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Things That Annoy Me: The Noise Patrol

By Seana Sperling

As many who read my work are aware, it takes a lot to annoy me. However, things have tested my usually infinite patience again recently, so, I have been forced to take on the role of Oracle to the Masses and enlighten others.

Noise, noise, noise. Most of us have become used to the everyday sounds of traffic, buzzing of utility poles, harping of fishwives and what have you, but there are other noises creeping into our daily lives that are beyond what we should have to endure. These pestilence have been prophesied in the book of Revelations and come in the forms of car alarms, garbage trucks and in the guise of building restoration.

The car alarm is a bit of technology that rose to popularity during the 1990s. In fact this device is automatically installed in all new cars unless you specify otherwise. This gadget has lived well past its usefulness to society and has become nothing but a nuisance. In my neighborhood, car alarms will go off every three hours or so, especially around 5:00AM. When you are awakened to an assortment of toots, beeps, whistles, and sirens. Well, it makes you start thinking about fingernails on blackboards, forks scraping plates, and the high pitched scream of someone just shot in the foot.

Car alarms don't protect the vehicle in this age of, "Oh well, its not mine." Most people have become so desensitized to this particular noise that they don't even look in the direction of the offending sound. We know that a bird alighting on a fender can set the damn things off. In fact, if I saw a car prowl in progress and heard an alarm go off, I might be inclined to help the thief, just to make a point to the owner. This bit of technology may have worked initially, but now they are only an addition to noise pollution. Almost every time I'm awakened by a car alarm, I picture myself with a St. Louis Slugger in my hands, bashing in the headlights and the front windshield. (I can't tell you what I'd like to do to the owner.) Car alarms are more about status and consumeritis than protection. People want to flaunt their little gadgets.

Another fascinating phenomena of the latter part of the century is the fact that construction of various kinds will start very early in the morning. When I was a child, workers started at about 8:00AM. Now they start before dawn. I've had the pleasure of awaking to buzz sanders and scraping because the neighboring building is being restored. They warm up their sand blasters and begin descaling before 7:00AM. My building was pasted together in the 60s and has little in the way of insulation, so it's as if the workers are in the same room with you. The pleasant dream you're having about toaster heaven turns into a nightmare when all of your toaster pals turn out to have long steel teeth and buzz-saw tails. Also, the drilling, sanding, sawing, coughing, sneezing, jabbering and any other noise they can produce (including the radio-What are they thinking?) lasts until your alarm rings.

If that isn't enough, the garbage trucks have decided to start a little earlier recently, 6:00 in the AM. It wouldn't be so bad if we didn't have one of the most vocal garbagemen in the business. Aside from the sounds of hydraulics and crunching bags. He is constantly harping at the driver to do this, that and the other thing. There has been many a morning when I wanted to go out there and duct tape his entire face.

We live in a noisy world, from the eardrum-shattering decibels of nightclubs to the cacophony of morning Crows on Dumpster patrol. Why are we allowing this discordant symphony of overly verbal Sanitation Workers, car alarms and the high pitched squeal of sand blasters? This calls for more than earplugs.