People always speak of the suburbs as being quiet. Ha ha ha ha ha. I bet if I walked around my neighborhood with a decibel meter, I’d easily come away with higher numbers than I would in downtown Detroit. There, you have traffic and occasional honking, but overall, it’s far less jarring than a typical day around here.
(You’ve heard these beefs before, yes. Feel free to check out if you like.)
After a week of the usual clamor — lawn services, some heavy equipment from a digging job in the next block — Saturday began with one of our adjacent neighbors turning on his gas blower at 7:50 a.m. He ran it for about five minutes, then shut it down before getting in his car and blasting out the driveway. I’d love to know what bugged him so much that he had to clean it up before leaving. But really, I don’t.
Those neighbors who don’t have lawn services handle their own yard work on the weekends (which includes us), so there were more mowers, more power edgers — which are almost put-a-pillow-over-your-head-and-scream, nails-on-a-blackboard irritating all weekend long. More gas blowers, too, as this is late spring and trees are shedding things like oak flowers and maple whirligigs and other seeds. All of this must be banished from walks and driveways, loudly.
The bluetooth speaker era is upon us, and we are treated, sometimes, to competing soundtracks. We have neighbors who are very nice, but the husband likes to sit in his driveway and play the same record over and over. They seem to change with the year; for a couple summers it was Mumford & Sons, then Dire Straits, and he’s been on a country kick this year. Short playlist, the same five songs or so over and over and over. And over. And over. He’s had it on for a half hour just now, and we’ve heard Aaron Lewis’ “Story of My Life” twice.
The gas blower guy behind us does the same thing, only with head banging stuff Kate refers to as “butt rock,” although he went on a summer-long Wu-Tang Clan kick. “Enter the Wu-Tang,” specifically, which is not an album I’d turn off if it came on the radio (I own it, in fact), but after a few weeks of hearing it at cocktail hour? Not so much.
In short, in the suburbs, every tool is loud, no one listens to jazz and honestly, just hearing some children play would be a treat. There’s a block nearby full of kids who all seem around the same age and play outdoors the way I remember playing with my friends as a child. The other day they’d duct-taped a lawn chair to two skateboard and were pushing one another up and down the sidewalk. It was great.
And that was the weekend, such as it was. Had an outdoor get-together with my colleagues Friday, did the usual stuff Saturday, and spent Sunday laying in groceries and reading a few more Hemingway short stories. Yes, yes, I picked the book off the basement shelf after the PBS thing, obviously. I’ve read a few, but not all. I don’t know how “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” evaded me until now, however. Short review: I’m enjoying them, although there is some very un-P.C. racial language in a few, and as always, his attitude toward many of his female characters is…not good.
And now, Monday is so, so close. I hope it’s quiet at midnight.