- The Washington Times - Monday, July 20, 2015


Know anyone who moved near a hospital and then began complaining about sirens blaring night and day?

Or someone who moved near railroad tracks and complained about trains rumbling through their neighborhood?

And have you met the silent types? These people move into a neighborhood dotted with bars, clubs, restaurants and other urban conveniences, then complain because their neighborhood’s bars and clubs aren’t soundproof and, excuse me, fart-proof.

You read that right, folks.

I know that sounds crude, but it’s the truth.

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We’re going to get to the silent types, but let’s dispense with the flatulence issue since there’s a tie-in between it and noise.

Madam’s Organ is a popular spot in the Adams Morgan neighborhood in Northwest D.C., and about 1:30 a.m. in June 2014, the drummer for a band performing there opened a ground-floor window because he thought it best not to contain the odor that was emanating from his you-know-what. Well, the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board levied a $500 fine for violating an agreement that mandated all doors and windows remain closed after 12:30 a.m. when live music is being played.

Listen, the drummer was being more thoughtful than many a man-child I’ve sat near at Washington Redskins games or in a movie theater.

But whew, this next case really stinks up the place.

Surely you’ve heard of or visited Dupont Circle, a neighborhood filled by day with office workers popping in and out of businesses, churches, eateries and the Metro. Dupont Circle is adjacent to Adams Morgan and is considered the tonier of the two neighborhoods. Anyway, it seems some Dupont Circle denizens are the silent types, which is to say they not only don’t want to give the drummer some (as James Brown requested), but these cultural snobs want city inspectors to run around town silencing bass players, sax players, drummers and any other musician who gets into a groove.

Imagine what would have happened to Taylor Swift if homeowners and apartment dwellers near RFK Stadium had made similar complaints about her recent two-night stand there.

A truly troubling aspect about these noisemakers is that the D.C. Council is trying to fix the problem by rethinking noise levels and noise-abatement fines, which is not the way to go.

For one, the folks who oversee such matters already have said — with not one thing being changed — that they would need a bigger budget and a bigger staff. For another, the city shouldn’t bother readdressing noise issues — there’s somebody complaining all around the District.

People complain because the kids are too loud at the parks and rec centers.

People complain because the folks sipping cups of joe at the sidewalk cafes are talking too loud on their cellphones.

People even complain that our libraries are getting too noisy as patrons use them to download music and watch movies on smartphones, laptops and iPads.

Really, people?

Urban cities are busy and noisy.

We no longer have a 9-to-5 society, praise the Lord.

The bank closes at 5 p.m., but your money is accessible 24-7, 365 (unless you live in Greece).

Besides, we cannot have it both ways.

We begged, borrowed and stole our way to the new District of Columbia, which has tens of thousands of new residents pouring in everyday. And with them, sometimes ahead of them, came small and larges businesses willing to set up shop. And those people who work there and elsewhere love happy hour and a night on the town — even when that dinner is a quaint one on the sidewalk at Mr. Henry’s on Capitol Hill or drinks at Madam’s Organ (whose cocktails always hit the spot).

Indeed, changing and rearranging the rules and regs of noise will prove to be an impossible chore. The flatulence issue, for example, was a health matter. Too bad none of the city bureaucrats and D.C. Council Member Vincent B. Orange even considered as much.

Then again, bureaucrats do whatever they can get away with — like saying “Yes, sir, Mr. Council Member, sir. We just need more money and more staff.”

Has anyone asked the noisemakers whether they have patronized the facilities and businesses they complain about?

Deborah Simmons can be reached at [email protected]

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