Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Want QUIET!!!!

Although our 15-year-old dog has become the lethargic, quiet type in his advancing years, one early morning last week Doogie sounded the alarm. He started barking and barking at 5:30 a.m. until my wife was forced out into the backyard to retrieve him.

What so disturbed him in the dim light of early dawn we never figured out. With his failing eyesight, it could have been a branch fallen from a tree or the door left open on the shed. Whatever it was, our neighbors had to know about it RIGHT THEN.

I shouldn't fault Doogie for disturbing the peace in our suburban enclave. Disturbing the peace is a way of life amongst my neighbors. Almost every day is a chorus of lawnmowers, power saws, leaf blowers, power edgers and the like. It's like the flowers and the trees alone can't provide an idyllic setting in itself. We have to have freshly manicured lawns to rival the eighteenth green at Sea Pines Resort, hedges trimmed exactly parallel or vertical to the ground, and sidewalks that are spotlessly free of stains and stray grass.

My son said just this week that he has soured on city living. That after waking up Sunday morning to the machine-gun like staccato of an air compressor as our one neighbor was deep cleaning his driveway.

Unlike myself, Scott isn't one to suffer noise quietly. He even called the police one night when he thought the kids were getting a little rowdy with their pool party nearby. Wendy and I thought that a bit extreme, especially since it appeared the youngsters were making a concerted effort to keep it down.

But speaking of being extreme and calling the cops, the police have visited my nephew's home on numerous occasions with noise complaints emanating from just one neighbor. My nephew's offense? He's a music major and practices his drums during the day. Never mind that he does so quietly, even making efforts to soundproof his practice area. We've been by when he's practicing his drums and it's hardly noticeable from the street.

Yet it's okay to crank up the power yard tools to terraform your yard into something out of Home & Garden. Sheesh. I don't own a leafblower, gasoline-powered weed whacker, power edger, not even a snow blower. But maybe I should find some way to join the chorus. I think I'll take up chainsaw sculpturing. Or maybe buy a motorcycle, take the mufflers off and rev it up for a half hour or so each evening. Or how about using a jackhammer to break up that hard soil in the backyard so I can plant a few flowers.

Ever think of how extremely rare it is to have complete quiet? Maybe where you are, but not here in southeastern Michigan.


Blogger Fred said...

Interesting post for me right now. I'm in Tallahassee at an FSU orientation with my daughter. Her comment was that it seemed much quieter and more "country" than the cement enclave we call suburbia.

I think she's going to become a big fan of quiet.

As for my neighborhood, the same lawn guy does most of the houses, so at least we get it all at once.

7:02 PM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

I'm one of the rare fortunates. My biggest problem is the occasional (2-3 times a week) when some construction noise reaches me. It usually isn't loud or long enough to be really bothersome, and almost never in the early morning. I highly recommend country living!!

7:05 AM  
Blogger Betty said...

It's interesting to me that your son associates all the racket with "city life". As you know, I tried to buy an urban house recently- a real city house. The residents around that house do not own mowers, blowers, or any of those suburban "necessities". Why? Because the golf course lawns are missing. There are yards, yes, but ground cover is more common than grass. And ground cover allows for silence, as do the many flowers, bushes and ornamental trees whci are tended by hand in the urban yards.

I posted about how happy I was that the glorious park behind the urban house was allowed to harbor dandelions! Controlling nature is much more prevalent in the suburbs!

When I did live in the urban neighborhood, I had grass, but my mower was an old-fashioned manual push mower. It would have been out of place to disturb the urban tranquility with a power mower!

I'm always feeling as if I have to defend my fondness for urban living, and you've given me yet another opportunity to do so.


9:53 AM  
Anonymous cassie-b said...

Lucky for us, our neighbors do noisy things during the day - not early morning.

I do have one complaint - our next door neighbor's dog comes to our yard twice daily, and always leaves a souvenir. I'd complain, but hate to cause hard feelings.

this dog growls and barks at us if we come to the yard when she's there.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous bonnie said...

Doogie should try some doggie yoga: Downward facing dog brings quiet to the mind.

See?! I told you that SPARTANS were not a riotous bunch! We are civilized and classical.

Musicians have always been persecuted. I practiced my cello in a closet for two years, so as to not offend the uncultured barbarians living in the apartment above me. (Wolverines, perhaps?)

"Mama needs a piece of quiet," is how we request it in northwest Washington.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

FRED--My guess is that Tallahassee will be a lot noisier come fall.

LYNILU--Let's hope that construction noise isn't the sound of suburbia advancing in your direction.

BETTY--A manual push mower? I haven't seen one of those in years. Didn't even think anybody used them anymore, just like few seem to use snow shovels in our neighborhood anymore.

CASSIE--There's a big dog next door here. He doesn't leave any souvenirs, but he does water our hedges in front.

BONNIE--I think my drumming nephew (who is a Wolverine BTW) and myself with the accordion catch more grief with our instruments than you do with your cello. My Spartan alum friend likes to tease that the accordion is one of the most hated musical instruments, next to the bagpipes.

5:38 AM  
Blogger jan said...

I have one dog who hears things only he a different drummer is in his world.

And speaking of drummers, we have a garage band of teenagers in the neighborhood. Only one neighbor has complained. The rest of us enjoy it and have put in our request for tickets to their first concert. No one bothers the kids any more.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Kacey said...

