October 14, 2003

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

In all honesty, what do you do when you hear a car alarm? Do you run to the window to see if a thief is about? Do you dial 911 to report a car vandalization in progress?
Or do you cuss a bloody blue streak at the stupid bonehead who thought a car alarm with the sensitivity of a newly-sunburnt nipple was a good idea?

Me too. I didn't even realize I knew words like that.

Take this afternoon, for instance:
It was a chain reaction of the kind that Rube Goldberg might have designed were he a crackhead.
First, a huge SUV decided to stop dead in the middle of our little street so the driver could get out, heedless of traffic backing up behind him, to survey the dinky little parking space he hoped to parallel into. So Ms. VolvoSoccerMom in queue behind him leans on her horn. Big Daddy SUV takes umbrage at this, and typical driver negotiations begin: He flips her the bird, she honks again louder and longer, he flips a two-handed bird and calls her a bitch, upon with she gets out of her car and kicks his beloved monster car in the bumper.

If I ever sell tickets to my balcony, I could make a fortune.

Big Daddy SUV initiates launch codes and throws his Starbucks cup at Ms. VSM. He throws like a little girl. The cup takes a bad wind spin and bounces off a 1985 p.o.s. Nissan Sentra.
And the alarm chain begins.

Apparently there is something in the sonic range of a screeching alarm such as the Nissan sports that sets off the hair-trigger alarm in the nearly Toyota, that bellowing whoop whoop kicking off the nasal "neep neep neep" of the Volkswagen Jetta, which woke up the baby across the street who shrieks like a cat being barbeque'd, that aural holocaust tripping the circuits on the rusted-out Jeep, which Jeepishly whimpers in a variation of dog-whistle tones, making the poodle the next building over have some kind of psychotic break.

I was the only person who took any notice of any of this. A UFO-load of bug-eyed aliens from Planet Moomba could zoom up and down our street, randomly loading up beeping, squawking vehicles left, right and center, and not one person would take notice.

So tell me, Mr. and Mrs. Paranoid Auto Owner and all the ships at sea: why in the name of all that's unholy do you even HAVE a car alarm? Was there a sale at Annoyances R Us? Did the alarm salesperson tell you the fable about the cow, the magic beans, and the increased value of an armed car? Or do you just hate me?
I know you do.

In the meanwhile, in the midst of all the honk und drang, Big Daddy SUV and Ms. VolvoSoccerMom settled their differences in the standard way, by screaming insults about each other's dubious parentage and peeling rubber off on their disrespective ways.
I love a happy ending.

Posted by LeeAnn at October 14, 2003 02:27 PM

Sometimes humans really make me hate humanity.


Posted by: David Strain at October 14, 2003 04:14 PM

I totally empathize. I live right under the landing pattern for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and across the street from a college parking lot. Every time a big jet goes over, several car alarms go off. Gotta learn to tune it all out if you hope to stay sane around here!

Posted by: Carol Andrus at October 14, 2003 04:26 PM

I think humans should have to pass tests to own things like car alarms and stereos and dogs.
And tanks. Absolutely, there should be some kind of testing for tanks.

Posted by: LeeAnn at October 14, 2003 05:17 PM

Ah, the sweet sounds of the urban nightengale. How softly do they waft me off to sleep ...

I have a friend who kept talking about wanting to get a Nathan 5-Chime horn from a diesel locomotive so he could rig it in his car just for that sort of moment. It was all beer talk, but it amused him.

Ted K.

Posted by: Ted K. at October 14, 2003 08:30 PM

"Newly Sunburnt Nipple" Great name for a blog. Sticking to the cheese thing, it could also be "Newly Sunburnt Swiss Nipple," or "Newly Grilled Shredded Cheddar Nipple."

Pay no mind. This was clearly a brain fart.

Posted by: Parkway Rest Stop at October 14, 2003 08:44 PM

Newly Sunburnt SWiss Nipple... sounds either like a punk band or a new lipstick color.

Posted by: LeeAnn at October 14, 2003 10:02 PM

'Newly sunburnt nipple'...rotflmao and choking!!
Oh. My. God. Too funny...

Posted by: Stevie at October 14, 2003 10:58 PM

Y'all shouldn't be so critical of people. After all it's only 99.9783% of humanity that gives the rest of us a bad rep.

Posted by: Publicola at October 15, 2003 02:33 AM


You speak the truth.

Come on over to my place then for some fresh, non-critical, non-judgemental blogging.

Posted by: Anna at October 15, 2003 04:12 AM

The guy two doors down has old fashioned glass-paks installed in his pickup so it roars like a dragster. And every time he rev's his engine, it sets off the alarm of his neighbors car. Clockwork. People make me pro-nuclear.

Posted by: Ted at October 15, 2003 05:40 AM

Don't you think you're (ahem) over-radio-acting a bit? :)

Posted by: Publicola at October 15, 2003 05:47 AM

All of you are guilty of making coffee go up my nose. All of you.
Creamer tickles.

Posted by: LeeAnn at October 15, 2003 06:02 AM

I has a car alarm on my 1978 Chevy Impalea what will go off if a pissant lifts its rear leg within 10 feet of the vehicle. It sucks gettin up at 3AM and spending a half hour turning the alarm off and finding the damn pissant, but on the other hand no one has ever successfully stole my car dammit.

Posted by: Richard Eugoude at October 15, 2003 08:43 AM

The other night, I saw some lady sitting in a car - in the passenger seat - obviously waiting for the driver to return. The car was off & parked.

Apparently, the alarm set itself automatically.

She opened the door & all hell broke loose.

Poor thing - it wasn't her car & she wasn't quite sure how to turn it off or what to do!

Posted by: TwiddlyBits at October 15, 2003 09:11 AM

Just for balance, I had a nice car alarm experience at Heathrow's long term parking. I had arrived early AM and the bus dropped me off at the kiosk to start wandering around looking for my car. Just then a Concord came over for a landing, reverberating the air like nothing I've experienced. This set off at least a dozen or so car alarms which by comparison reminded me of so many small birds chirping away in the hopes that the giant Concord would drop a tasty tidbit their way. The one and only time I've stood and stared in actual appreciation of car alarms.

Posted by: orangebob at October 15, 2003 01:47 PM

Testing for tanks! Tanks! Why, why, why... !

Next you'll want testing for artillery, too!

You haven't seen my basement.

Or mebbe you have...

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at October 15, 2003 05:32 PM

At our old place in Miramar, there was a mocking bird nesting in one of the trees.
Among his MANY tunes - an owl, crow, dove, whiporwil (or however it's spelled), he would sing a *car alarm* chirp pattern, just short of the ear splitting screeches that a lot of them make. He varied his medley, so I always had to listen carefully to determine if it was the bird or an actual car alarm.

Posted by: Greg at October 15, 2003 09:01 PM


I work at a Naval air station.... we put out at least two launches a day, and some times better than twenty. Those jets take off in the early morning and the entire parking lot next to the run way starts to look and sound like some kind of alien disco-- lights flashing, alarms going off... all totally without a human nearby.

Posted by: Sailorette at October 19, 2003 04:17 PM