No matter how well settled in to a house or neighborhood someone may be, there remains a thing or two that we fail to adjust to. Typically, these are minor inconveniences that are not annoying enough to require combative action. Growing up, avoiding stepping on squeaky stairs and having to keep from hitting cars in our joint driveway with baseballs, basketballs, footballs, etc., were parts of life that I was never able to fully master. In college, I have not resided at one place long enough to care about inconvenient parking, drafty windows, or living across the street from an extremely talkative meth addict.

On some occasions, however, we encounter situations that are difficult to come to grips with. After moving merely half a mile from where I lived last year, I cannot seem to understand the penchant for late-night noisemaking that my new neighborhood proudly displays. Car alarms go off in the middle of the night a few times per week, and I am occasionally lucky enough to listen to a song or two that a slow-moving driver likes so much he or she wants everyone within a thousand feet to hear it. No matter how heavy of a sleeper you claim to be, these things would rouse anyone.

It happens so often that I am beginning to wonder if I am not being included in some sort of regularly-practiced neighborhood ritual. Nice old men drop off newsletters on my porch each month, but my roommates and I have not yet attended a neighborhood meeting. Are the consistent disturbances simply reminders to contact caterers for the spring block party?

Some nights are so action-packed that I run through scenarios in my head, never fully satisfied with what I come up with. The two houses to the north are also college houses, and in a night when one of their cars was parked directly in front of our place, the alarm sounded no fewer than seven (!7!) times from midnight to 3:00 a.m. I almost lost it. Either some car thief was easily startled and very bad at his craft or someone was playing a sadistic game of ‘What are the odds?’ in which the loser had to attempt to wake the entire block.

Just last night, a car was idling in the parking lot of an apartment complex located near my humble abode, and the driver apparently wanted surrounding residents to join him in a sing-along. My windows shook from the bass and some very vocal individuals appeared to belt the tune at the top of their lungs. Fortunately enough, someone was kind enough to set their car alarm off in an attempt to drown out the hullabaloo. This resulted in what I like to call some good old-fashioned Gifford Park OmaHarmony.

photo credit: tj.blackwell New Years Eve via photopin (license)

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