Op Ed

Bringin’ Down the House Next Door

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?

Sometimes, I feel like this.


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?



13 replies on “Bringin’ Down the House Next Door”

If the bass in the car beside me shakes my car, then it is too loud. I joke that I live in a “retirement village” as I am probably one of the youngest residents of condo complex, so fortunately, loud music is not an issue in my neighborhood. I enjoy it immensely.

I like to think of these people as generous.  They have invested so much in their vehicle and sound system in order to share their music with me.  I don’t always enjoy the offering, but I appreciate the notion that perhaps I needed a little more music in my life.

I try not to be too “old” about it, because I still occasionally like to blast my music.  Do you know how good N*ggas in Paris sounds when you really blast it?  That song gets me hyped.  But I tend not to do it so much in my neighborhood.  Unless it happens to be on my radio when I’m driving in.
Sometimes, though, I’ve seen where people’s stereo systems aren’t even that loud, but the bass is so high that it is literally rattling windows. Like – you could stand next to the car and talk to the driver and be heard fine – it’s just that the bass is thumping like crazy.  Weird, but it happens.

If I put loud music on, it’s one or two songs before turning it down again. I hate a continuous flow of extremely loud music and am (being the old biddy that I am) always wondering if those people don’t think about their ears? I mean, every day several hours in such a volume of sound?

My neighbors are fine when it comes to music. Sadly though one of them has four dogs that bark for every movement. Which might be even more annoying.

I feel like music is a perfect place for the Golden Rule to be applied. Would you want others to consider you when they decide when/how to turn on their music? Would you want your neighbors to shake your house with their bass? Would you want them to blast music at 3 am? And if the answer to those questions is no, why would you do it to others?

I think the problem here is that there are people who would go, “Sure, why not?” to every one of those questions, and so they are genuinely astonished that other people might not appreciate their loud music, especially when they are sleeping in the middle of the night. I used to live next to one of these people. He was a DJ. Oh man, I hope I never have to experience that ever again.


On the one side of our apartment, our neighbour likes to play music with a heavy bass beat in the morning and at night. On the other side of our apartment, the neighbours have had the occasional party, but the weird thing was that for about six weeks, they’d hold a church service with music and a microphone for the sermon.


Yeah, it’s a fine line between expressing yourself and enjoying your music and interrupting other people’s lives and annoying them.  I like to turn up the volume on warm days and drop the windows, but I still keep it at a lower volume. You can’t just throw other people’s feelings to the wind in your self-expression. It’s a delicate balance of respect that needs to be maintained.

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