'Be anxious for nothing..." ~Philippians 4:6

Sunday, August 8, 2010

"ECHOES" TO THE RESCUE: NOISE EAST OF THE RIVER


I didn't realize there were tears in my eyes. I thought, "No. Not again. Not today". The sound was so unbearable. I was all prepared to spend a quiet Sunday afternoon at home, then the noise broke through the walls like a crazed monster.

I love good music. I love bass and drums--when they're being skillfully played by someone I choose to hear. However, when they're coming from somewhere else, all over-amplified, muffled and dull, it's like being hit repeatedly over the head with a gigantic hammer. The windows were shaking. The floor was vibrating. It's like heavy construction is going on in, and outside of your home that you didn't authorize. There was no way to escape it except to put in ear plugs, put on headphones or leave the neighborhood. Closing the windows didn't help.

I was not leaving home. I'd just arrived back from church. I was all prepared to enjoy a good meal and maybe a movie. I thought, "I have a right to be at home. I have a right to enjoy a reasonable amount of tranquility." My rights were being abused because someone else was exercising their right to make noise. To them, however, it was music
No. I don't want to join the noisemakers. I want the noise to stop. What I want regarding the noise means nothing today, and I'm resigned to just wait it out. I can still want peace, though. I was hoping it would suddenly rain...a lot. Perhaps I should have stopped thinking about it and just prayed.

It's official. I hate noise. Why live in the city, you ask? I'm wondering that myself right now...lol.. This isn't a city problem, though. Its a cultural one. Would I be so bothered if it were a different genre of music? Probably not. If it was smooth jazz seeping through every crack in the walls I'd be okay. If there was another Walter Hawkins tribute concert going on, I'd be just fine. I'd even settle for everything Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie, The Emotions, Chaka, and Frankie Beverly ever recorded.  I'd settle for light rock. I'd settle for an accordion player, a baby banging on pots and pans with a wooden spoon, Tiny Tim and Miss Vickie--ANYTHING-- over this
This blasting offering of craziness sounds like somebody missed too many days at school, and is driving me bananas. I'm sorry. There's just something ignorant about some forms of music that, as much as I have tried to appreciate it, something won't let me. It seems to come from the lowest level of human sensibilities, and revels in being unproductive, unintelligible, shocking and profane. It's like pollution. It intends to do harm. I see very little creativity. I don't understand it, and don't want to. It's like rebellion without the intelligence to justify it. No sense in making myself sick about it. It'll be over soon...hopefully.

Noise isn't an emergency, but I'm sure there's a noise ordinance in the city. Surely this racket has exceeded whatever decibels constitutes a nuisance. If ever a law was to be enforced, today would be a primary example. I wouldn't dare make light of situations where people lose it, but I can kinda see how, and why some people go postal. When those tasked to help don't, won't, or trivialize a problem, people take matters into their own hands--and sometimes with disastrous results. This noise is ridiculous, and horribly unfair considering the number of residences in the surrounding area. What about a mother trying to put a baby to bed, a student studying, or a tired employee who has to get up early tomorrow morning, and elderly person trying to watch TV, a family trying to have a conversation over dinner, a shell-shocked soldier? What would a 911 operator say? "Ma'am are you serious?", "Ma'am that's not an emergency", or "Ma'am go somewhere and sit down!" 

This is frustrating. It's too hot to put a blanket over my head. This is the enemy. Plain and simple. Pastor Battle preached all about loving like Jesus loved. I came home feeling so happy and all ready to implement everything he said. What if I decided to confront the noisemakers? I know there would be no love in sight. I wouldn't have been the loving individual seeking someone to bless. I would have been the deranged looking, angry person trying to find out who's responsible for breaking into my home with their crappy excuse for music.

I'm all for people enjoying themselves, and music often is a factor in the enjoyment. Music can be intrusive and abusive sometimes, too. This is like an assault. I didn't know that I wasn't in the mood until the noise began. I didn't want to hear the noise, but it was being forced upon me. I couldn't turn it down, or turn it off. It was invading my space like a fast moving blob and I hated it. My head and heart were hurting. I just wanted peace. The booming just went on and on--

--and it's still going on. It's 8:06 PM. Now some screaming individual has found a microphone, and the noise has gotten louder.

You hate to poop on anyone's party, but when they're dumping nuclear waste on yours, what are your options? It's not the jurisdiction of the U.S Park Police to monitor noise in this particular park. It's the job of the Metropolitan Police Department. Maybe because it's South East DC, everyone thinks we are ALL thrilled to hear noise at all times of day and night. If it's not noisy music, it's fireworks exploding well before, and well after the Fourth of July; it's groups of kids on vehicles that should require a dune or a trail, not a city street. In a city with a gun control problem, you would think that anything that can be confused with gunfire would be banned. Does "residential neighborhood" mean something different East of the River? Can't people in SE and the sliver of SW that is Bellevue, appreciate a quiet Sunday afternoon, too? Would this activity be going on anywhere else in the city where so many people reside? Are there no options?

It occurred to me that I should probably live in the country...on a farm...near a babbling brook...down a lane. I love peace. I suppose you don't realize how much you love a thing until it's disturbed--or gone. I concede that I'm getting older. I detest unnecessary noise. Did I say that already? See? I said I'm getting older. 

Ignorant, inharmonious sounding noise masquerading as music is the worst. Today it was a distraction that robbed me of at least 4 hours. I had options. The option I chose, unfortunately was to be bothered by it as if there was no way out. I was suddenly tense and feeling defeated by something I couldn't beat.

I thought back to the day I stopped at a gas station and a young man drove in shortly after I began pumping gas. I could hear the music coming from his speakers long before he parked. When he did, he turned the music up even louder, got out of his car and went to pay for his gas. Did he think he was doing all of us a service by leaving his music on? Did he ask the rest of us if we wanted to hear what he was enjoying? Did we all have to be cursed out under the guise of entertainment at the gas station? I don't know...And another thing-- is a red, traffic light now the universal signal to let everyone within a 2 mile radius sample what's in your CD changer? The last thing I want to be is crotchety. It just seems, sometimes, that manners, decency, decorum and consideration have been lost....sometimes, thank God.

I needed to refocus. This morning Craig Oliver talked about going in circles, and the need to upgrade. On the way to church we listened and laughed with Garrison Keillor and his "A Prairie Home Companion" team. I wasn't liking the way the day was ending, so I went back to the way it began. I wanted my hopeful, good mood back. I searched online and found an NPR station in Birmingham. While I was looking for a little peace and quiet in Lake Wobegone, like Inga Swearingen singing "Lazy Afternoon", I stumbled across a show called "Echoes" hosted by John Diliberto. I'm listening to it now. The stress I was feeling from the noise has subsided somewhat. 
I decided to refocus my attention. I'm not going anywhere, but I'm not going to spend the evening lamenting over something I can do little about. Yes. I'm still impacted by what feels and sounds like a wrecking ball pounding on the walls, but the music I'm choosing to hear is beautiful, serene and excellent. It's uplifting and pleasant. It's artistic and lovely. 
It's making me smile...: )
You can listen, too at http://echoes.org/

Oh my. It's 8:45. I think it stopped. Thank you, Jesus.

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