Saturday, October 25, 2008


Y'know, a few weeks ago I thought my neighborhood was in for a major annoyance. I got home from work and fed the cats as usual. As I was policing the cats and making sure that each stuck to his or her own bowl I heard a loud "DOOP!" from somewhere outside. Then again.

My first thought was that the neighbor's adult teenage son (a thirty-something who lives upstairs with Ma and Pa so that he has more money for Lexuses with twenty-something inch chrome rims and stereo equipment that can be heard two blocks away) was home in said Lexus. Maybe he had a new CD. But it wasn't. It was hardly rhythmic at all.

Then it went on. "doop-a-thock.. Doop-thock.. doop-a-thock.. Doop-thock.." It continued for ten or fifteen seconds with the broken rhythm of an infant taking his first steps. Then it stopped. A minute or two later it started again. Then it stopped just as quickly. This continued for a while as I discovered which house the arhythmic thumping was coming from, but I decided not to let it annoy or upset me. After all, every musician has to start from the beginning. Still, I had visions of late night jam sessions- the neighborhood
tossing and turning. Then it stopped. Nice and early.

A week or two later, the evening thumping commenced. To my surprise, the previously choppy and awkward beats were now replaced by more fluid and sustained beats. But not only that.. There was also a bass guitar. They played what might even have passed for music. They enjoyed themselves for a while. Then they stopped. Nice and early.

Last night the garage band started up once again. The duo had apparently become a trio with the addition of a guitar. The beats coming through the closed windows were complex and driving. Someone had been practicing.

Out of curiousity, I stepped out to the patio and pulled up a chair, and quickly found myself grooving to the music. These guys weren't half bad. I heard a dash of Neal Peart here and there along with a smidge of Les Claypool now and again to keep things interesting. Between the shrubs colored lights flashed off and on. After several minutes, the song ended to howls of glee. A "Yee-haw" came from another direction. An apparently sarcastic mocking gesture. Suddenly I felt self conscious. I was not the only one listening. Worse, I was not just a bystander, I was a nosy eavesdropper. Would the musicians look out and are me sitting alone on my patio and take me for the mocking listener? I sat quietly and they went right on with what they were doing. Well maybe listening to a garage band rehearse two doors down with their amps set to eleven can't be considered eavesdropping. It still felt like a guilty pleasure. Then it stopped. Nice and early.


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