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Front Page » July 1, 2008 » Opinion » Staff column: Noise: In the ears of the beholder
Published 2,223 days ago

Staff column: Noise: In the ears of the beholder


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

It was a pleasant June night, with a slight breeze blowing and the moon in full bloom as Ronny and Zelda slept in their small house, dreaming pleasant dreams.

But at about 2 a.m. Ronnie was awakened by a roaring car and screeching brakes. He then heard voices yelling in anger. He went out the door to see what was going on and although he couldn't see the people making the noise he could hear them. They were disturbing the whole neighborhood and so he started to yell at them to stop and take into consideration that others were sleeping. Within a few minutes the noise was gone and Ronny went back to bed snuggling next to Zelda.

About 4 a.m. a freight train came through town. Instead of passing through, as it usually does, it stopped on the tracks just outside of the neighborhood, with brakes screeching and engines whining when it started up again. This awoke Ronny, who was already out of sorts from the first noise disturbance and he went outside again. He saw that Freddie from next door was outside too and so was Tammy the neighbor on the other side of his house. They started discussing the evening and how much noise there had been. Soon they all went back to bed and slept soundly.

Well for a little while anyway.

At 5 a.m. the county's mosquito truck drove through the neighborhood with its loud equipment; first one way up the street, then the other. At that point Ronny and Zelda both got up and saw that all the neighbors were also looking out their doors and then they all started to talk about the noise that evening and how disturbing it had been.

That night, as pleasantly as it had begun, had ended with many getting little good sleep. Grumpy, they all complained to each other, just as any group of individuals in the same situation would.

Luckily for Ronny and Zelda, they got to sleep in that morning. But at about 11 a.m. as they were just recovering from the night of noise, their friend Nelson came by. As he approached the house Ronny could see he didn't have a very happy look on his face. However his voice covered his true feelings.

"Ronny, Zelda, how would you like to go for a ride with me this morning?" he asked.

Zelda loved going with Nelson and she jumped right in and said yes. Nelson had pulled his truck up outside and they all piled into the front seat. Soon they were tearing down the road with tunes blaring from the XM radio and Nelson was singing to some of them.

"Guess you guys had kind of a rough night with all that noise didn't ya?" queried Nelson.

Ronny gave him an affirmative on that and continued to listen to the music as they drove.

"Got to make a stop here," said Nelson as they pulled up to a metal building on a desert road. "Want to come in with me?"

Ronny and Zelda loved being with Nelson so they jumped out and went in with him. They had never been to this place before. There was a nice lady at the front counter who talked with Nelson about some business, but Ronny wasn't listening because he was looking at a poster on the wall that had all kinds of breeds of dogs on it.

"This is Jill," said Nelson as he pointed to the lady at the counter. "Can you stay here for a while; I have some other business to do."

Nelson had often introduced them to new friends and left them to get acquainted, so that was nothing new. They were happy to get to know her.

Nelson was gone for a long time, so Jill let Ronny and Zelda go in a back room where the air was cool; a good respite from the hot summers day. Then a nice man came in and talked with them for a few minutes.

Late that afternoon Nelson returned to pick up Ronny and Zelda. They were asleep in the cool room and Nelson and the nice man carried them out to the truck. Soon they were back home but as Nelson pulled up in front, the two came out of their sleep. Ronny suddenly realized how sore his throat was; he thought maybe he was getting sick. Nelson helped them into their house and as they went in Freddie came out of his house and said "Hi."

Neither Ronny, nor Zelda could answer. They no longer had the ability to speak and express themselves. All that came out was a harsh rasp that hurt.

"I'm sorry I had to do this," said Nelson as he hugged both Ronny and Zelda. Their tails wagged. "But if I hadn't the whole kennel could have been closed down. You guys were just too noisy for some of the neighbors."

Nelson started to walk away and then he turned to them.

"It seems people can be as loud and as obnoxious as they want no matter the time of day," he said. "I just wonder how those same people would feel if someone required that their vocal cords be cut out because what they said and how they said it disturbed someone?"

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