I can feel it.
Bit by bit, year by year, I’m slowly turning into that funny little man with the red earmuffs from the tv series GET SMART – Albert J. Pfister (the ‘P’ is silent).
Pfister was the fanatical anti-noise campaigner who determined the only way to eliminate the noise of the world was to eliminate the world itself.
Pfister developed the silent explosive NITROWHISPERIN. His other inventions included a very quiet shotgun, a silent phonograph record, sound-absorbing wood and a cuckoo clock which Max described as having laryngitis.
Yep, this little gnome-like man was determined to silence a noisy world.
And so it appears am I.
Regular readers will remember my skirmish back last year with the organisers of ParkRun (HERE) That difference of opinion centred on the disputed right of some runners to inflict their over-amplified music on others by deliberately choosing not to wear earphones. The jury’s still out on who came out on top in that one.
Now the war drums are sounding again.
This time there’s a canine involved. A barking canine. A late-at-night barking canine. A will-not-stop-for-anyone-late at night barking canine.
Weird thing is it’s not the neighbour’s dog.
And when I say ‘neighbour’ I mean left, right, opposite or behind.
It’s not even from anywhere in our street.
Nor anywhere from the next street along.
Believe it or not the source of all the noise is a dog that’s chained up in it’s back yard on a three metre leash in a street 500 metres away! Living pretty much opposite a large public park that at night-time collects and amplifies noise like the Grand Canyon has its disadvantages and I believe I may have just found one of them. Or, better said, this un-neighbourly ‘wide-open-space’ megaphone echo-effect has found me. Tracked me if you like.
About 10:30pm the other night I was on high alert while manning the single-person operation I have dubbed Neighbourhood Noise Watch. I’d been unable to sleep due to fear of losing count of the number of barks coming from somewhere outside in the darkness (I stopped counting at 158 and the continuous ‘bow-wow’ had already been in full swing for at least 20 minutes prior to that).Closing our front door gently behind me, I headed off on my search in a pair of thongs, bathed in moonlight while a gentle night breeze caressed my face. I felt like a cross between some kind of late-night vigilante and the local neighbourhood Sherlock Holmes. I was determined to find the source of the disturbance, and when I did, I was amazed just how far from my own house I’d had to travel to find it.
There was only one other person to be seen at this ungodly midweek hour in the street I’d come to be standing in the middle of. It was a person going up the front stairs of their house only two or three up from the slightly overgrown property hosting the raving canine lunatic still going like the clappers.As I strained in the near darkness looking for someone else who might actually be bothered that something every bit as loud as a fire-engine’s emergency siren was letting loose full blast under their very nose (incredibly every resident of this apparent ghost street had either gotten so used to the barking by now they were past caring or they simply preferred to adopt the ‘someone else will deal with it’ approach) I at last spotted the lone figure scurrying up their front stairs under a protective cloak of darkness.
I called out to the person in a bid to perhaps find out if they knew anything about the chained-up dog and it’s owners (who were obviously not at home) but suddenly they were in their house with the door closed behind them faster than you could say “There’s a weirdo on the street late at night who wants to talk to me”. Before scurrying inside though I know they heard my “Excuse me” but chose to ignore it.
With my recon over and the address of the house hosting the
distressed lonely angry bummed out border collie now inscribed on a scrap of paper, I began the fresh-air walk back to CONTROL headquarters, keeping my eyes peeled all the while for any strays of the human kind that may have been wanting to launch a surprise sneak attack on a do-gooding neighbourhood noise vigilant such as my good self.
The next day while still in the throes of deciding my next move with the freshly gathered noise intel, I stumbled upon an app called BARKUP!.
In summary here’s how it works –
BARKUP! allows neighbours to anonymously notify the owner of barking incidents through an automatically generated letter. If the owner chooses to register on BARKUP! any future reports made will be logged directly on the owner’s account.
A letter is posted to the owner’s address with instructions for registering on the BARKUP! website. On their account owners can see further details about the time, duration and type of barking for all recorded incidents.
The dog owner has a summary of all reported barking incidents on BARKUP! They now have the opportunity to reply to the reporting neighbour by choosing from pre-set responses. This communication is anonymous. When they are registered on BARKUP! all further reports will go directly to their account and they will be notified by email. No further letters will be sent to their address.
The website notes unresolved barking issues need to be referred to local council.
The only problem I discovered about BARKUP! is that presently it’s only available to residents of the city of Ipswich (the next closest city to where I am in Brisbane). That means my next Bobby Fischer style move on this particular chessboard is still in the planning stage. And that means this post has little choice but to end on this note…
Ps. Think I’m a serial complainer do you?
You’ve imagined nothing until you’ve read this article about a man who filed over 6000 noise complaints against Reagan International Airport in Washington D.C. in a single year (2015). That sanity-robbing figure works out to be an average of 17 complaints a day for 365 consecutive days. Read the story HERE
Pss. The noise-hating character of Albert J. Pfister featured in the 1968 GET SMART episode SPY, SPY, BIRDIE. Pfister comes knocking on Max’s apartment door asking him to sign a petition asking for the world to rid itself of excessive noise. Max refuses, declaring quiet to be ‘Un -American’.
The episode runs for 24 minutes but Pfister makes his appearance from the beginning so the first couple of minutes should be enough to give you the idea.