Saving mankind and making mandatory noise the law of the land | SierraSun.com
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Saving mankind and making mandatory noise the law of the land

Remember when it was quiet in the mountains? There is still silence if you look closely, or far enough away. Too often the wilderness solitude vanishes, even in the middle of the night and in the wee hours of the morning, when it becomes glaringly obvious that the noise of backup beeper alarms on heavy equipment is totally pointless. Designed to make the world a safer place at the expense of the peace and quiet that existed prior to the Age of Mandatory Noise, the false alarm invades our very souls.Remember when common sense was common? Mandatory noise. What a brilliant concept. Whose brain did that come from? Im sure it was a well intentioned but sorely misguided Don Quixote who became so righteously indignant over an accidental death involving a big rig and an innocent bystander, back when peace and quiet was legal, that he thought only he could rescue the world from death. The guy, or gal, probably received a lot of attention and flattery for saving mankind and making noise the law. It was really an act of pure selfishness and pride.If I knew some fool had mandated noise on account of my death I would roll over in my grave and scream before the guy in the backhoe burying me could throw it in reverse. Its not so much the noise that bothers me, its the realization that all the people in charge think its a good idea. Thats scary. We accept the nonsense of bureaucracy too easily these days. Going along with mandatory noise just isnt in my genes. It is absolute, utter nonsense imposed on us by the kind of people who think they can pin a blue ribbon on a donkey and call it a race horse. I want to ask these people why they thought it was such a good idea for us to have to get killed by a snow plow to find peace and quiet.I remember waking in a dark silence before dawn in a quieter time. A far away whisper of wind slowly raised its voice from a gentle sigh to a cosmic roar, groaning louder and louder until it came grinding up the Truckee River canyon into Tahoe City like a hundred monstrous trucks, feverishly shifting gears. My walls rattled. Tarps covering snow blowers tightened, snapped and crackled. A broken traffic sign made of sheet metal somersaulted down the highway, clanging, then silence again. In the eerie calm I hope another train of wind is coming. I love the pure, natural noise and chaos of wind. I do not mind being at the mercy of natural forces. Its manmade power that worries me. The Middle East erupts into war and everybody wants somebody else to do something about it, like fix it. Yeah, right, as soon as backup beeper alarms are banned. Have you ever tried to stop a fight? Maybe the world isnt ready for peace and quiet.I am cradled and calm in my warm bed during a short silence that used to last forever in Tahoe when my left nostril begins to whistle and pop. I roll over and all is quiet. Peace reigns supreme, for a spell. A nearby car alarm begins to honk and wail. After about a minute the alarm stops. The silence returns, but not for long. Abruptly the whooping and wailing resumes. The tug of war between peace and pandemonium goes on for an hour. The owner of the car is probably sleeping soundly in a cozy cabin in the pines after a night of heavy drinking.At the Dam Caf in Tahoe City Kevin Finley and Matty Daniels are teasing Grumpy, who smiles and chuckles patiently. Its 6:30 am. They are talking about trucks, and moving the earth. They are talking about truck parts.Kevin has a fresh tube of Miracle Hand Repair in his shirt pocket. A big tube. They make very serious but hilarious jokes about who cares about things that dont matter, and vice versa. Their voices rival the wind and their laughter is almost as loud. They solve problems with uncommon sense.So-called civilization cant function without these guys. They know how to disconnect a backup beeper alarm, and maybe even turn a donkey into a race horse. We could use a lot more noise like theirs. But, for Gods sake, just dont make it mandatory. Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, experienced ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived on the North Shore of Tahoe for 25 years.


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