Noise pollution

“Turn it down.” Scott’s face loomed as my door swung open.

“I had that closed.”

“We can hear you in the kitchen.”

“Yeah, Mom, it’s too loud.” Caroline poked her head under her father’s elbow.

“You’re only complaining because it’s heavy metal. If I had the Beatles up, you’d be in here dancing.”

“You’ve got Beatles? I want the Beatles!” Sam joined the fray with enthusiasm unreasonable for someone who should have been zoned out in front of the TV.

I clicked around until my desk stopped shaking with the gunshots of “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You.”

Scott rubbed the back of his head. “Look, honey, I know you need to drown the house noise out so you can write, but there’s got to be a volume loud enough for you that doesn’t attack our skulls.”

“Or you could use earphones, Mom, like you make me do.”

“I think she just called me a hypocrite.”

Sam wormed past Scott and into the room.  “I like hippos. Do you have a hippo song?”

“Not hippo, Sam, hypo… oh never mind. It was just AC/DC. It’s not like I was blasting Nine Inch Nails.” We have an agreement about Nine Inch Nails.

“I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.”

“Stop! Stop! I’ll put on something else.”

“Beatles! Beatles!” Sam hopped on one foot.

“Or David Bowie.” Caroline wedged past Scott to bring her whole body into the office. “I want to hear ‘I’m Afraid of Americans.’”

“Ooo, I could do that! That one has Nine Inch Nails on it, too. Bonus!” Our agreement doesn’t cover collaborations.

“No!” Sam was adamant. “That one’s boring! And you had David Bowie on for hours last night when I wanted to sleep.”

“Fifteen minutes is not hours.”

“And I want the Beatles.”

“Yeah, but I really did have the Beatles on for hours yesterday. What’s wrong with AC/DC?”

“What’s wrong with turning it down?”  Scott’s voice was largely lost under the tumult of our children’s protests.

“Mom, you promised to play ‘I’m Afraid of Americans’”.

“I like ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road!’”

“The Black Keys!” I held up an arm for silence.

“Yeah! Lonely Boy!”

“Gold on the Ceiling! If I can’t have the Beatles, I want Gold on the Ceiling!” Sam stretched up like he thought he could get to the gold right then.

“Both! I’ll put it all on!”

Scott turned and walked out of the room. “I’m going out back.” He pointed over his own shoulder.

“Wait a minute. If you leave, how am I supposed to get any writing done?”

“Let me know when you turn it down, and I’ll come inside again.”

“Come on, Mom! Put them on! He’s missing the dance party.”

“Two songs. Two songs and then I’ll put on headphones. Mommy needs to get back to work.”

“And,” Scott’s voice floated down the hall, “Our next computer will not have a subwoofer. I’m tired of having this conversation twice a week.”

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About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Noise pollution — 48 Comments

  1. I have been really busy this summer, dealing with the cacophony and chaos of blending a family (and we are slowly gaining a routine), but I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy every piece you write though I don’t comment as much as I should. Tonight has been rough, so the opportunity to snort out loud at the computer with a subwoofer really made my day.

    Whatever you do, please never stop writing. Your household antics are as golden as your fiction.

    • You’re absolutely sweet, and I understand COMPLETELY about being stretched too thin. My comments are down on other people’s blogs, my comment replies are down on my own blog, and if these children don’t go back to school soon, I will surely fall over and die. Tell me more about your blended family when you get a chance. That sounds so beautiful and hopeful and worthwhile that the stress will hopefully all be worth it.

    • I love the Beatles. I can absolutely respect Sam’s desire that I should put them on at every juncture. Not that I can always comply, mind…

    • Oh God – I had NO MUSIC when we lived in apartments. It was horrible. I didn’t dare turn it on, because I can’t tell what you can hear through the walls, and I was terrified someone would hear the music and be furious and report me tomanagement.

  2. i love this. by the end of this piece, i wanted to put the headphones on myself and drown out everyone eles’s demands. nicely done.

    • Yes – it’s about the only thing that drives me under them. I hate them. They hurt my head and my ears and spoil my love of the songs.

  3. Hahahaha! I love this piece! Although, I’m with your husband on this one — I get stressed out by loud volume on anything, so I walk around our home from room to room in an endless circuit of turning things down because the instant I head elsewhere, everyone turns stuff up…

  4. It’s funny because although I’ve come to expect an unexpected twist at the end of your stories – I can never guess ahead of time what it’ll be. A computer with a subwoofer? You rock!

    • It’s an interesting possession. I didn’t hook it up at first. And when I did, I was suddenly like, “Woah! Shoulda done this YEARS ago!!”

