Saturday, July 19, 2008


So I'm sitting in my apartment today, working, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, music starts BLARING. Like WAAAY louder than the shitty speakers on my macbook pro ever go, louder even than when my upstairs neighbor blasts his awful euro-trance garbage at 10 on a weekend night, getting ready for a night out somewhere unimaginably awful.

For the record, I'm partially deaf in both ears. I have to try hard to hear during regular conversations. There is not even a tiny amount of hyperbole in my description of this volume.

Anyway, I figured maybe it was a new next door neighbor, or even someone with awesome speakers in a car parked right below my window.

As I approached my living room window, I realized it indeed was coming from outside, but was actually from the soon-to-close used bookstore across the street.

Now that dude has never made a peep, even including sometimes when I've asked a direct question, so blaring bad rock music struck me as not quite his style.

Plus, I like him and miss (already) the bookstore, so I wasn't gonna complain. But then it went on and on ... and on.

An hour or so later, I had to go over to the West Side Market, and as I headed over, I went across the street and asked a totally different guy who was standing next to the speaker set-up if he could turn it down. He was also sweating profusely and had a towel draped around the back of his neck.

I couldn't hear his response, but the look on his face told me he didn't say anything nice.

I leaned in, repeated my request (nicely, mind you), and he said the place was going out of business. I don't know if that was an explanation, or just a "fuck you - we are closing and you can't do jack about it." Either way, it wasn't going to matter.

So I sighed and said something along the lines of "Listen, man, I like this place and I like Mike (the owner of the store) and I shopped here all the time, but I live across the street and can't hear myself think with this so loud, so please turn it down."

His response: I will in a little while.

At this point my adrenaline took over, as did my cattiness.

I said, "I came over here as a human because I sympathize with the store's closing, but I could've just called the cops...

He interrupted: "Tell you what, I'll make you a deal....

Me: "No, I don't need any fucking deal. Turn this shit down, now, or I'm going over to the cop down the block at the park.

Him: "I tell you what..."

Me: "No, I'll tell you what, I'm gonna be back in my apartment in 10 minutes. If this shit isn't considerably less loud I'm calling the cops. Then you'll have to turn it down anyway, and it'll cost Mike even more money for the ticket. Don't fuck with me."

I went to the market, got my stuff, walked back and upstairs, sat down at my desk and realized ... it was a lot quieter. Since then, the volume has gone up a couple of times and they've played some questionable George Carlin segments (questionable in that Saturday in Ohio City is far more family-oriented than George Carlin's material), but it hasn't gotten as bad as it was at first. I'm leaving for the east side in a couple hours, so I'll just let it go.

I still feel like a jerk for threatening to call the cops -- Who does that to bookstore fans? -- but still, that sound/guy was out of control! Anybody who reads this blog or knows me knows I'm a big supporter of indie bookstores -- shit, I even wrote a blog post about the store, when I first heard of its demise. Yet there I was, toe to toe with Joe Douchebag, arguing about the noise.

If nothing else, I guess I learned that, despite my efforts to reform it, my temper still pops from time to time when confronted with things like this jackass and his speaker fetish.

Need to work on that.


Kerry said...

That wasn't unreasonable, and that was hardly a display of temper.

But I'm from NJ. One of the things I hated about Cleveland was the Midwestern whine of "you're yelling at me!" when I hadn't raised my voice, hadn't used any profanity, and hadn't threatened violence.

emily said...

yes! i am also a jersey girl living in cleveland. i know what you mean. unless i make a threat against you and your family, then we're just having a discussion:) i've also noticed that in cleveland, people feel it's necessary to say "just kidding!" after they've made a sarcastic (albeit lame) remark...

Kerry said...

Oh, we could totally hijack the comment section with talk of Cleveland and its conflict-avoidance and fake nicey-nicey ways. Let's just say it's easy to be around people who admit they are pissed off and angry than those who deny it and act like you're unreasonable.

CB said...

You gals think it is bad here, try going to the south! Aggression there is waaay under the the surface, though maybe that's why when it comes up, it manifests is such systematically ugly ways. Hmm.