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Noise Pollution

My mind is going. I can feel it, Dave. (2001: A Space Odyssey)

There is an ancient flood story called Atra Hasis that I studied and translated part of when I was in graduate school. In this Akkadian telling of the deluge, the gods are prompted by noise to destroy humanity. Literally. The tablets tell us that the gods on high were distressed by all the noise the humans were making down below and finally, when they just couldn’t take it any more, decided to quiet things up by wiping humanity off the face of the earth.

I’m right there with them.

Of course, I don’t have that kind of power, and it didn’t work out so well for the gods, either, as they soon discovered that not having humans to do all the work in the world was a bit of a drag.

My issue is that for the last five months or so, it’s been the season of open windows, warm weather, and fresh air. An unseasonably cool summer has allowed us to keep our windows open for all but two or three weeks in that time. But the joy has been completely sucked out of the experience by a constant onslaught of noise pollution.

  • Roofs have been replaced.
  • Decks and houses have been power-washed.
  • Industrial, hugely noisy lawn mowers show up daily to mow someone’s lawn. (Note to all but the sick and the elderly: Get an electric mower and do it yourself, will you?)
  • Trees have been trimmed. (OK, so I contributed to this one.)
  • Fireworks seemingly go off weekly.
  • Two of my neighbors’ cats go outside and get into fights regularly.
  • The dog barking, probably set off by the above bullets, has been insane.
  • And now, just when the season of loud things should be drawing to a close, I’ve got one neighbor expanding his kitchen and everyone else is getting out the leaf blowers. (Note to all but the sick and elderly: Get a rake and do it yourself, will you?)

I honestly don’t know how much more of this I can take. My memory is going. My patience is going. My temper is flaring, and my blood pressure is spiking. What’s it take for someone to enjoy a little peace and quiet? And does anyone have any connections to powerful ancient near eastern deities with anger management issues?

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