The neighbours were thoughtful to give everyone due warning: the kids were having a party; it would be noisy, but they would do their best to keep it reasonable. Nice touch, but it fills you with foreboding – oh God, how long will you have to put up with the noise? – and yet contrarian views too – kids have the right to have fun too.
So the party began, quietly enough, reasonable music too. Perhaps I could sit outside after all. Then as I watered the plants, the volume was ratched up a notch or two, three, four, five. The water quivered in the can. A direct effect of the vibrations? Or mediated through my increased irritation? No, no chance of sitting outside. Perhaps playing my own music inside would counteract the dzung-dzing-dzung of the bass that was beginning to rattle the windows. Not much help: the combination of Corelli and rap was exactly what you’d expect: crap.
Inside the bass dzunged through the walls, tempting the parquet floor to start jigging. Outside other instruments carried a tune – of sorts – and sometimes, I have to admit, it was tuneful. I kept thinking, was I as noisy as this at the same age? Probably, yes, even though without the electronics. Hmm, so grin-and-bear-it, grr. Yeah, they have a right to have fun.
Round about one a.m. I went off to bed – and happily the music subsided. So fair enough, I think. Not so bad after all, even if most of the music wasn’t to my taste. Really? Only the other evening I’d been playing Eric Clapton (Me and Mr Johnson), Canned Heat (‘On the Road Again’), and Deep Purple, reliving memories of long ago and yet not so long ago. It’s easy to be hypocritical as an older adult: Do as I say, not as I do, and certainly not as I did.
DZUNG-DZUNG next morning. Bloody hell, I thought, what the -! Lumps of cheese, and ‘bitterballen’ littering (older adult word) the garden! I could just imagine the kids having fun throwing the food at each other and high in the air. Yeah, let’s annoy the neighbours! And there was I, suitably annoyed. It worked.
Yeah, hypocrite. Annoyance quickly evaporated. Memories recalled of a tremendous pie fight in the university canteen, worthy of a silent movie, but we amplified the noise. And recollections of bottle throwing at parties, thorough-going brawl on a bus, and more and worse (what’s that, you say, what kidnapping?), but let’s leave the confession. Yeah, I wasn’t always a clean-living kid or young ‘adult’. Yeah, we older ‘adults’ can be hypocrites: we still carry exciting memories of our own wild youth. Well, some of us.
And this time one crow at least got a piece of cheese and didn’t drop it.