The Neighbor and the Techno

Now that I've moved to Milwaukee it's safe to tell this story.

My former neighbor, whom I'll simply call "Neighbor," was not what you might call the "communicative" type. If I said "hello," he would do a double-take and then say, surprised, "Hello." If I didn't say hello, he would just walk awkwardly past me.

And the woman that he lived with, she was even worse. I once saw her outside, turned to her to say hello, and she literally turned and ran in the other direction. (Needless to say I didn't miss her when she moved out. It took me months to notice.)

Neighbor had an affection for techno. Really bad techno. Of all the music types in the world, you'd think that there would be enough of it that he would find some good techno when he'd start playing it at, oh, 7:10 in the morning.

But he didn't.

I don't know that he played anything new. He certainly didn't play any GOOD techno, and I wished to all that is good that I could have knocked on his door and made some recommendations...

I also don't know if he perhaps composed it himself. (No comment.)

It was really annoying, but not that bad, if I played my own music at a regular volume I couldn't hear it anymore. No problem! Sometimes you just gotta deal with the neighbors, especially if you're staying for a while.

Except when this happens:

It was a Monday and I was practicing for the Les Nuits d'été concert with the Mesabi Symphony. It was lunchtime and I had exactly one hour to practice before I had to get on the road to drive to Northern Minnesota to rehearse and then turn around and drive back.

I warmed up and starting running through the songs, concentrating on the texts which I found hard. I sang through the first song, the second...and then it started.


No...he didn't...


Oh, yes he did...


Neighbor was obviously annoyed with my practicing and had turned up his techno so loud I could BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM barely concentrate.

"Well, then," I thought. "I accept your challenge!"

And I sang through the rest of the pieces, using the horrible techno BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM as a challenge for memorization and tempo (which is really difficult, btw).

And when I was done, Neighbor was still playing the techno.


And I thought about it like I do when very religious folk show up at my door uninvited and start asking me very personal questions--I ask them very personal questions right back.

I decided "He's playing really loud techno specifically to disrupt my practicing. So I'll disrupt his techno playing." BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM

So I calmly walked over to my trusty old AIWA stereo that had been made in the 90s when people still made quality products that lasted. I swiftly turned the speakers to the wall so the walls would catch as much vibration as possible and I turned the stereo on; it was still at a low volume, perhaps level 8 of 30. BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM

I turned the radio to 93X, which plays a lot of Metallica and other sorts of rock. And as luck would have it, they were playing Weezer's "Sweater Song."

And I turned the volume up. Up, up, up she went! Louder and louder came out




Gleefully I danced around the living room, content with my choice of station and the delightful chance that 93X was playing one of my favorite songs--and an awesomely LOUD song.

And it was still at the beginning of the song! "Thank you, 93X!" I yelled out, completely drowned out by the radio.

I danced some more, letting the stress melt out of my muscles.

When the song finished 93X went on to their next piece of programming and I thought, "OK, I'll turn the volume down now." I listened.



No more techno.

In fact, that was no more loud techno period. After this fateful day, there was no more disrupting of the practicing by the Neighbor and the Techno.

When I moved, I took my awesome AIWA stereo with me.


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