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Dean Whitbread 2013

Dean Whitbread 2020

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Written on January 6, 2008, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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Everyone is entitled to have a party, but there is a basic rule, which is summed up as “one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor”. Paul Simon wrote a great song entitled this on his album, “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon”. This album was seminal in my development and appreciation of black harmony singing and american folk, and contains some of Simon’s best work. It also contains a rousing song called “Loves Me Like A Rock”.

I slept fitfully five hours with earplugs inserted (painful) until 6:15am, when with music growing louder rather than stopping, I decided that since the raving was actually gathering intensity, I would have to resort to the Rock.

The Rock is large and heart-shaped, usually reserved for door-stopping, and weighs several pounds. I made myself a cup of tea – herbal, in case I was going to be able go back to bed and actually sleep – and then prepared myself for the confrontation. I would have to impress upon my new young neighbours the need for them to address the volume level at his sacred hour in this shared block, and the Rock was going to assist me in this time-honoured purpose.

Dressed in nothing but my old toweling robe and slippers, I opened the front door, and stepped out onto the balcony, and breathed in cold January air. For a full minute, I heard the sweet, tuneful call of a blackbird, celebrating the pre-dawn silence of the city, a clean line slicing through the drunken raucous voices and pounding dance rhythms, echoing between brick-faced buildings, and acknowledged a wordless prayer of thanks that I was awake to hear it at this forsaken hour.

Holding the Rock, I went into my living room where the noise was loudest. In the room below, party drugs were still coursing through the veins of two dozen people. I lifted the rock six feet above the floor, and let go. It fell with a satisfying “crack!”. I had to be careful not to let it hit furniture as it bounced. Whack! Whack! It was unmissable, the sound of Thor.

I repeated this seven or eight times to cut through the fug and furore. It felt good, but I was cautious. I wanted it to successfully admonish and correct, not create even more problems. Eventually after five or so minutes, the music reduced. Then it went back up, even louder, defiant. I retired into my study, wondering whether I would need to go and knock on the door, decided to give it a second attempt.

As I was giving my floor / their ceiling an increasingly louder and more resonant hammering, my partner appeared, bleary eyed, and asked whether I wanted her to go down and speak. No, give it time, I said, and dropped the Rock a couple more times. Please, don’t do it, she said, so I stopped. Waited. Then I heard the sound of a neighbour banging also, somewhere else in the building, an insistent and regular thump-thump-thump-thump-thump. That will be Olly, I thought, a nice man, Irish. He came two floors up to tell me to STFU once, when I had a stupid, deaf person living here who had cranked up the stereo at 1.30am on a week night. If he has to get dressed to tell them to cool it at pushing 7am on a Sunday morning, they will remember it for a while.

The noise of several apartments at once in united protest seemed to do the trick. A final blast of Bob Marley, and the music has diminished.

If it creeps up to earplug level again, I’m ready with the Rock.

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This thing has 2 Comments

  1. Laurie
    Posted 6 January, 2008 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    I love your rock! I think Paul Simon would approve.

  2. Lazy
    Posted 8 January, 2008 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    How civilised, I usually go down there with one of them police Maglites…

    How’s life, anyway?

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