Got Bad Neighbors? Loud Country Music Should Fix That!

I adore the sound of wind chimes. But until I moved to a small town, living conditions were a little too close for wind chimes to be considerate. They were impractical in apartments, condos were too closed in and even when we lived in a cookie-cutter house (where we could literally reach our neighbors siding from our deck) – still to darn close! Wind chimes seemed…well, rude I suppose. Too much music in tight, cramped quarters.

Ah- but when we moved out here we had space! So much space. Space that city dwellers only dream about. The nearest homes seemed miles away from ours and it wasn’t long before I gleefully skipped through the garden center doors and bee-lined it to the wind chime section. There I found the most lovely set of wind chimes I’d ever laid ears upon. Large, majestic and perfectly tuned; these chimes sounded like the sweet tinkling of angels voices. They immediately went up beside the front door. They hung gently swaying in the breeze. Welcoming each new visitor to our home with a ping ping of sweet nothings. Their gentle music soothed me when I sat in the living room knitting, reading or yoga-ing.  With a symphony of honeyed music sweet enough to give your ears cavities, I felt our wind chimes elevated our neighborhood from ho-hum to exemplary. To me, these wind chimes were the mellifluous beginning to our new life in the country; with wide open spaces, fresh clean air and friendly neighbors.

But as my mother often reminded me, not everyone likes wind chimes. Three years after mounting my musical offering to the general public the couple in the corner house launched a viscous attack against my melodic medley of in the form of obnoxiously loud country blaring at high decibel from the deck.

One the first day, the “music” was so loud I could make out lyrics about drinking, trucks and breakups for my basement with the windows shut. One by one, nearly everyone on the street popped out for a boo, wondering why on earth honky-tonk was cranked at top volume, all day, without anyone around to mind the sterio?

“Do you know what’s going on?” one of the neighbors yelled over to me.

“I have no idea,” I hollered back. It was puzzling. Suspicious scenarios invaded my mind like trailers for b-rated horror films. Maybe they were playing the music to cover up the sound of a chain saw hacking apart the sinewy joints of an ex-girlfriend? Maybe they were afraid of termites and the loud music was meant to shake wood-eating insects out of the porch? But whatever the reason, it was loud and it was starting to get annoying.

At nine o’clock that night my husband took a pair of chain cutters and walked toward the corner house, intending on snipping the problem in the bud. He made it halfway across the street before somebody zipped out of the kitchen and killed the country.

But on day two those old twangy tunes were back, although at a slightly lesser volume. Again, not a soul was to be seen outside the house in question- were they playing the music for the benefit of other members of the community? Did they believe that the flowers and trees would grow bigger with this type of soundtrack? What the heck was going on?

On day three it rained, which only served to dampen the sound slightly as a Rubber-Maid tote muffled the cacophony issuing out of the radio ever so slightly.

By day four my curiosity had peaked. The girls and I headed out in the double stroller for a walk and happened by chance to wheel by one of the women from the corner house. She was wrapped in a dark jacket and turn it in turns sucking on a coffee and a cigarette.

“I have to ask,” I announced jovially, “why the music?”

In a crusty voice bearing no hint of delicacy the sinister woman from the corner house huffed, “it’s to drown out the racket from your damn wind chimes!”

…And now I knew…and it hurt- it hurt so bad. Because even though I cherish my windchimes, I believe that peace in the neighbourhood is worth more than the sweet sweet music I’d loved these past three years. After a necessary period of mourning for the loss of my little piece of heaven- my angel song, my zensational chimes…we moved the wind chimes to the back of the house….there they can dangle in the wind as much as they like. I am not going to take them down again!

The country music is still being broadcast from the house kiddie-corner to us but it’s quieter now….sigh. I guess there will always be neighbors.


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