I live on the East Side of Los Angeles in a neighborhood that is both residential/industrial and primarily Latino though gentifrication with all its good and bad is slowly seeping in. I love it here for the most part. I have a HUGE (about 2500 sq. loot) loft-like apartment in a converted barn (built in 1903) for a ridiculously low amount of rent. It has all new laminate floors, a balcony, 1950’s tile in the kitchen and two glorious, brand spanking new bathrooms. There’s room for ALL my books and then some an extra (huge) bedroom for my grandkids and a whole room for my kitchen gadgets, pots and pans. I should be happy right?
There are two other apartments here and and one of them loves three things – banda music, their extra loud surround sound systems and BASE. My walls tremble, the floor throbs and the hallway where my books reside fairly thumps with an intense beat. Seriously, books have fallen right off the shelves. It’s positively annoying. Imagine if you will, soaking in a nice bubble bath after a long day at work when all of a sudden your whole bathroom starts to bump, throb and drill circus-like base into your head. The porcelain of my huge tub intensifies the beat and drills it right into my head. Relaxation over – pure frustration sets in instantly.
Sunday morning…about 7:30 a.m. I’m fast asleep after a long night. There are no grandchildren here, I had a nice evening with a fancy restaurant, glasses of wine and dancing cheek to cheek. I’m intending to sleep in, bask in the awesome quiet and get up around 10:00 a.m. (perfectly reasonable for a Sunday morning) and then have coffee at my computer while I hammer out the next 20,000 or so words in my Llorona novel.
Bump! Thump! Circus is in town!!!!! There is banda blasting the walls are shaking and SOMEONE IS GONNA DIE.
Only…murder is illegal and I’m just realizing I only own a rocket launching thingy in my dreams – the ones that involve killing the inventor of surround sound and banda.
I stumble to the kitchen and my shaking hands grind beans for much-needed coffee. Even the sound of the electric grinder doesn’t drown the circus music. I open my kitchen window and yell, “It’s 7EFFINGO’CLOCK in the MORNING!” The music only gets louder. @#$%^&!
I check my Nokia Icon phone for email since it’s clear I’m not going back to sleep and in my distressed grogginess, hit the music button instead. A light goes on in my head and it’s not because of the previous night’s bottle of wine. No, I distinctly remember a tutorial-type webinar on the features of the FOUR microphones and sound on this phone. I raise the volume to 30. I rapidly find Black Sabbath, War Pigs and BLAST IT, next up is Children of the Grave. The music next door lowers a bit…so I smile a maniacal smile (or at least I think so) and I line up a playlist of Sabbath, Mettalica and Slayer, lie my phone on the window sill at full blast and make sure it’s connected to the wall outlet so I have full power.
I drift off to another part of the house, clutching my coffee in a death grip. The music stops completely, I hear a door slam. A few minutes later, my doorbell rings. I pretend not to hear it. It rings again and again, so I sigh and make my way down the stairs but not before grabbing my Icon from the window sill and carrying it with me, still playing at full blast.
The resultant conversation that is shouted over the music is priceless.
My neighbor in Spanish, “Can you lower that noise?”
Me: “Nope. It’s my music and doncha know…I have trouble hearing” (I have surround sound too and I’m was going to duplicate that by also streaming to my T.V. and surround system too if I had to)
Neighbor: “But we can’t hear our T.V. and that sounds….well Satanic.”
Me: “No? Really? Well, this is going to be every day that I’m woken or disturbed by your surround sound, and yes, I am listening to and intend to continue to listen to the devil’s music.”
Neighbor, sheepishly and beaten: “Sorry. I’ll keep mine low.”
There hasn’t been a banda disturbance in two weeks. I am buying a big bottle of bubble bath in celebration.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Verizon Wireless Lifestyle Program which gives me free access to mobile technology and other benefits. The opinions expressed here are my own, as is the terrorizing of banda-playin’ neighbors. I am, as always myself. #VZWBuzz
Also…this post is for Joe Loya, just cuz.