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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Car Stereo Etiquette

I won't belabor this one. I could talk about it all day.

But it just came to mind again 'cause last night someone dropped off my next door neighbor, and the dropper offer's stereo was booming as he approached. You could hear it a block away.

By the time he pulled into my neighbor's driveway, my windows were rattling. Then, to add insult to injury, he sat there in the car for a minute...with the stereo still cranked up. Maybe it was a good song that he wanted to hear the end of. I don't know. I've lingered in the car before to catch the end of a song.

Anyway, there are common sense rules to this music thing. I enjoy a good tune as much as the next person while driving. In fact, if you see me on the highway bobbing my head in my Jeep and flapping my gums, I'm probably not on a cellphone headset. I'm probably singing along to something.

But when you're driving into or through a residential neighborhood, turn it down. It ain't that complicated. Just ask yourself how you would react if you got rattled suddenly and things started vibrating their way off your coffee table because of a passing car. If you were on the phone and had to apologize to the other person and get up and walk into another room that was better sound insulated. If you were watching TV and missed that killer line of dialogue.

It's not the most serious violation in the world, but it is an annoyance. So, like I wrote a while back, consider that residential street like an airport runway. You know how the pilot says to put up your seat back and your tray upon final approach? Well, when you're on that final approach home turn down the volume. And when you "take off" again, or get outside the boundaries of the 'hood and onto a main thoroughfare turn it back up if you want. But that volume rule applies to outdoor commercial areas too. No one eating or drinking or shopping outside wants to hear your favorite song.


  • James, I think you're being slightly fogety. Crotchety. Grown-up like a man with socks and sandals. This may sound a little harsh, but hear me out here. One from the Bottom makes this presumption--"Not only does everyone outside my car want to hear what I'm bumping, they want to bump along, too." This is Miami and while there are some that get annoyed with a loud booming stereo(especially when you do it at 4 am coming in from the club), many people have a love/ hate relationship with bass.

    Let me take you back to the idyllic halcyon days of 1985 when the Miami bass/electrofunk era was in full boom. Back then, you couldn't get woofers off the shelf, so you stole them from your dad's stereo speakers that he stopped using when quadrophonic sound was proven to be of little use unless Pink Floyd was your favorite artist. You know the speakers that he put in the garage when your little brother came along and there was no room. You jacked out the woofers, opened the door to your red dome light and Playboy air freshener speakers in your Monte Carlo with the redone ragtop roof (to replace the faded vinyl one), spare tire kit on the trunk, and wire spoke rims, took out the backseat, cut a hole and hooked 'em up.

    Suddenly it was like one of those flatbeds in a Caribbean parade. Boom for miles. The rust under the ragtop rattled; the tire kit shook, the rearview mirror fell off. Egyptian Lover screamed "And my beat goes boom, boom-boom, bo-boom, boom" MC ADE had the sound of a jet engine taking off and screamed "MIAMI" in the background to a bottom drop of epic proportions. Why do you think that a girl performing Miami bootyshake looks like that? It ain't because nobody could hear the music from your car. It's a direct result.

    I can't tell you the number of jump starts I gave after batteries were drained by Shy D, Gigolo Tony, 2 Live Crew, Magic Mike, DJ Laz, Wreckx-n-Effect, Run DMC (Crush Groove 3, Peter Piper or Run's House--don't sleep)--it's why you still hear heavy boom in music today. Miami perfected that vision of disturbing the peace through bass.

    So before you give the car stereos and their owners a bad rap (and I understand--a working man does not like to be awaken by boom and loud chatter outside the m-f-in' window, you little no-account jitterbug! Turn that sh*t down!!!), please at least acknowledge Miami's contribution to the world of music and entertainment.
    "Kick it over here baby pop!/And to all the fly skeezers/Feel the beat/MMMMMMM-Drrrop!!!!"

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 6:22 PM  

  • You know certain Cities and Counties have laws against noise pollution.

    By Blogger Andy, at 3:38 PM  

  • I hear the airhorn has made a large contribution to the stadium scene. Remember this when I start using one in front of your place at 3am. Don't start giving airhorns and their users a bad rap, HOOOOOOONK!

    By Anonymous ChrisA, at 10:09 PM  

  • They do that round our way too. Not that we live anywhere that quiet, just relatively so. But, obnoxiously noisy as they are, they do drive on &, eventually, out of earshot.

    What really gets me is the local residents who, often at 2am on a hot summer night, still think that you really want to listen to their party favourites. & sometimes even closing the (double glazed) windows doesn't do much to dampen the noise, just puts up the temperatures.

    Hey ho, that'll be the next thing round here - once all the students get their exams out of the way.

    No, folks, what I want to do at 2am any night is sleep.

    By Anonymous Bronchitikat, at 7:51 AM  

  • Great blog!
    I really enjoyed looking over your last post. Pet peeve #1 - People with a cellphone plastered to their ear while trying to drive. Don't they realize all they have to do is go to www.bluetoothbargains.comwireless cellphone headset get a wireless cellphone headset and make driving alot easier for all of us. Soon laws will require it! Well, keep the great posts coming and I'll be back to check it out.

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