Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Soothing, Gentle Sounds of a Spring Day...Or Not

Oh, I love where I live.

I am proud to be a northern Kentuckian like, 90% of the time. But occasionally something rubs me the wrong way, and I turn to Jason and say, "Isn't there somewhere else we can go where we won't be surrounded by idiots?"

The answer to that is, "Probably not." Idiots are everywhere, in big cities, in small towns, in richy neighborhoods, in poor neighborhoods. Sometimes I want to call up all my non-idiot friends and form some sort of commune. A moron-free zone. A group of local friends used to talk about buying a few acres and setting up our own compound, so to speak, and be each other's neighbors. Even then, one of us would probably become the neighborhood idiot, and I have just enough white trash in my blood that it might be me, and then someone will go get snarky in a blog about me, and I just can't have that.

Several years ago, I came across a blog someone had written about what he called "The Banging Class." I wish I could find it now. The blogger described the people of his neighborhood as such, and that term has stuck for Jason and I. Basically, the bangers are people who have enough money to buy gadgets and gizmos and grown-up toys, but not enough class to know to use them politely.

In case you don't live among The Banging Class, here's what a spring day in the life of such a neighborhood looks like.

Imagine it's that first glorious Saturday after a cold winter when you can open all your windows and let some fresh air in. If you're an early riser, you might have a solid 15 minutes of peaceful coffee-sipping and listening to the birds chirping in the trees before the other bangers get going. Enjoy that.

Before long, the guy down the street who lives at the end of the cul-de-sac, the one who owns one motorcycle that works and three or four that don't, starts working on one of the broken ones. He proceeds to rev the engine for the next hour. And then, just to make sure it's not purring like a kitten, he'll ride it up and down the street (without a helmet, natch) 10 or 12 times. Either he'll put it away at that point or not; it just depends on whether or not you're trying to listen to something on TV.

Inspired by the guy down the street, your neighbor on the right gets out his four-wheeler and/or dirt bike and gets warmed up by doing laps around his yard. Eventually, he'll move his act into the street, where you'll be able to hear him as he makes a loop from one end of your street to the other. If you have a small child, he'll bring out his air compressor and power sprayer to clean his bike and four-wheeler off just around the time you want to get your kid down for a nap.

Later in the afternoon, the mom across the street, who also has her windows open to enjoy the beautiful weather, will start screaming at her kids. If you're nosy, you're in luck because you'll be able to hear every word she's saying and know just what heinous things her kids do that your kids haven't learned about yet. The tirade could last just 5 minutes, or could go on an hour if her kids don't correct their behavior immediately or start crying. Of course if she does make them cry, you'll hear that, too. That's the price you pay for having ears.

If you are a terribly strict parent as far as bedtime goes, in other words, if you like your young kids tucked in by 10 pm or so, you'll have some explaining to do. When you're a "Sally Stickler" and put your 6-year-old to bed at 9:30 on a Saturday night in March, you're gonna have to explain why she can still hear the joyful squeals of the 4-year-old across the street who is still out playing, in the dark, barefoot, while her dad tries your neighbor's dirt bike on for size. At this point you need to shut most of the windows anyway because the warm sunlight has long gone, but you'll still be able to hear the bikes and the squeals and the air compressors and the power sprayers because it is, after all, a Saturday night.

Sound like fun? That was pretty much last Saturday for us. And many Saturdays and Sundays before that. And many more to come, I am sure.

I would complain, but I fear we're already the "Todd and Margo" of our neighborhood (you know, the snooty couple from Christmas Vacation) and it's so much easier to just seethe and run the air conditioner if we absolutely must have peace and quiet.

Do you live among The Banging Class? Are you (gasp!) a banger yourself? And if this doesn't sound like your street...are there any houses for sale close by?

1 comment:

Karen said...

We do have the guy at the bottom of the street with the loud motorcycle, but he's usually nice enough to only be loud as he leaves the neighborhood. I enjoyed your description though. I could totally see your street and all the goings on. :)

Our neighbors are not bangers, they are the passive aggressive type. You know, the type who calls the power company and pretends to be you and tells them about the tree that's leaning (it just grew that way on the embankment) and was going to fall on the power lines. Which resulted in the power company coming on your property and cutting down said tree and then telling you that you called and asked them to. Oh, and did I mention that I had to pay to have the pieces of said tree removed from the right-of-way?

At least you know where you stand with the bangers. ;)