A few nights ago, we were having a date night at home. We ate dinner. We played Risk. (We’re exciting people.) And just as I was about to become foolishly involved in a land war in Asia, I felt the ground shake under my feet. It was not the approaching elephants of an enemy army. Pity – at least that would have been quieter. No, this was the house down the street.
There are few things that should be blasted loud enough for the neighbors to hear. The list grows dramatically shorter after sunset. And dubstep is never, ever, ever on that list.
Have you ever seen Mary Poppins? Jane and Michael Banks have a crazy neighbor who was in the British navy back in the day, and can’t seem to move on with his life. So he builds a ship on his rooftop, moves up there (with some other guy whom I can only imagine is Mr. Smee), and proceeds to fire cannons every few hours – on the hour – to insure the townspeople live exciting, punctual, and militantly efficient lives. He is endearingly referred to throughout the film as “Admiral Boom.” As our walls began to shake to the beat, we battened down the hatches and braced anything fragile that was in the front room, yelling to each other questions like, “What is that?” “Where is it coming from?”, “Aren’t you glad we don’t have sleeping children?”, and “Have you seen my eardrums around here somewhere?”
After some investigation and permanent hearing loss, we found that the house kitty-corner from us had about 4 dozen young single Mormons congregated in the front yard. We had no idea how many were inside. More were arriving by the carload, threatening to take all the space in the street and our own driveway and back lot. Through the tree branches, we could see comically bouncing images of a man on a trampoline. The only missing ingredient for a riot was tear gas.
We decided not to be dramatic about it. 911 is for emergencies. So we called the local police station, just to ask if there are quiet hours in Provo. There are, we were informed – there is always a decibel limit in Provo, and it lowers significantly after 10 pm. (At this point, it was just after 11.) The lady asked how loud the sound was. “Well,” Ethan told her, “I don’t know how many decibels it is, but the party is across the street, and the music is rattling our walls.” Apparently, that was plenty loud enough.
We never saw a police car drive up. Maybe they just made a phone call, or drove by and knocked on the front door, where we couldn’t see them (and they wouldn’t be mobbed by 70-some-odd college students). But we do know that, about 10 minutes later, the music stopped. We could still hear the chatter of a social army across the street, but our house was still standing, and for the time being, so were we. Placated, we went back to our game of global domination, this time more quietly, and went to bed at a much more decent hour than any of our neighbors. We have discovered the inherent power of calling local authorities, and then standing cowardly behind the curtains and peeking out to witness the results. Heaven help the next whippersnapper hooligans to stand in our path. We are ornery and dangerous. ♦