Our neighborhood has been terrorized by a motorcycle rider for the last couple months. He has a Honda crotch rocket with a modified exhaust I can hear a mile and a half off.
I know you guys with the Trump flags in the back of your rigs think you are annoying me, but I can shrug at your silly efforts. This guy woke me up with his 120-decibel staccato. That is annoying.
We talked about it, me and Martha. Should I go knock on his door? He rents down the hill; I know the house. Absentee landlord who used to live here five years back but now just rents to whoever and doesn’t care about the neighborhood.
I thought about just calling the cops. Complain to the officials is the way, right? I even took the effort to look up the code. The Idaho legislature has had the foresight to put into Idaho law that modified exhaust on motor vehicles beyond factory and decibel allowances is illegal. I wonder, what does the Idaho Freedom Foundation think about the freedom to blast noise into my neighborhood? Maybe they will let me know about this freedom.
We kept listening to the BRAAAH as he came up the hill for the last couple months.
But last night after dinner I was out on my porch, and I could hear him coming more than a mile away. So, I did what any young person would do, I got my phone out, put it on video as I walked out to my driveway and stood there recording his climb up the hill.
He saw me as he rounded the curve and throttled down. He was only about 90 decibels as he went by, but he circled and stopped. He waved me over and flipped up his visor.
We were going to have a conversation.
That’s what needs to happen. Conversations about our differences might bring us together. Why should the annoyance we project have to be the substance? There are so many more important issues to consider.
The motorbike rider and I did not discuss school funding or gun rights. We did not argue about abortion or immigration. Maybe we should have. We all should. Instead, we are trying to annoy, poke the buttons on the sensitive spots of those we think we hate. How silly.
He and I talked about his noisy motorcycle and keeping the peace in our neighborhood.
It got difficult.
We too often avoid these difficult conversations. It is unwise to go into any negotiation thinking you have the same goal or even frame as the person you are talking to. But we need to listen and respond.
He apologized for the noise. I appreciated that.
I asked him when he would get it fixed. He demurred.
I pointed out to him his motorcycle was in violation of the law. He argued and I showed him the law.
But this is where our laws on paper meet the reality of how we live.
And it’s also why the laws we have on paper in our Idaho statutes are so valuable.
I told my neighbor, if he didn’t get his exhaust fixed, I was going to complain to the police: file a complaint.
We have all these laws on our books, but the cops can’t go around enforcing everything. So much is complaint driven.
I remember a cop car stopping in front of our house twenty years back and telling us we had to get rid of the red poppies along our lower retaining wall. We talked. I think he decided we weren’t harvesting heroin.
But I haven’t filed a complaint about my neighbor’s motorcycle yet.
This morning he went down the alley on idle as he went off to work. He didn’t disturb me. But maybe those alley folks got jarred out of sleep. Will they complain? Should I?
We should be good neighbors. Unless our goal is to annoy those around us. Then we need the law.