Thursday 4th June – 6 months, 19 days
Been a bit snappy lately. I snapped again this morning. Ooo! Why? The stereo next door came on at 6.30am. It’s not like this is unusual. Ever since the neighbours got a billiards table and a big fat bassy stereo, they play music all day every day: early in the morning, from 2 in the afternoon until 2am. And it’s always party-style Indonesian pop stuff, it’s not exactly relaxing.
Anyway, I was already awake, but I can’t even listen to the radio in my own house when they have the stereo going – it’s just too loud. So I went next door, hollered, no one came out, I crept around the side, hollered, no one came out, went in (the doors are always open), found three people sleeping in the room next to the stereo, came out and turned the stereo down myself. A young guy popped out of the kitchen at that point to see who was touching the stereo, but I made ‘apologetic face’, put my hands over my ears and he nodded, seeming to get it.
Of course, it was back up to ‘ears are bleeding’ level in half an hour, but oh well.
I’ve never gone next door and said ‘your music’s too loud’ before. Partly because, I feel like, this is their place, so I can’t say anything. Trying to fit in with the culture, you know? And it doesn’t always bother me; a lot of the time, I don’t really mind. But part of it also is, I know it’s futile. They’re not going to turn it down. No one can make them – I can’t call the police like I would in Australia. And none of them work, apart from the obvious child-caring and other domestic duties: there are about 15 people there at any given time, and they’re all living off the rent I pay for this place, the cockfights (which haven’t happened for a while) and the billiards table.
The fact that someone like me *who works in an office* needs to sleep at night and get up early is entirely foreign to them: they can have a loud party until 4am every night if they feel like it, and they often do; and if someone wants to get up at 6 and turn the stereo on, that’s also cool, and they often do. Nobody is going anywhere or doing anything; just another day of sitting under the tree, and shootin’ some pool.
It’s like my friend Nicole (forgive me for paraphrasing you, Nicole, but you expressed it so well) says: Australians don’t hate the noise most. No, what really bugs us is that in Timor, *we can’t complain*. Bug me with your stereo as much as you want, but take away my right to complain about it and hopefully ruin your fun (loud early weekday morning fun though it may be) and THEN see how passive-aggressively cranky I can be!