  5. Hee hee! This was a riot to read! Love the Beatles AND David Bowie AND The Black Keys. Ard to choose! Love Scott’s exit and could that pic of Sam be any cuter? So what got played. I blare, too!

    • Scott’s good at accidentally leaving a conversation on the perfect line. Makes my job SO easy. I have a ton of hilarious pictures of Sam. the family want their kids to all act perfect in photos. I go for the silly goofy ones first so I can hope for the angelic ones later. Also, this is better than anything angelic he might have pulled off.

  6. Had no idea computers came with subwoofers! Will have to get myself one of those. Hilarious post!

    • We came into it by accident, by failing to uncheck a box. And then I didn’t remember to send it back. And now I’m in LURVE.

  7. I’m usually the fuddy duddy asking my husband to turn it down. He’s always blasting his rock crap in the morning and I’m like “Can I get a coffee first!” Sigh. Although it does sound like your kids have a good grasp of many different styles of music which is awesome! I hope you got writing done!

    • I drive down the road alone shaking the car. I have no idea how bipolar people didn’t all turn into homicidal maniacs before heavy metal. Oh. Wait. Yes I do. Rachmanninoff. Whose name I can’t spell. But anything with pounding piano or … Tchaikovsky 1812 overture … Prokofiev … Mahler. That’s how. My other true love is classical. Also loud.

  8. I’m your husband and you’re my husband and my girls – the louder the better! I love that you’re such a cool mama and I really enjoy your writing. Great piece!

    • That’s the spirit. Let’s ROCK in the USA in my OFFICE. Also, I can bang the keyboard in time to the music. I feel lost if I can’t keep up with the drums, which kind of enforces the need to just write without interruption.

  9. Ha! This sounds a lot like the conversations at my house (though my 16 mo just points and grunts a lot, but don’t be fooled, she has plenty of opinions on song choice!). Loved it – thanks for the smiles!

    • Yes! They DO have opinions about music at that age. Oh GOD they do. I have this video of Caroline eating. She’s about 9 months old, sitting up in the high chair, and she ignores the food, twists and just does everything to escape until the CD player comes on. So it’s this soundtrack of dinner, and Walk of Life is still one of her favorite songs.

    • Yes! I just want a day to do things ALL MY WAY without having to justify it for the masses. That line where Han Solo says “I don’t have time to put it up for committee feels so true at my house.”

  10. I’m fortunate in that both menfolk pretty much leave me alone when I want to write, or are gone out of the house. Good for them too because neither of them like my music.

    • I had always imagined marrying someone who shared my taste in music. And Scott does, to a degree. But he’s happy to listen to an album once ever. He’s happy to hear the radio a couple of minutes in the car. I would be content to have music always. As long as it was music I liked. God help bad musicians in my presence.

  11. The only good thing about my commute is that I get 3 hours a day to listen to whatever music I want.

    This had a nice clip to the writing. Very believable dialogue.

    • Thanks Frelle! My kids come from a long line of people-opinionated-about-music. And I KNOW I put my parents through this. But do they have to start at FIVE? Shouldn’t at least SAM be passive? (of course not. I wasn’t!!)

  12. LOL. I can totally relate to this.

    When I was in High School, we had a Desktop computer that had major, major subwoofers. (I don’t know why but they were much bigger than the stereo system we had in the living room, lol)

    So, anyway, sometimes when I’d be doing homework, my brother insists that I put on some Music, which, by his definition means blasting Hip Hop tunes that literally makes the walls vibrate. I hated it! LOL

    • It was probably a gaming computer! Or supposed to be one! I just love music so loud that it has a physical presence in a room. Of course, giant hiphop might not be my definition of something I could work to. I might need to dance instead.

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  14. Oh, darling… I absolutely love this. As a fellow music fan, I can’t tell you enough how awesome I think it is that your family argues about what to play next. These are the discussions I used to have with my family growing up (it was always a choice between Dire Straits, Beatles, Supertramp, or Bob Marley) and I hope one day to have similar conversations with my own kiddies. So happy to read your writing today. You are a great storyteller! XOXO

    • In my house it absolutely ran the gamut. Mom loved Sam N Dave and Crosby Stills & Nash. Dad was into AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. And really, we all enjoyed everything in between. These are the best arguments to have!

  15. This is too cute!! 🙂 I need lyric-less music to write, like Daft Punk. Or Jazz. My son doesn’t mind yet, but I bet when he’s older, we’ll have arguments like this one! 😀

    • Amusingly, I was trying to write while playing music with my son perched behind me crushing himself into the chair when this comment came through!