Dave walked from window to window, peering out in a futile attempt to find the source of the noise. “Where is it coming from?” he puzzled, craning his neck out the deck door. I could hear it too – voices, loud talking, laughter, and frequent, ear-piercing high-pitched shrieks and screams. Mostly shrieks and screams, to be honest. It was driving us crazy.
Earlier in the evening, we drowned out the cacophony with a super-loud episode of Orange is the New Black. (So different from the book, but still awesome.) But we were done with TV for the night, downshifting into Just Before Bed mode in front of our computers. And our computers are situated in our dining room, next to an open window right by all the screaming.
Dave hissed, “I can’t see anything. They aren’t in the backyard, or up on their deck; I even went downstairs and looked through that window to check.” I listened for a moment, then said, “That’s definitely the little kids next door. I would recognize their screams anywhere.”
All summer long, we’ve been listening to these kids (probably about 5 and 8 years old, give or take a year) scream and shriek. They don’t seem to be capable of being outside without screaming all the time, right by our windows. (If not in the backyard next to our dining room window, then on the sidewalk in front of our house, so we can hear them screaming while we watch TV.) We never say anything, of course. Kids will be kids, and these aren’t bad kids…just the noisiest kids we’ve ever heard.
During the day it’s aggravating but not a big deal; I’ve kind of gotten used to the constant shrieking, kind of like hearing a dog bark all day long. But last night was an anomaly; it was fairly late for little kids, almost 10:30 at this point. It really sounded like the whole family was having a big, rollicking party in the back yard. Hence Dave’s amazement that nobody seemed to be out there, at least that he could see. There weren’t even a bunch of cars in the driveway to indicate extra people at the house. All he saw was the lights shining brightly from the interior.
We finished up our computering (Candy Crush Saga Level 160, whoo!!) and headed off to our bedroom, on the other end of the house. By this point, one of my CI batteries had died so I was down to one ear, and I could still hear the shrieks and piercing screams perfectly in our bedroom. It sounded like they were on OUR deck, or just under our bedroom window. I checked the rest of the neighboring yards, in case someone else seemed to be having a party, and all the yards were dark. (Apparently we aren’t the only non-partiers in our neighborhood, heading to bed by 10:45 on a Saturday night.)
I felt bad for Dave, who still has some hearing when he takes off his hearing aid. Isn’t that a weird thing to say? Usually I’m bemoaning all that I don’t hear without my CIs (um, that would be everything) and here I am, feeling sorry for Dave because he still has some natural hearing. All I had to do, though, was slip that other CI off my ear and BOOM…total silence. It was like someone slapped duct tape over every mouth next door. (What? No, I haven’t fantasized about doing that…who, me?!)
After Dave took off his hearing aid, I asked if he could still hear them. I knew how loud it still was, even on the other end of the house and hearing out of just one ear, so I figured he could. He claimed it was fine and not bad once he had his hearing aid out. And I gave thanks that I have this unique ability to go from silence to sound at my choosing. It’s one of the few benefits of being deaf and having cochlear implants.
This morning, Dave looked bleary-eyed and said he didn’t want to take our usual early AM walk. “I think I twisted my back somehow, when I was sleeping. Who knew sleeping could be so dangerous?! And man, I gotta tell you, those kids were screaming for hours last night.” He yawned and continued, “But I swear, they weren’t outside. I think they were actually in their house, in the lower level with the patio door open. I looked and looked, and never saw anybody outside.”
So it was a mystery, our late-night shriekfest. Dave is hopeful that, since school is starting later this month, the evening parties (or whatever it was) will die down. I figure that if they keep it up, one of the other neighbors will call the cops on them. (It won’t be us, especially since I can turn off the noise if it gets too bad, but the neighbor on the other side of us isn’t so generous.)
Summer is filled with loud noises, especially since we have our windows open. If it isn’t screaming kids, then it’s lawn equipment, motorcycles, train whistles – you name it. I’m glad that I’m not forced to listen to this noise pollution if I don’t want to.
After we finished breakfast today, I heard someone start up a loud, whining piece of equipment outside. It sounded like a leaf/grass blower; I especially hate those. I smiled at Dave and said, “Looks like this is a good time to take my shower.” And I slipped off my CIs and went happily into the silence.