Bongos and Coyotes


Spring has brought the flowers out on my lilac tree –hooray– and the mosquitoes out of the swamps. It has also brought the people two doors down out around their campfire. Personally, I prefer the mosquitos.

When the come outside for a fire, they bring their guitar(s).

They bring their political protest songs.

A bongo drum comes along for the fun.

We’ve had three consecutive nights of the racket from two doors down. Tonight is Saturday, and I’d bet my favorite lipgloss there is an encore performance. I never thought I’d miss winter, but here I am.

I have no issue at all with folks having a little campfire music on a beautiful night. One of my favourite things is singing around a campfire, and I love being at a gathering where someone has brought a guitar or a banjo, and the music flows into the night. I wouldn’t begrudge these folks their campfire singing, except for the two things I’m struggling to cope with:

It’s very, very loud.

It’s wretchedly terrible.

The “music” is so loud that I could hear it and knew what songs they were attempting from my bubble bath late last night, with the bathroom door closed and the doors to the house closed up tight. Remember that these are not the next door people (the former garbage dumpers) but that these are the people two doors down. It was so loud that the odd bongo thump or howl startled Leroy, who was purring on the edge of the tub. I was worried he might fall in, which would have been a real mess.

About the howls, now. Yes, howls. Imagine a half starved coyote, neutered so his voice is higher, and dunk that poor yodel dog’s tail in kerosene. Now light his tail on fire, and listen to his reaction. It might be better if you get the coyote really drunk on cheap beer first, so he loses all inhibitions. This is the sound that punctuated the singing last night, the night before, and the night before that. Last night the kie-yie-ing was especially energetic; they may have brought more than one coyote.

Remember, if you will, that I am a junior high teacher. I am subjected on a daily basis to kids of all levels of musical ability singing the lastest Top-40 hits, with enthusiasm, dedication, and no clue about either the words or the tunes. I don’t even get paid extra for my suffering.

Believe me then, that if I say the people two doors down have zero musical ability, I am not exaggerating. It took me a considerable amount of time to figure out the song the other night, and I even went outside on the deck to torture help myself further. It’s pretty unusual for me to have no clue about a song: I am the girl you want on your team at the Name That Tune championships. I listen to a wide range of music, and I’m pretty familiar with songs in most genres. How, then, could I not know what song was being butchered in a yard very close by.

When they hit the chorus (which was like hitting it with a tree mulcher) I finally clued in:

Four DEAD in ohhhh-HIGH-ohhhh! Huh! (Aggrrrooooowwwwlll!)

Neil Young would wet himself. To make things even more interesting, it soon became clear that they knew only the first verse, loosely, and the chorus. Shudder, rinse, repeat.

In addition to the yowling, the shouting, and the glossing over of the lyrics, these folks “play” a bongo. I’m no percussionist, but I do know that the job of the drum is to provide a rhythm. This dude has all the rhythm of a blindfolded three-legged buffalo in a square dancing contest. Truly. I tried my best to count the beats from the around the fire. I tried really, really hard. It was an impossible task. There is no rhythm. There are no patterns. There is no time signature, none at all.

What there is are exceptionally loud, thumps, thwaps, bonks, and thuds, along with the odd metallic sound that I think is a beer bottle hitting the side of the drum. These sounds happen randomly, with zero repetition or pattern. They remind of my little brother whacking a cooking pot with a spoon as a todder, except that was at least cute.

My classic rock loving Electrician grumbled several times last night, and I thought I caught something about damn hippies. When the “music” went on well past one this morning, he suggested I call in a noise complaint. Yes, because hippies are so afraid of The Man. I don’t think that angle would have the impact I need at this time.

Maybe the solution is to write my own protest song. I could fight fire with fire, but I can sing, which may put me at a significant disadvantage. Rather like bringing a fart to a crap chucking contest. Sigh.

copyright 2011:  http://bluespeckledpup.com

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