Poor're gonna have to buy that guy some ear plugs. Hope he doesn't alienate to neighbors with police calls.
We live on the 5th tee of a beautiful golf course. They have to keep the fairways, greens and ruff in shape, usually when the members aren't playing, so they start before daylight.
There is also a railroad track over past the 6th fairway, so there are no open windows at our house. When we bought the place, there were a train or two a week, then CSX decided to make it one of their bigger switching places. I feel sorry for the golfers who address the ball and then a train whistle blows them off the Tee.
I heard on the radio the other day that reel mowers are making a comeback, since the gas got so expensive. It would have to be $20.00 a gallon before I'd push a handmower!

5:35 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

I love quiet Dave. That's my happiest time when I can write and/or read, work a crossword puzzle in silence.
My husband never understands how I can go an entire day w/o the TV or a CD playing.
It's easy-everyone should try it!

6:42 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

I am sure that Doggie saw a squirel transpassing his turf....Dogs are very teritorial.

I rarely hear mowers and such when I am inside of our house. We do live about 10 miles from the major airport here in Houston, so we sometimes get plane noises when they are using the runway that has it's approach path over our house. Some of our neighbors complained about the noise, but it doesn't bother me..... I grew up near the old airport so it is old hat for me.

I enjoy my "peach and quiet" at night when I am tired. With only Bonnie at home right now, that is plenty of quiet for me.

5:23 AM  
Blogger MSU gal said...

"Almost every day is a chorus of lawnmowers, power saws, leaf blowers, power edgers and the like. It's like the flowers and the trees alone can't provide an idyllic setting in itself."

I love it when you turn the mundane into an enjoyable read...and some darn' good writing.

11:12 AM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

How about a set of unmuffled drums? Seems right to me.

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The quiet you speak of and long for, I do have....right here on the island. The only early morning or late evening sound I might hear is an airboat in the distance or a private plane's engine coming in to land at Cedar Key Airport.
Other than that, the only sound I ever hear are the birds. And to me, that's a symphony. I used to be a city girl....not so anymore. I welcome the quiet and peacefulness. Just another reason I love this island.

5:23 AM  
Blogger amarkonmywall said...

Daniel has been a persecuted musician for years. At this point in his life he even makes apartment choices based on whether he will be able to practice or not. His favorite thing is to practice up at Grandpa Bud's in the tip of the U.P. where, incidentally, we enjoy real true quiet save the sounds of nature.

Here in the BIG city? Forget about it. As I'm typing a helicopter is landing on the neighboring hospital roof about 40 yards away and I hear at least 3 or 4 sirens, plus a band at the tavern down the block plus all the folks out on their balconies for the evening. Although I've learned to tune it out- it's still constant background noise and I'm looking forward to a time in my life when this mama can get a piece of quiet.

7:29 PM  
Blogger simply me said...

I am now in rural PA for the summer and my favorite time is very early in the morning when the grass is still all dewy, the rabbits are out looking to see if I am near the garden, and when the birds are singing wildly.

As the day moves forward, especially on weekends, the motorheads come out. Searing my head with pain. I came here for its serene nature, yet there are days when the quads without mufflers rule. I honestly told my husband that I would have love to shoot one of them as they rode by and I am not violent by nature.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

JAN--Our dog has selective hearing at times, like when we're imploring him to eat his dinner. He looks off to the side, like he can't hear us, or else he thinks we're talking to someone else.

KACEY--I remember those pushmowers too. Not only were they a chore to push, but they constantly had to be cleaned and lubricated because of all the vegetation that would become stuck in the gears.

CARINE--I hear ya. My boys can't understand sometimes when they get into the car and I have the radio off. Why have quiet, they think, when you can have music instead. Sometimes quiet is best.

LUCY--I guess you could get used to the sounds of an airport nearby. Not sure I could, though I really like the sound of a train in the distance. There's something romantic about the sound of a train whistle in the middle of the night.

MSU GAL--Aww, thanks for the compliment. Sometimes the muse moves me. (Most times not so much though)

HOSS--Unmuffled drugs with an amplifier! As long as it's at his house and not mine.

TERRI--I could handle island living. Seagulls can get noisy, but at least they sleep at night.

VICKIE--I would probably vote for the U.P. over the big city too. But I remember being on Isle Royale where you REALLY would figure to have some peace and quiet. Then some numbskull pulled his party boat up to shore and screamed at us campers in the middle of the night. The next night a moose decided to inspect out tentsites and sent a fellow camper into a screaming fit. At least I'll bet they don't get those types at Bud's place.

SIMPLY ME--What is it with those motorcyclists in Pennsylvania. I had a herd of them literally run me off the interstate once.

12:23 PM  
OpenID caroldee said...

QUIET.. what's that?? Heh. Hell House provided me with hours and hours of blaring noise that no one could ever stop. not event he cops! The train tracks are less than 1/2 a block from my house and those fortunately I have learned to drown out. The ambulance service headquarters is 1 1/2 blocks away and the fire station 2 blocks away. NO I don't know what QUIET IS!! he he.. take care.. : )

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Deb said...

When I was younger, I lived on my father's ranch. You could ride (horseback)almost all day and never see a soul. The only sounds were the swish of the tall native grasses, and the occasional cry of a red-tail hawk.

*Sigh* How I miss those days.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:30 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home