only noise that's pleasant: For years we didn't have crickets out front. Two years ago a cricket found the front yard, climbed the oak trees and crick'd. It was so pleasant. This year there were two of them. How do I know? The second one was a cricket's heart beat behind the first one for a day and then he learned to stay in rhythm. 'Then one day there was a "clicking" insect in oak trees. I never saw him but I heard him. He ate my crickets. They were easy to find. They advertised. The next day the only noise was The Clicker and then the next day he moved to the back yard to eat those crickets. My teenage neighbor has to collect 50 insects for his science class. I'd donate The Clicker in an instant if I could find him. But, after dining on my crickets he moved on. My neighbor plays in the band. It would be some kind of justice if he ended up with The Clicker, stuck on a pin in his insect box. I can only hope.


Laura ~Peach~ said...

some things are the SAME no matter WHERE you are... My son is (was the drummer) my house has reverberated with the sound of Drums, bells, xylaphones, piano whistles and God only knows how many other instruments have come through my house...some are still here... I digress... what used to be funny was the neighborhood across the way you could hear kids practicing then here it woudl start and sometimes they actually played the same stuff at the same time~
we have waste management so like charter cable I guess they are across the US now.
the kids have bug and leaf projects here and I foudn and caught one of the CLICKERS for the neighbor kid... crickets are much fewer this year but we are in a major drought too... i have noticed frogs are fewer too... hummm anyway I got a kick out of this post its like my life western style :)
Hugs Laura

Colette Amelia said...

Hee Hee Hee. Now get some sleep young lady!

Tierney said...

oh, where to start, you tickle me so with your writing! I loved your comparison to the coyote shaking the rabbit, and the beeping noise, yes, my alarm sounds exactly like a dumptruck and I think a big truck is going to back over me when it goes off. I bought it nine years ago and haven't replaced it though I hate it with a passion! Too cheap to shell out another fifteen dollars.

And then the bit about the trimmers and leaf blowers: I think my neighbors around here sign up on a schedule to make sure their lawn men come at all different times, never more than one at a time and never fewer than two in a day. The blowers are the worst. And what is the worstest is when the leaf blower man walks up the staircase outside my door blowing off the stairs. Maybe I should see if he could come inside and dust for me. It already sounds like he's operating his blower right in my ear, so it couldn't get any worse.

About the clicker-bug. I wish I were there and I'd catch him for you. I used to catch cicadas for Liesel for her bug collection when she was a little girl. They are mean, but I am meaner!

Love this "article," is what I was going to call it, my little writer-bee!



Michael Rawluk said...

The reason motorcycles are so noisy is that when you are in the middle of some peaceful wilderness miles from a road you can still hear them. If you get lost you just have to walk to the sound.