Posted in pet peeves

PET PEEVE… OF LAST MONTH: CAR ALARMS 2

It started just after midnight. The downstairs neighbor’s car alarm went off. Then it went off again. I decided to peek out the window to see what was happening. Mr. Neighbor ran out of the house and circled his car to see what may have set the offending alarm off. The car alarm had been giving off single random beeps that morning and woke me up before my alarm went off, so I was not thrilled that Mr. Neighbor’s alarm had gone off full throttle so late. I put on my headphones and tried to go back to sleep.

Alarm went off again.

Mr. Neighbor shut off the car alarm, went back inside and it went off again a few minutes later. He repeated his run out to the carport to investigate — as if someone’s hiding between the cars or there was a rational reason the alarm was going off. His car doesn’t appear to be anything that is on the list of desirable cars to steal, so his repeated investigations made me laugh (because I was tired and that made it funnier than it probably was). I started to wonder if he had something in the car worth value because he was so diligent about it.

After fifteen minutes and several more car alarm invasions into my slumber, I was annoyed. After a car alarm goes off a few times in a row, and no person, cat or other animal is anywhere near the car, it should be obvious something is wrong with the car alarm, but all Mr. Neighbor does is let his car alarm scream to life… then he turns it off and stares at the car as if he knows the car is trying to tell him something, but he doesn’t have the key to the car alarm code to decipher it.

I, however, know the code and his alarm is trying to tell him, “I have a short! Please disconnect the battery and I’ll shut up. I promise!”

Unfortunately, the on/off scenario repeated every few minutes until 3:45 AM. On…off. On… off. At this point, I am bleary eyed and beyond annoyed. Yes, car alarms go off, it’s a fact of life, but when it’s obvious something is WRONG with the car alarm and no burglary is being attempted…if the only attempt to rectify the situation is turning it off and letting it come back on… well, let’s just say the soothing tunes I was trying to listen to weren’t soothing me enough.

Finally, at 3:50 AM, Mr. Neighbor went out and turned the car on and this ended the car alarm onslaught. I was ticked that he didn’t bother to think of that three and a half hours before!

Anyway, that’s my rant. I had two cups of coffee and a lot of green tea, so I made it, but I was really hanging by a thread. I haven’t slept well the last week or so, and last night didn’t help. I am running on fumes now, but I don’t want to take a nap for fear I won’t be able to sleep later!

Really, I don’t think that will be a problem…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted in commentary, pet peeves

PET PEEVE OF THE MONTH: CAR ALARMS

I’m starting a new feature on my blog. Pet Peeve of the Month. I have many pet peeves, though, so this could become a weekly feature. We’ll see.

At first, I couldn’t decide between car stereo subwoofers (maybe this will be Pet Peeve Weekend) or car alarms, because both often jolt me from peaceful slumber, or prevent me falling into peaceful slumber, depending on the time of day. The deciding factor was the fact that it’s trash day and the garbage truck always sets off someone’s sensitively set car alarm.

I don’t remember when the first car alarm was made, but you can read about them here. I can understand a person’s desire to protect their property, but after a couple of decades of beep…beep…beep… woo-ooh, woo-ooh, woo-ooh…screech, screech, screech… are car alarms really effective anymore? Are they a theft deterrent? After counting the seconds or minutes it takes someone to shut off their car alarms when they’ve been triggered, I figure a thief could get in the car and drive away before the owner even discovered it was the real deal. Car alarms are set off by thunder, subwoofers, the garbage truck, or kids playing soccer in the street. It wouldn’t be so bad if alarms were set to go off if someone actually touches the car, but that would be wishful thinking.

We have a neighbor who likes to drive into the complex all hours of the night with the subwoofer cranked and his/her car sets off many car alarms. Maybe he does this for fun. Who knows?

I remember one stormy evening, a neighbor’s car alarm went off with every peal of thunder. After the alarm had gone off five times, one would think Mr. Neighbor would shut the alarm off until the storm passed. No. Not a chance.

Years ago, before Jene’ and I were roommates, she was taken hostage by someone’s car alarm. One weekend someone’s car alarm went off for over a full day until the battery died. The police couldn’t do anything about it because it was legally parked. Jene’ said there were many notes on this guy’s windshield by the time he got back. I should hope so.

Again, I understand the desire to protect personal property, but I don’t think the car alarm is the answer. I personally don’t have a car new enough or fancy enough to have a car alarm, and I haven’t missed it. Granted, if my car were to ever be stolen, I’d be greatly upset, but honestly, if my car alarm went off, what exactly could I do about it?

The car alarm no longer frightens thieves away (if it ever did). Cars now have anti-theft devices and tracking systems. My friend recently had her car stolen (don’t know if it had an alarm or not) but the thief kindly drove back past her house while the crime scene crew was still there. See? Thieves will actually do you a favor and bring the car back to the neighborhood for you.

I don’t think an alarm is a deterrent any more. I think a car alarm is an annoyance that gives car owners a false sense of security. Truthfully, how many people actually run to their windows or out their door to see if their car is indeed being stolen? Most of the time people are frantically searching for their keys so they can turn their alarm off before the neighbors complain or they yawn and pad over to the window and click their alarm off.

