Procrastination is one of my personality flaws. I'd list overeating as another, but it should count as a genetic defect since I have extra taste buds that don't help the problem.
I have these classes. In the classes, I have books to read and papers to write. Procrastination is one battle, but the situation in the neighborhood has become another threat to my work. I want to go in my office and relax, flip the pages and spin the words, without the horrible racket which has sprung up with spring.
Just in time for sunny skies and balmy breezes, from the North of my house the anorexic little kids next door are out in my driveway, shrieking and fighting, spinning their bikes out in the gravel I don't have; and the dog yelps, howls from crashes, and yelling mother combine to challenge all known sound barriers. The noise during March begins bouncing off my office window at 2pm and when summer break arrives, it will begin at 8am and last until well after dusk.
The boy who lived next door and specialized in cranking up lawn mowers and rapping out moved and we had two summers of peace. That was after four summers of the intelligent soul-moving lyrics, "I'm gonna carve your bitch face off you f***ing bitch slut I'll f***ng kill you now kill f*** kill f**k." Try explaining that to your 6-year-old daughter.
The rapping neighbor-boy's replacement arrived with a cavalcade of Toyota trucks encased in mud from tires to antennas, sporting extreme lift kits, door-less cabs (dubbed in as patio furniture), at least six of them lacking mufflers, and all of them ejecting beer-slinging teenagers regularly. All this so known sound barriers could be attacked, assessed for damage, then re-attacked while other neighbors called the police.
This new neighbor, a 35-year-old wanna-be-bad-boy came home three months ago with a Harley up his bum. Him and his buddies cruise the Avenues in their factory accessorized orange, caution yellow, white and purple Harleys, strapped helmet to toenail in shiny new leather. I assume the Toyotas sufficed as downpayments on these steeds. Listen, freak, Real Harley riders in weather-beaten, knife-punctured leathers are on road trips now, and all of the time, stopping only for tall ones at roadside cafe bars, not breaking speed limits in residential zones.
For reasons only he is privy to my neighbor revs his Harley daily, the blows of sound like machine guns spraying metal off his cement slab from 6am to noon, mangling my shrubs and torturing my sanity. That's when real Harley riders are sleeping, you idiot.
I saw you storming by this afternoon noise-boy, glancing askew through your helmet peek-hole to see if I was fawning after you. I was looking so I could snatch the kids, dogs and cats from out of your path and take your plates.
As a kid, I fell in love with the look and sound of Harleys. The sight of them rushing out of the distance—rock-steady and throbbing--claimed my girlhood fantasies many times. In the desert, I could hear that distinctive Harley stutter from miles away. The riders always wore bandannas, blunt-toed boots, fringed sleeves, with studs on their seats and wings on their backs. In those days, helmets weren't required and if the riders had bushy ponytails, beards and shades, even better. Watching them fly in formation down the freeway was thrilling, nothing less. Old-school Harley riders are legendary, like appendages of their machines; wide-legged, arms extended, butts glued into leather, their bodies move in mystic rhythms tuned to their bike in their Harley world, no other.
I had one summer of silence here on 18th Avenue; a beautiful summer without neighbors on the North or neighbors on the South. All of I can think of right now is that playing my stack of Tangerine Dream cds—recently increased by a lovely benefactor, thank you!!--will cover the noise outside. Maybe the howling planets, techno beats, and whining wizard of the Moog will drown out the melee of extracurricular sound.
I have messages for my neighbors, but I haven't yet decided how to deliver them. People with the pack of kids: Muzzle them or else. Scruffy Engine Revver: You'll never ever make it as Harley icon, dude. Do you know why??? Real Harley riders were born there, on the saddle of their vintage hog, and they die there, too. You didn't, and you won't, that's all.
I just hope I make it through the summer with some semblance of self-control.