Hey! Can you hear me now?

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By John Pawlak

On my way back from visiting family in New York, the passengers were seated and waiting for our plane to depart.  

We were delayed and as we sat there, a man was talking on his cell phone to his friend Dan.  Well, yelling on his phone is a bit more accurate.

“Whoa! A Mercedes C300?  No way!  Dan, you da man!  You da man, Dan!  I can’t wait to see Mark’s face when you bring that to work!  Yeah, man, park in his spot!  You da man, Dan!  But you gotta replace those speakers, put in Infinities!  Harmon Kardons are OK, but Infinities kick!  Did you get the leather? What color?  Oh yeah, that’s good!  You! Are! The! Man!”

As I sat there, I got to know a lot about Dan. He lives somewhere in Dallas and is going out with a girl named Ariana. His favorite color is blue and he works at a financial consulting firm. He’s traveling to London in August and he loves sushi.  Yeah, all of us passengers on that flight know Dan quite well now. Oh, and did I mention; he da man?

Later, when we were disembarking, I called out to the bipedal mouth and said, “Tell Dan that the C300 was a great choice. And we all hope his hearing problem gets better!”  

The mouth gave me a puzzled look and so I added, “Well, we all assumed that you were yelling like a rabid banshee because Dan doesn’t hear very well.”  

The smiles from other passengers affirmed that we had all been thinking the same thing; we wanted to tie this guy down and blow a few dozen vuvuzelas in his ear for the duration of the flight.  

Noise pollution is at epidemic proportions and the FIFA World Cup games are just the tip of the deafening iceberg our lives are crashing into lately.

I have no problem with someone talking in public on a cell phone.

I just don’t want to be an unwilling silent (and suffering) participant in the conversation.  

It’s particularly annoying in places where I find myself a captive audience to poetic monologues of their never-interesting lives.  

There must be some genetic relationship between having huge lungs and not understanding the concept of a phone’s volume button.

Like cuisines of the world, noise comes in many different shapes and flavors.  

Vuvuzelas seem to be the choice entree at the noise table in South Africa.  

These plastic monstrosities bellow out at 120 decibels (10 times louder than a chainsaw).  

The use of these portable air raid sirens was defended as a “musical tradition” of the country. That’s like validating cigarette smoking as a tribute to Native American history of smoke signals.

Back in New Jersey, noise pollution is the norm.  

One has to deal with low flying commercial airplanes, car alarms, roadwork crews, the constant droning of leaf blowers and the constant droning of neighbors yelling at someone to turn off the leaf blower.  

And if you live in the cities, there’s the occasional car crashes and gunfire.

But sometimes, it’s not much better here.  

Outside my house, a motorcycle rider entertains the neighborhood with his vuvuzela-like exhaust.  

I suspect that he paid extra to have specially designed pipes installed to maximize the disturbance.  

Later on, we’re treated to bad taste in music by some numbnut driving his boom car.  

I can’t help but think that he’s desperately trying to overcompensate for some other deficiency. Well, either that, or he’s just a moron.

And of course, an occasional boom from the lab’s test area shakes the area and gets the dogs barking.  

The noise police don’t seem to be doing anything to quiet those test explosions, or to quiet boom cars, or noisy motorcycles, but they have taken stern steps to stop dogs from barking.  

Yes, with 18,000 people living in Los Alamos County, we certainly wouldn’t ever want to hear a dog  bark.

Look, it could be worse.  

Someone could cross breed a hound dog with a vuvuzela.  

Let’s enjoy what we have.