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12/22/00 My Fantasy World
12/02/00 Merengue!
11/19/00 Laundry in Public
11/09/00 The Fly
09/20/00 Land of the Jogger
07/30/00 Noisy Neighbors
07/14/00 Bulk-Shopping Madness
06/23/00 My Backpack

Noisy Neighbors

A group of kids moved in next door. It was actually a big party that got out of hand one night, and everyone just decided to live there afterward. Last week, I saw them unloading a sound studio from their truck. They've been testing it around the clock for five days. Gansta rap.

My homies and ME / come to par-TY...

The oldest of the newcomers is 20, the youngest, 16. None of them has graduated high school mentality. They're the kids who get in fights with their parents and decide to move away to Never-Never Land, the house next-door to mine.

These kids don't keep the hours of working people. They wake up around noon to a breakfast of black coffee and cigarettes and develop momentum as the day progresses. It begins at Party Defcon 5 around two in the afternoon, the "quiet" mode when it's mostly shouting back and forth. For the record, Sarah is having problems with Jack because he can't lay off the pipe, and Dave is going to kick Bill's butt for sleeping with his girlfriend.

And all the while, the rap rages on: It's time to get PAID / And smokes me a JAY...

At dusk they enter Party Defcon 2, and by midnight they are dancing on the tables again. Around three in the morning, the stoned laughter begins to fade and the party dies of exhaustion.

I'm writing because I don't know what else to do. I have to open my window at night because it's 150 degrees outside, and my window points right at Never-Never Land. I've tried the puffy ear plugs, but the beat is so loud that they just become mini-woofers inside my ear.

My wife forbids me to visit the house due to my poor record with diplomacy (I have a low threshold for morons). My life is a slalom course where it's all I can do to steer clear of idiocy. When we collide, it's ugly. If I were to invest logic in these kids and they were to say something like, "Chill, dude," that would be a collision.

Most nights, I lay in bed forming strategies for killing the neighbors. It's like the "Glad Game" in reverse. It may sound like an unhealthy process, but it scratches an itch on my soul, and I'm allowed to think whatever I want. When I meet a prudish person, I picture them naked because there's nothing they can do about it.

Lying in bed with squishy woofers in my ears, I have hired a surgeon to sneak into the neighbors' house and give them all frontal lobotomies; I have stuffed the neighbors with candy and served them as piñatas to unknowing children; and just recently, I tied them to a 300-foot speaker and played the music so loudly that they all went deaf and began to talk like that lady on public TV who was always trying to teach us sign language: "banana"... "banana"... bye for now.

The part that hurts most is that there is nothing I can do about their living here. They are squatters on the public peace. I called the homeowners association, and they told me to call the police. I called the police, and they asked if I had tried "shooshing" them. So it goes.

When the police do come out, it's a feather in the cap of today's teen. Dude, we had a double-kegger, and the police had to break it up...

The philosophical undertones are what really keep me awake -- that these kids, who still haven't developed a sense of Other, are polluting my world. What right do they have to force their words into my mind? They might as well run into my living room and scream at the top of their lungs. I feel entitled to some justice, a law that allows me to pee on their doorstep every time they are noisy after midnight.

I remember what it's like to be 16 and believe that the universe revolves around me. The only difference is that I was holed up in a room inside my parents' house, where I only drove my family nuts.

Just as there needs to be a parenting license, our zoning laws should address the edicts of common courtesy. If you move into a neighborhood, there's a pretty good chance you're going to have neighbors, so you should be screened accordingly. Are you fit to have neighbors, or would it be better for you to live on an island by yourselves? I'm not asking that these kids tip-toe around for fear of disturbing Jason Love; I'm just saying that the world might benefit from their deaths.

If you have a teenager of your own, please don't let 'em move out until they've learned the basics of sound travel and the effects of pot on one's laughter. Every time these kids "get their own pad," there is some poor soul next door praying that they move the hell back home. And you never know what vengeful plots are hatching in his mind...


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