How Punk Rock Music Can Teach Us All to Be More Polite

This morning, the punk band Ultraman helped my neighbors and I come to a better understanding of neighborly conduct. Hmmm...kind of sounds like a "Scooby Doo" episode, where the band comes in to teach everyone a valuable lesson. While that sounds all well and good, I didn't actually have a band in my apartment this morning. (For some people, this would be disappointing; my parents would probably consider it a sign of progress.)

The first time I was woken up this morning, I vaguely wondered why my life had become some sort of Hugh Grant-Julia Roberts Europudding, as my bedroom was filled with the suicidal strains of Bonnie Raitt singing "I Can't Make You Love Me." I never before knew that that song actually has bass in it, but the fact that it was pulsing through the wall behind my head was proof positive.

So I grabbed the broom that I keep next to the bed for just such occasions. Pounding the handle into the ceiling for ten minutes finally resulted in the radio from hell being turned down. I fell back to sleep, thinking that, since it was only 8 a.m., I'd do the Sunday Sleep and catch at least a couple more hours in my bed.

But just as I was back in dreamland, a horrible screeching wail jolted me awake. My downstairs neighbors--they of the huge patio that is literally three times the size of my entire apartment--had their devil grandchild visiting. Now, I'll admit that I'm not child-friendly. But even taking that barometer into account, this is the most hellacious small person I've encountered. All it does is screech, whine, and cry. Very fucking loudly.

This morning, at all of 8:30 I quickly discovered, the little snot ball was screaming so loud that it sounded like it was sitting in my living room. In my version of a polite society, one would think that, at the very least, you take the screeching shit monster back indoors. But my neighbors seemed to forego this option, as the wailing only increased in pitch and decibal level.

This is where having a decent collection of punk rock music comes in handy. While the Descendents CD was closest to the stereo, I walked over to my computer and pulled out an Ultraman CD., I cranked it loud enough to piss off both the Bonnie Raitt bitch and the asshole grandparents. I learned immediately--the baby does not enjoy punk rock. Its screaming reached fever pitch as lead singer Tim Jamison appropriately snarled "Ask...my...self. Ask myself 'Why?'"

As the punk rock reverbrated throughout my bare-ass unfurnished apartment the neighbors quickly realized just how much we can hear of one another's lives. After four songs, my early-morning Turret's started to wear off, and I actually started to feel like the villian in this situation (why is that?!?) When I turned off the stereo, both Bonnie and the brat were silenced, or at least removed from my hearing range.

You know, the irony is not lost on me that I was the one hassling old people about their noise levels this morning. But they need to realize that not everyone around them goes to bed just after sunset and believes that 8 a.m. is the geriatric version of noon. But old folks are the worst kind of noise polluting neighbors. Even if they did invite me to the party, it's not like I would actually want to go hang out on the balcony drinking grapefruit juice and watching their progeny make snot bubbles and scream.

Besides that, they have an egocentric approach that makes their lifestyles the despotic example by which the rest of us are supposed to live. I can imagine the upstairs neighbor huffily thinking "Well, *I'm* getting ready for *church*!!!" And the downstairs folk having the typical breeder response of "The *baby* is expressing itself!!!"

Well, I was just expressing myself, too. Expressing my displeasure at being jolted out of a warm and cozy sleep by someone else's vagina fruit. Don't get me wrong, I don't necessarily fault the kid here. I doubt the one-year old decided to freeze his ass off in the morning chill to scream out on the balcony. The fucking idiot breeder grandparents made that executive decision, and they got to meet Ultraman as a result.

I admit, I'm tempted to throw a party tonight. I'm sure that if my fucktard neighbors were to be woken up at 10 at night by my lifestyle, they wouldn't want to extend the same courtesy that they expected this morning. But the reality is, I probably won't round up a bunch of folks from nearby bars to come hang out at my pad. Because I'm aware of how much we can hear of one another's lives, and don't deliberately encroach on my neighbors' peace and quiet with the same level of hubris that they approach mine.