Silence, please!

No matter how close you and your roommate may have been, they were still a roommate (i.e. were around when you wish they were absent, didn’t clean the mess which irritated you more and more with each dirty sock on the floor, and drank more of your milk than you did).

The thought alone of going back to the college dorm room days makes my heart plummet. Sharing a 10×12 room with another person doesn’t leave you with an abundance of space, let alone privacy.

Which is why I surprised myself when (after living alone for four years) I offered to rent my basement to my relocating brother. It is a house, after all. More space, two levels, different schedules… how much can a person get in your way?

Well, the bro doesn’t really get in my way. In fact, he came in handy when I tried to do home improvement projects without a drill (or the knowledge to operate one). However, I don’t completely enjoy my usual at-home-alone routines such as freely roaming about in my underwear, explaining details on the phone with my sister about things only sisters share, or parking in the dead center of the garage. While these are just small inconveniences, there are two I just can’t get used to: his style of music and the volume at which it’s played.

Actually, it’s not that I can’t get used to the music. It’s that I can’t stand it.

After a long day, I was surprised to come home to a (very large) stereo system on my kitchen counter and speakers propped up on the top of the cabinets.

“Oh no. This is NOT staying,” I said in solitude after catching my first glimpse at the massive system, which seemed to take up at least a fourth of my counter space. “Sorry bro,” I thought, “But the area needed to prepare my delicious baking is more important than your need to hear your ‘boom boom’ from anywhere on the property.”

You see, I like upbeat, clean, softer music. Jack Johnson. Norah Jones. Sarah Bareilles. Michael Bublé… You know, the type that doesn’t make you want to jam peanut butter deep into your ear canals.

My brother’s taste is slightly different. He likes to play (loudly) the kind of music you “dance” to after having too many cocktails at the O.B. Ones which “sing” about “backing it up” and the “twist” in their first kiss. Absolute noise.

So when bro heads to his room and turns on whatever kind of sound system he has wired through the closets and heat vents, I hear it. From my living room. From my bedroom. On my deck. Sometimes I can discern the words, but mostly the thud from the bass.

Fortunately, he supplied me with a larger stereo system which I now utilize to blare over his hippity hoppity music. If that doesn’t work and his subs still override, I search for a tune that matches up with the bass of the song he’s playing – at a higher decibel than preferred.

Sad to say, I think I have become the kind of neighbor I hate.

Shootin’ the Wit is a weekly column about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.

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