A car alarm may deter a teenager trying to steal a car for a joyride, but anyone seasoned in the art of grand theft wouldn’t bat an eyelash. He’d just steal your car and wake up all your neighbors.

Talk back. Car alarms – good or evil?

Posted in pet peeves

SOMEDAY, I’LL LIVE IN A HOUSE

Today is one of those days I covet. I covet my neighbor’s house… literally.

I live in a fairly quiet neighborhood in an older townhome. My neighbors are career people and mostly quiet. If a newbie moves in and disturbs the peace (say, drives in every weekend at 4 a.m. with his stereo on full blast and wakes us all up, or has a party with sustained, extrememly loud noise for over an hour), I know one to five of these neighbors will introduce themselves to the newbie and explain the rules. DO NOT DISTURB. If someone is too noisy in this complex, they don’t last for too long. Occasionally, however, someone moves in and decides the rules do not apply to him.

Let me clarify. It’s one thing to be able to hear someone else’s music… faintly in the distance. It’s not so disturbing. It’s an entirely different issue when I am inside my apartment and I can not only hear the WORDS of the song clearly, but FEEL the music as well. I do not appreciate the latter.

It started at 10:30 a.m. when my windows began to vibrate. I turned on my TV, but had trouble hearing over the thumping music. By noon, I was more than slightly aggrivated as I was trying to eat my cereal with “Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby” assaulting my ears. I’d had enough. I walked out the front door and, usually, the perpetrator is someone who is vacuuming/washing their car with the doors wide open (who obviously don’t understand about accoustics or manners). This time, the parking lot was clear. The music was so loud, however, that it made my head throb. I looked down toward the pool area and could see a group down there, so I called the office. I asked her, very sweetly, when their pool party would be over and she asked, “What pool party?” I explained about the annoyance, and she said I was not the first person to complain and she’d paged the “courtesy officer,” to come take care of it. (apparently, she must have been the phone service that the complex uses when they are out on property or something, read on).

That was at 12:15 p.m. It is now 1:40 p.m. and the noise hasn’t stopped. I’m about to call again. (My guess it’s an apartment near the pool and someone set their stereo speakers in the window to enjoy music poolside. I’ve seen it at other complexes).

When you live in a house, you can play your stereo however loudly you like, and nobody cares. Your neighbor can do the same, and for the most part, unless there’s an open window, you can’t hear his music either. Everybody wins. This is one of many reasons I would love to live in a house.

In an apartment complex, however, people feel entitled to act as if they live in a house. They give no mind to who’s sleep/reading/work, they are disturbing, they feel entitled to enjoy their music with the bass boost up to full volume — whenever they feel like it. EXAMPLES: I once lived in an apartment complex that housed young singles, newlyweds and college students. One floor down and two apartments over… a guy had one of those alarms that get louder if they aren’t shut off and they run for a full two hours. The alarm would go off on the weekends (he didn’t sleep at home on the weekends) at 5:45 a.m. and blast for two hours, disturbing up to twenty people in the surrounding apartments. After coming home Mondays to a door full of nasty notes, he made an effort to turn off his alarm when he went out Friday nights. Another time, same complex, the guy next door had a hot date over and turned his stereo on so loud (so they could hear it in the shower, he said), the bass vibrations knocked a picture off my wall (that barely missed my head when it fell). I went over and pounded on the door (with the broken picture in my hand) and finally, he came to the door and I held up the picture and told him to turn it down. His brow creased, as if to say, “Wow, I didn’t think it was that loud.” The four people who had lined up behind me to complain (including the girl from across the hall) seemed to reinforce my point. Yeah, right. And yet another time, in the same complex, the guys downstairs had guitars… with amps. On the night I was trying to make flight plans at 1 a.m. to get home to see my dying brother, I couldn’t even have a conversation on the phone until after I called the “courtesy officer” to come make them shut up. Forget about trying to sleep in my apartment on weekends.

Apartment dwellers pay attention — until you live in your own house, with your own four walls that are separate and detached from your neighbor’s walls… and you no longer share a floor/ceiling with someone — you are not entitled to share your love of Eminem with all those who live around you, and especially not at 4 a.m. I’m sorry, you have your rights, blah, blah, blah, but not in an apartment complex. In apartment living, you must learn to be CONSIDERATE and to SHARE space with up to a thousand other people. Don’t be arrogant enough to think that the lady next door with the infant son, or the elderly couple across the hall love to feel your music. They don’t. If want to have your “musical freedom” that badly… save your money and buy a house. In the meantime, play nice with others, please.

Okay… that’s my rant. Someday, I will live in a house, but until then…

And, it’s 2:45 and I just called the office again, but this time, the apartment worker on the phone said, “yes! We are having a pool party in appreciation of our residents!” I told her I appreciated that, but asked when it would end. She seemed confused, but said 4 p.m. We’ll have peace and quiet at 4 p.m. This resident didn’t appreciate their pool party, and the other people walking around in the parking lot trying to see where the noise was coming from didn’t either. I’m hoping this will be the last DJ’d pool party.