Aaron R. Davis
Yes, neighbor. I hear you over there, with your impossibly loud bass. I hear it loud and clear, through my bedroom wall. So what if it’s 2:30 in the morning? You’re cool, and when you’re cool, the rules don’t apply. So I’ll just lay here and feel the bass rumble from your apartment to mine and up into my chest and vibrate along with your coolness because, hey, when you’re cool, the rest of the world doesn’t matter.
I mean, that’s supposed to be my reaction, right?
I heard you earlier today when I was trying to watch TV, driving slowly into the parking lot with rap music playing so loudly from inside your car that I could clearly hear every word. That doesn’t ruin the mood of The Pacific at all. I’m sure Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg really wanted to include some gangsta rap on the soundtrack, but just didn’t have the courage to do so because it didn’t exist at the time. But you, neighbor … well, you’re cool and fascinating, and the whole world needs to stop and take notice of it.
Am I getting my intended reaction right?
Is this the kind of thing you want me to be thinking as you sit there for an extra minute, letting your music blast on and on before you shut off the car and go inside, secure in the knowledge that you’ve announced once again to the world that you’re just too awesome to be considerate of other people?
I know how you are, having lived next door to you for a couple of months.
I hear you and your friends, the ones who desperately want to be in a fraternity but obviously couldn’t get into one since you live here in an apartment complex and not over on Greek Row with your fellow Jersey Shore fans, making all of that noise. I hear it all the time. I know you are completely unashamed to let everyone know about your shitty, obvious taste in music. I know every single thing that ever happens is worth a loud “woooo!” or at least a laugh so obnoxious that goats and mules in this farm town cover their ears out of embarrassment.
Am I supposed to hear all that and think “Wow, those guys sound awesome” or maybe even look at my own life and just sort of weep to not be in such an environment? I’m just not sure exactly how I’m supposed to react.
And, really, I’m supposed to have some sort of a reaction to it, right? Otherwise, why try so hard? Why be so flamboyant with it if you didn’t want me to think something?
I mean, you’re the one living an over the top drag show of frat boy masculinity for the benefit of other people, so please tell me, what’s going on there in your head?
What are you thinking that I’m thinking?
Are you thinking that I appreciate the persona? The trying too hard? The loud music when my wife and I are trying to sleep in anticipation of work the next morning? Do you think that when I’m trying to watch an emotionally complex film or have a conversation on the phone, what it really needs to complement it is the delicate work of Mr. Cheeks?
Seriously, this is the part that’s driving me mad. You need to tell me here. Quit being so ambiguous with your signals.
You’re the one doing the performance art; just tell me what I’m supposed to be getting out of it so that I can react appropriately and move on with my life.
Are you trying to communicate some social message about neighborliness and community and how easily such illusions can be shattered?
Are you making a point about young men and how such aggressive attempts at showy masculinity speak to a deep, yearning need for acceptance, and the irony that this sort of immaturity can only be accepted on its own terms by other scared young males?
Are you displaying for others simply because you have yet to evolve past your need for attention?
Are you trying to make us feel sorry for you because the only people who ever show up at your parties are jersey-sporting, backwards-hat-wearing, shitty-domestic-beer-swilling, plastic-cup-wielding, bad-rap-loving loser guys who never, ever, ever have any women with them when they arrive?
Or are you just trying to make us think we’re all missing out on something by not being a lazy, desperate college student who stays up all night partying? Because it’s not really something that you wake up when you’re 33 and lament that you didn’t have. Maybe because I have things that actually matter to show for it: a degree, a wife, a direction, hobbies and experience. In short: a life. Something you don’t have.
Well, maybe you can explain what your performance piece is all about to the police. And then again to the property managers, when they send you a warning letter with a fine for having the police called on you. I mean, it is 2:30 in the morning here, and you’re breaking a city ordinance by being so loud, and my wife at least has work tomorrow, so I don’t have the time or the inclination to put up with your bullshit.
For tonight, at least: performance closed.
Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.