Longtime readers will remember the saga of Loud Car Guy, whose obnoxiousness and loud car (in the parking lot right outside my window early in the morning) were what convinced me to move out of my apartment a couple years ago.
Well, for the past couple weeks, every few days I've intermittently heard the sound of an extremely loud engine. It sounds to me (inside my second-floor bedroom, with windows closed) at least twice as loud as Loud Car Guy's car ever sounded; here in my room, it's as loud as standing next to a very loud motorcycle that's revving its engine, and out on my back porch it's louder than the loudest motorcycle I've ever heard--and it gets a lot louder every time someone revs it, which happens every few seconds when it's running. It doesn't run early in the morning, thank God, but it runs intermittently for maybe fifteen minutes at a time, in the afternoon or evening.
A Sunday or two ago, it ran past 9 p.m. and I called the police, but of course it stopped before they arrived.
This afternoon it went for about half an hour, and I called the police again. This time I decided to try to track it down rather than just waiting for the police to call saying they couldn't hear it. It sounded like it was coming from my neighbor's back yard (they run some sort of landscaping business or something), just across my fence, but I couldn't see anyone back there. I figured it was probably across their back fence, over by Culberson Drywall, the people who used to run industrial equipment at 5:30 in the morning. (Either they've stopped, or I've learned to sleep through it, I'm not sure which.) I got on my bike and headed down the block, and there was suddenly a popping noise and my bike headlight was lying in pieces all over the street.
I have no idea what happened. I think it tried to leap to its death. I picked up the pieces and put it back together--we can rebuilt it! we have the technology!--and while I was doing that, confirmed that I could in fact hear the loud engine revving from the street, even though it wasn't nearly as loud as inside my house or out in my back yard.
So I continued around the block. I found a pickup truck half-disassembled in the front parking lot of the business next door to Culberson Drywall, and a guy nearby asked if I wanted to buy it, but he said it wasn't his and he hadn't heard any engine revving. Then I heard it again, and I rode up the driveway past the pickup, and there in the back parking lot was a guy working on a low-slung black sportscar. (It had three letters on the side, and the Roman numeral III, but I've forgotten what the letters were. I was thinking "GTP," but the online photos of the Grand Prix GTP don't look anything like it, so it must have been something else.)
I told him it was really loud, and asked if there was any way he could make it quieter. He said there wasn't. He was working on an electrical problem, but he thought he finally had it fixed, and he was going to take it out for a spin. He said that in a nice enough tone, but then added: "And I hate to say it, but it's the middle of the day and this is an industrial zone."
I left, and ran into the cop who'd come out to investigate my call. I told him the guy had said he was almost done, and the bit about the industrial zone, and the cop said if it continued to be a problem I should call in again, and I said I would. Then I went and pumped up my bike tires and came home.
So now I have some advice for various people:
For home buyers: Take a look at the area around the house you're buying. Is it zoned residential, industrial, or something else? If it's not residential, can you cope with nearby businesses making loud noise at any time of the day or night?
For people who make a WHOLE LOT OF NOISE: Please consider not being an asshole. Some people have a hard time sleeping, or reading, or working, or doing other activities, or even just thinking, when you make a REALLY LOUD NOISE near them. If they ask you to be quieter, try talking with them to see if there's some way you can be a good neighbor while also getting your EXTREMELY LOUD TASK done. Also, note that "light industrial zone" does not technically mean "you are allowed to make an infinite amount of noise"; there are legal limits to the volume of noise you're allowed to produce even in a light industrial zone.
For people who are me: Try to learn how to talk in a productive way with people who are distressing you, 'cause you sure haven't learned that yet. Make allies, not enemies. Damn if I know how, but your life will be a lot happier if you can figure it out. Alternatively, learn to not be so damn sensitive to EXTREMELY LOUD NOISES.
(Honestly, I think I'm a lot more distressed by engines revving now than I was before Loud Car Guy; that period led me to strongly associate revving engines with yelling and nastiness and vindictiveness and insomnia, so now I have a hard time coping with them even when it's not even remotely the same situation.)
The amusing thing, or the ironic thing, or something, is that this morning I was re-reading the part of The Phantom Tollbooth about Kakofonous A. Dischord, Doctor of Dissonance, and his assistant the awful DYNNE, and the Soundkeeper and her unfortunate predilection for silence, and so on. I'm sure the doctor and DYNNE would get along famously with Loud Car Guy and Louder Car Guy.
That bit of the book did make me laugh, though, mostly because of the explanation for what the "A." in the doctor's name stands for:
AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE!