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Loud, obnoxious students

April 13, 2012

Sure, I know my title may be a redundancy. Most college students, at times, tend to be loud and obnoxious. It’s their nature. It’s the nature of the beast they’re allowed to be for a few short years of wilding between ejection from the parental nest and ingestion in the corporation.

My wife and I have been in our new house for less than two months now, and already I’ve been awakened three or four times by loud, obnoxious noises from behind the house. Our rectilinear grid of a neighborhood puts us cheek to jowl with our neighbors in the back. Everybody is united, and divided, by privacy fences, and though the fences may shield us from the sight of our neighbors they do nothing much to block out sound.

loud obnoxious neighbors

Orgies next door? Hooting and hollering? Tell 'em to cool it -- and throw you a beer so you can calm down and go back to bed.

So when students, or anyone else, start partying after midnight, or 2 am, as the case has been, then some of us, particularly the early to bed and early to rise crowd, wake with a start and gnash their teeth. They may fly out of bed, cuss, and stomp the ground like Yosemite Sam (even those of us without flaming red hair and saber at side).

The first time I was waked by noise, at 2 am on a weeknight, I climbed the fence in the back where it connects, and separates me, kitty corner, from my student neighbors. A group of six or eight had a fire going in a fire pit, the music going rather loud, and the voices raised in a chorus of glee. (No, I saw, this was not a glee club. Too informal and cacophonous for that. Too disorganized and jolly.) When I called out, Do you realize what time it is?, one of them, a tall young black man, came over and apologized. They hadn’t realized how late it was, how loud they were getting, etc., etc., etc. Within a few minutes they’d doused the fire and the chatter — and disappeared inside.

But this late nite revelry, with or without drinking, has continued, and I’ve been awakened several times. The other night, when it happened again — the hubbub and then the Yosemite Sam wrath — I simply called the cops. But before the cops could fairly get here, the kids had dispersed and gone inside.

The next day I delivered them a letter of complaint, which included a protest to their landlord, too, an academic who’d taught at U Ark and then got a job at the University of Michigan. The kid I’d talked with came down from his bedroom (this was about noon) and we talked. He was apologetic but perplexed. What’s all the fuss about? It wasn’t he who was raising hell but some of his guests, could be.

The day after, a roommate of the first guy came over to our house and gave me his card. Before I call the police again, he urged me, call him. He’ll calm down any celebrations or excesses that might be going on. He hoped they wouldn’t get started. Alcohol wasn’t part of the routine, at any rate (he’d never had a drink in his life), and wasn’t the fuel for the late night fire of talk and, yes, fire.

That was cool, I told him. I’m not always a crabby old man, but I am when I’m waked in my bed by disturbances of the peace. Why don’t we all just get along? I said, playing the Tom Hanks bit. We don’t have to be friends, necessarily, or love each other, but we can live together, lion and lamb (who’s who?), without much growling or much blood, can’t we?

I remember when I was a student, back when, and might have been loud on a few occasions (I hope mainly on weekends), one of my housemates, in one undergradate abode — the Pink Pussy Palace, we called it, as opposed to the Baby Mansion our young black student neighbors occupy — was a loud, obnoxious (how shall I put this, gently?) prick. He blasted his rock music from his stereo system so loud that the house trembled and shook. And the neighbors, in the house next door, maybe ten feet from our windows, trembled and shook. They came over, more than once, trembling with rage and threatening action, but I don’t recall that my housemate moderated his behavior one bit, the prick. The loud, obnoxious prick.

Yes, lion and lamb, shall we lie down together, brethren? Not too much growling, please. Nor any blood.

  1. Anton Dmytrenko permalink

    More cocoa anyone?

  2. Gerry permalink

    Sounds like you ran out of Viagra some time ago. Too bad. Testosterone let’s you sleep thru all kinds of noise. That’s cuz you have to spend your manly energies I suspect. But if not Viagra, this is a nation of pill poppers, how about some really physical activity to acknowledge your body below the left hemisphere?

    Not saying I could sleep thru that kind of stuff, but you needn’t hold onto it so long. I’m sure there are more filling things in your life to write about.


  3. Rutting does indeed tend to shut out other noises. If we could all bellow like moose, in rut, we would hear little else. Think I’ll head into the swamp and look for some drippy moss.

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