As I've mentioned a few times over the past few months, I'm probably one of the worst gardeners in Mountain Home. I try my best to kill the weeds and keep the lawn alive, but it always seems that I somehow manage to kill my lawn as the dandelion's stage a bloody coup against anything else that manages to survive.
Despite my apparent lack of success, I do enjoy getting outside for some fresh air and a chance to make a dent in the yard work. However, there's just one thing that keeps me from enjoying that endeavor. The problem involves music, in particular, other people's music.
Let me explain.
It's not their choice of music that gets me annoyed. The problem is that people are constantly driving by my home with their tunes blaring so loud that I honestly think it could drown out an F-15 Strike Eagle on full afterburner.
And it's not one person just once a day. It's a constant barrage of car and truck radios blasting what I'm assuming is music (when it's that loud, it's hard to make out what's playing).
This assault on my eardrums isn't limited to the times I'm outside. Even when I'm in my house trying to watch TV, there are those out there that seem to think I still want to listen to their tunes. The idea of leaving my bedroom window open during the summer for some fresh air while I sleep is out of the question.
Buddy, if I wanted to hear your choice in music, I'd go out and buy the album.
It gets worse when people have their speakers set up with that extra loud bass that heralds the vehicle's arrival a quarter mile before it actually passes by. That constant "boom, boom, boom" gets so bad that I've had instances that it causes the windows in my laundry room to rattle -- on the opposite side of my house.
Granted, I have a very eclectic taste in music with a particular fondness for music from the 1950s to the late 1980s. Safely tucked away within my collection of LPs, 45s, cassette tapes and CDs is everything from Jimi Hendrix's "Are You Experienced" to Weird Al's "Straight Outta Lynwood."
I've been known to listen to Little Richard one minute and swap it out for Judas Priest the next. It all depends on my mood and if I need something to wake me up or help me mellow out after a tough day at work.
At the same time, I've also enjoyed a few instances in my life where I wanted my music to reach out and literally punch me in the gut. The last time that happened was in 2006 when I got to stand front row center during a concert featuring Quiet Riot. It took about three hours for the ringing in my ears to go away, and was the last time I ever got that close to a heavy metal band.
But I don't want to have the equivalent of a heavy metal concert constantly rolling past my house. I think I've earned a respite from the last vestiges of my youth.
Yes, you have a Constitutional right to freely express yourself within reason. But I'd contend that I have an equally protected right to not hear your music if I don't want to.
It was once said that a person's rights end at the tip of their nose. From my perspective, that also means that your rights end at the tips of my ears. If I can hear it, especially when it's so loud that I can't hear what my family is trying to tell to me as we're inside eating dinner, then your music is way too loud.
I'm pretty sure you wouldn't appreciate if I drove by your house at all hours blaring the "Best of Barry Manilow." If I were really in a foul mood, I'd simply drive playing endless renditions of the God-awful "Disco Duck." However, I believe my wife actually took that record, doused it in gasoline and set it on fire.
Consider yourselves lucky. I had to live through that era.
And don't get me started on the folks out there that think that it was a "good idea" to install those extra loud exhaust systems on their cars and trucks. I don't understand why someone would willingly attach what sounds like a $5 bargain basement exhaust on a $35,000 vehicle.
I'd hate to think there are people in this town saying to one another, "Hey, I have a great idea. Let's honk off everyone in this town by being a bunch of inconsiderate jerks and drive down the street making as much noise as possible."
But from my perspective, that's exactly what's happening. A few people out there seem to think they have the right to express themselves at everyone else's expense.
Here's the bottom line: The city has laws on the books that prohibit this type of extra-loud music or exhaust noise.
During the day, the maximum noise level is limited to 80 decibels. Putting that into perspective, that's the equivalent noise produced by a garbage disposal or dishwasher. Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., that maximum noise level drops by 15 decibels, which is what you would hear from an air conditioning unit roughly 100 feet away.
Oh, and getting a ticket for disturbing the peace in this fashion isn't a simple traffic ticket. It's actually a misdemeanor, meaning that you can get slapped with a fine and probably a lot more. You have been warned.
Granted, if all of this extra-loud music caused the weeds in my yard to curl up and die, I'd probably be willing to put up with the inconvenience. However, it doesn't, so turn down your tunes or at least roll up the windows of your car. Otherwise, I may dust off my Barry Manilow collection and take a cruise through town.
Well, maybe not.
-- Brian S. Orban