The older I get, the less I like noise. Granted, “noise” is a relative term, but for me it means just about any sound that I don’t want to hear at that very moment.
One of the noises I loathe is the incessantly barking dog. Now, I know some of you doggie lovers are having some knee-jerk reaction like, “He hates dogs! Who hates dogs?! Must love cats! Weirdo!”
I don’t hate dogs. I don’t love cats. I merely hate noise. I actually like dogs if they understand when a bark or two is OK — such as when a salesman knocks, when there is a man with a hockey mask and machete in the bushes or when Timmy has fallen into a well.
I hate two kinds of barking dogs, neither of which knows when to shut up:
One kind is the little yappy inside dog that freaks out when the doorbell rings or if a car passes by the house. There are two main varieties of the yappy dog — one that you can pick up and use as a computer keyboard duster and the short-haired one that’s always on high alert and longing for a taco.
The other kind is the backyard dog that is convinced whatever made that noise on the other side of the fence — a falling leaf, a butterfly, a kid playing outside three houses away — is probably a rabid T-Rex coming to attack his family and he must bark for the next three hours to scare it away. “Woof! Woof!”
Then, the other neighborhood dogs hear it and say, “Did you hear that? Fido said there’s some giant lizard in the neighborhood! We must warn the others! Woof! Woof! Pass the woof!”
“Did you hear that? Spot said that Fido said a rabid Eddie Izzard pushed Timmy into a well. We must warn the others! Woof! Woof!”
And so it goes with all the dogs throughout the neighborhood for the next three hours. At least, that’s the way it goes in my neighborhood. As I’ve found on my neighborhood’s Facebook group, though, all my neighbors love the sounds of barking dogs. Anytime somebody complains on the group page about some noise, they are quickly chastised and learn that all the other neighbors love the sounds of fireworks, gunfire, souped-up muscle cars, boom-boom-please-notice-me car radios, motorcycles and, yes, barking dogs.
So it’s best to keep your thoughts to yourself if you don’t want neighbors coming to your house with torches and pitchforks — or, worse, an angry GIF on the Facebook page.
This morning, though, I woke up in a hotel room in Opelika, Alabama. It was my fourth straight morning waking up here, and it’s been wonderfully quiet … until today.
I was working in my room at 8 a.m. I suspect a lot of other folks here were still asleep. Then some ladies got to cackling in the corridor, followed by a dog barking. I imagine the cackling was hurting his ears.
But, hey, a little noise as they’re making their way to the elevator down the hall is no big deal, right? Unfortunately, they decided to hang out in the hallway for 10 minutes. There are no turns in the hallway. You go this way or that way and move on. But not these ladies. Nope. It kept on. Cackle cackle woof cackle woof woof cackle cackle cackle woof. Repeat.
I’d have stepped outside my room and asked them — and the dog — to hold it down a little, but my hotel room has a very informal working dress code, and no amount of noise deserved being forced to see me in a tank top and lounging shorts. It’s bad enough I catch a glimpse of myself in this full-length mirror every now and then.
“Ewww, who are … oh.”
There are folks who make noise for attention, like the little boys with the car radios whose mommies didn’t pay them enough attention, so they require yours. There are folks who make noise and are apologetic about it. “Sorry about the leaf blower.” And then there are cackling ladies with barking dogs who are self-centered and inconsiderate of others.
The ladies, that is, not the dogs. It’s not their fault. And, again, I don’t hate dogs. In fact, when my wife someday kicks me out of the house, I’m moving to a 400-square-foot shack in the woods, far away from annoying people and yappy dogs and ladies.
And I’m getting a dog. Probably a big dog that doesn’t yap and only barks when it’s appropriate, such as when I come home.
“Woof! I missed you so much, my human! I thought I was going to die! This is the greatest moment of my life! Woof!”
“Thanks, Bear! Good boy! But I just went to the mailbox at the end of the driveway.”
“Woof, but there could be T-Rexes out there!”