Monday, September 21, 2009

Car Alarms

My first apartment in Brooklyn was on Avenue U. We were one flight up - no elevator. Everything about that apartment shouted, "Welcome to New York City." Didn't you think so too Mrs. Thompson? Our apartment was tiny, and there were four of us living there. Our bedroom was just large enough to fit two bunk beds and one dresser. The kitchen housed one table, a couple of chairs...and four bikes. Because lucky us, we got to ride bikes in that area. I would sit in the kitchen window fire escape at night when I couldn't sleep.

Directly below our apartment was a bar. Across the street was a funeral parlor. How convenient for when a bar fight got out of control. We especially loved karaoke night.

One night the crowd at the bar was exceptionally rowdy. We, in the apartment one floor above, did our best to sleep, but it was mostly a wasted effort. Little Hermana McKay slept on the top bunk, I on the bottom. I could hear her tossing and turning and mumbling about how she just wanted sleep. I quietly laughed...I was in Brooklyn after all, and I wouldn't have expected anything less than a rowdy bar crowd.

About 1 am a car alarm sounded. Car alarms in NYC are obnoxious to say the least. They rotate through four or five different sounds, and they can go on for hours...this one was no exception. The alarm had been going for well into a half an hour when Hermana McKay jumped down off the bed, and stomped all 90 pounds of herself into the kitchen.

Hermana Madsen, in the other top bunk whispered, "What do you think she's doing?"

Sister Verrue, from the other bottom bunk whispered back, "With McKay, who knows."

We stayed silent for a few minutes while we heard Hna. McKay turn the pages of the phonebook. Finally she spoke. "Yes, I'd like to report a car alarm that won't stop."

The three of us in the bedroom started laughing...quietly of course.

My greenie self knew a few things about Brooklyn and I spoke up. "It's the middle of the night, on a weekend in Brooklyn. I'm guessing the cops have better things to worry about than a car alarm gone haywire."

After being on hold for a while, Hna. McKay slammed the phone down, stomped back into the bedroom, climbed up to her bed, and said, "I hate this place." And with that we drifted off to sleep.

I can't hear a car alarm without thinking of that night. I always laugh.

Our neighbors (who we have never met) have a car alarm that would rival any found in Brooklyn. It seems to always go off when the neighbors are out of town. One night Becca wandered into my bedroom and whined, "Make it stop." And stop it eventually does, but not until the batteries are worn out.

Friday night the alarm sounded...and lasted for an hour Becca reported. (I wasn't home to hear it.) ((Nor were the neighbors...they were out of town again.))

Saturday night the alarm sounded again. Becca was not happy.

After watching half an episode of NCIS to the background tune of the car alarm I went in search of a piece of paper and pen.

I wrote the following note and Becca put it on the windshield of our neighbor's car.

"Dear Neighbor,

Would you be so kind as to either disable your car alarm or shoot the cats that set it off?

Thank you,

Those of us who have to listen to the noise."

I know what you're want me for a next door neighbor...


Tiffany said...

I think your experience in Brooklyn has made you more tolerant. I probably would have shot the neighbor's car by now.

Once, while studying for an anatomy exam, I was caught shooting a b-b gun at some birds in our backyard trees. They wouldn't hush up and I had sooo much memorizing to do. My neighbor was semi appalled. Of course, no birds were injured during my rampage but some flew away and the rest shut it.

I think you'd be the perfect neighbor. I've got some notes I'd love you to write. ;-)

Sandra said...

Want to write my note for me, because I haven't done it yet. And I would be happy to trade neighbors. Wanna?

Noelle said...

Sandra, I'm afraid what I would say to your neighbors wouldn't be very Christian. I have thought about that guy since I read your blog.

What a jerk!!!

Kristie said...

In my 1st NY apartment the bedroom ceiling was too low for bunk beds. So, we had 2 beds & a dresser & still couldn't close the door. (don't ask why we had dog hair in our kitchen sink every morning.) I couldn't sleep for a month because of the nightly parties & car alarms. 18 months later, I couldn't sleep because it was too quiet.

My vote is shoot the cats. I know that will get me dirty looks from the HSUS people, but I live down the street & am sick of the cats putting their dirty little paw prints all over my car.

Sandra said...

Kristie-I am totally a cat person. Just ask the two fuzzies sitting at my feet now. But even I have threatened to cut off their tail behind their ears!

Mary said...

you're right. I have two dogs that are very friendly and I have enough people that don't care for them.

The car alarms in Brooklyn didn't bother me. It was all of the cars that seemed to backfire a lot. At least that's what I thought. A comp. filled me in that those were gun shots. I grew up in a small town where guns sounded like guns. I had shot them and went hunting. Those noises did NOT sound like guns. If so, they were pitiful ones.

Lani said...

Ugh, to car alarms AND cats:) But you know, I can't remember the last time I actually heard a car alarm... but I probably just jinxed myself and now I will again:)
Thanks for offering to help with my fundraiser! I am planning to do a "Blog For a Cure" Blog Party in the near future- so I will keep you posted!

Karen said...

Oh, good ol' Brooklyn. That story made me smile all the way to my bones. I miss the idiosyncrasies of NYC. :)

Amy said...

I DO want you for my neighbor, that way my OTHER neighbors would either shoot the annoying cats or disable their alarms (because ignoring your note is simply not an option).

Poor Becca. I cringe every time I have to endure a car alarm for more than 37 seconds. They make me batty.

Also, the picture in my head of you sitting on the fire escape (VERY New York) is why I wanna live there...just for a minute someday. You're so cool.

Mr. Thompson and Me said...

This is my favorite post by far. For a few reasons....

1. That was my first apartment in NYC too.

2. Let's not forget the post office which had the higher security than a jail. That's where talking through glass became the norm.

3. Verue and I once sat on the "balcony" (aka: fire escape) and laughed at a bar fight which became a street brawl. I'll never forget laughing hysterically from the hair extensions which kept getting pulled out.

4. Did you ever realize that I'm the one who got your bike stolen? It's true. It was yours. Mann and I chased the guy all the way down the street....

I love Brooklyn. Its heaven on earth.

Debbie Gardner said...

You have lived a great life! I love reading your stories.