So yesterday, while I was working on material for my other Persephone posts and for the Lentian novel-a-thon, I was pulled out of my zone with a BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM. Someone might think that it was an earthquake or a bomb going off, but no. The source of the noise was much less life-threatening, if not more annoying. My neighbors next door had pulled in and had their music on in their car. But it wasn’t on at just a normal volume; it was really loud, and they had the bass really high, so high that I swear that the walls of my house were shaking.
I’m sure that this has always been A Thing, but I had never really encountered things like this until the past few years or so. I know that some people love to custom out their cars and really put a lot of time and effort into it, and I knew that some of that includes an awesome sound system. But it just really seems that there are a lot more people doing it than in the past. Maybe it’s because the prices on the electronics and technology required have come down, and also with music becoming more digital and fine-tuned, we can appreciate the sound more. And so many people view their cars as extensions of themselves, and they do what they can to jazz them up because it’s a form of self-expression. And of course music ties into that, right? The music that you listen to and adore might say something about an aspect of you as a person, or it might convey a certain image of yourself to others. And this whole idea of image when it comes to self-expression is great, but what if it becomes a little too much?
I can remember driving home from Old Job once and this guy pulled up in this decent-looking truck beside me. As we sat at the traffic light, he was trying to catch my eye. So he turned up his music – which was quite loud – and started bopping along to it in his car, glancing at me all the while. Did he think he was mpressing me? I just rolled my eyes and ignored him. Sure, he was trying to convey a certain image of himself. But while he imagined himself as a wicked awesome badass, I perceived him as a wicked discourteous douchebro.
Which brings me to the question: While it’s okay to use your car as a mode of self-expression, how much is too much when it comes to the noise factor? Some bass is going to come from everyone’s car, depending on their sound system. But do I really need to hear the bass from your music two blocks away, like it’s a fanfare announcing that you’re on your way home? When does your right to freedom of self-expression cross into someone else’s right not to have to hear it all the time? In short, does anyone care about being a courteous neighbor anymore? Thoughts?