It’s spring and I have reached the conclusion that every uncoupled person renting a house in my cul de sac has had a party this weekend. On Friday the hoons at the end started at 11am and went to about 1am before they fell over. Their immediate neighbours rang to tell us they’d finally discovered the landlords name and let him know. The poor man thought the family of four that he’d rented the house to were still happily being a family of four, when over the past couple of years we had watched the police turn up on more that one occasion as the woman first threw out her partner and not so very long ago, her eldest daughter who’d had the temerity to fall for one of the bogans who were invited in to subsidise the rent. As far as bogans go they’re not all total rejects – some have been known to nod when they see us outside and once one offered a little bit of conversation, but give them alcohol and it’s like soaking those tiny foam dinasours in a cup a water. The first thing they do is start the music which comes directly from the back-boot full of amplifiers in one of their low slung, heavily modified Ford something-or-others and extends like the mushroom cloud of an atomic bomb. By the time the sound gets to our house its all bass, you know, that deep thud, thud, thud that lodges behind the eyeballs and drives anyone over 40 insane. When the party really gets going, the boys start doing wheelies and burnouts on the street. Friday was a big day and some of the boys will be needing new tyres before the next warrant, but funnily enough not one of them was there when the landlord called. We were looking forward to an early night when our delightful (and peaceful) neighbour Joe, told us he was turning 30 and there was going to be a party. We smiled that stupid smile people give when they want the birthday boy to think they’re cool and consoled ourselves with the rationale that 30 was a mature and considerate age. He’d let us know hadn’t he? How bad could it be? At 7pm they hit play and my eardrums caved in. We joked light-hearted jokes about molotov cocktails on their garage roof and turned up the telly. We pondered if it was as noisy out in the street and went out to see. It wasn’t – which on some levels was reassuring but when we came back inside we realized the noise they referred to as music, was getting trapped in the amplifying sound shell of our deck. We soldiered on telling ourselves we were cool old people and we could take it. About 11pm my husband chose the road of least resistance and drank until he knew he would fall alseep. I watched 2 movies and a couple of shows and at 1:30 I figured I too could sleep. I couldn’t. I got mad and went out onto the deck where I climbed on the Arondack chair and peered through the jasmine at the robot drinkers wandering around on the lawn. “TURN THAT BLOODY MUSIC DOWN!” I screamed, but no-one heard a thing. I went for the paracetamol and milk cure and the noise reducing earplugs from the plane. At 2 am I got up, took my coat and a heavy torch and went for a neighbourly chat. I was pleased I had the torch as it allowed me to see the abandoned Lime scooter on the grass verge and negotiate all the cars up the drive. There were three girls in the lounge gathered in a familiar ‘OMG-are-they -not-ready-to-go-home-yet?’huddle with their handbags and jackets already on. I ignored them. It was the garage that housed the noise. The side door was open and the only people inside this vast, cacophony of empty space were two young men confiding in each other in the way only those who were deaf and have been drinking far too long, ever can. “Oiy!!” I shouted. Nothing. I tried again – which was pointless but I wasn’t thinking clearly. I finally banged the torch as hard as I could against the metal door and one of them turned. He didn’t even act surprised. “IT’S 2AM. COULD YOU TURN THE NOISE DOWN PLEASE? I’M TRYING TO SLEEP” He smiled. “IT’S JOES 30TH BIRTHDAY’ he said as though that was reason enough to send a neighbour round to say hi in the middle of the goddamned night. “I KNOW THAT BUT CAN WE CUT THIS NOISE DOWN BY 50%?” By now the other one had turned around and was swaying alongside the first dude. “WHAT?” “TURN THE MUSIC DOWN! HALF POWER WILL BE FINE!” And they smiled their liquid well-intentioned smiles and the super swayer went off to get Joe because neither of them knew how to do it. I went home to bed. Within minutes the sound dropped like the final flush of a blocked loo and my eardrums unshrivelled. Outside I heard the girls gratefully dragging their blokes off home. I don’t know who stayed but I can say with some reliablity there was still music coming from the garage at 4:35 but it was quiet music – the sort that means the world is getting set to rights by people who think they have a handle on the truth. When the sun rose I was quite chipper until I noticed 3 party balloons swinging from a mailbox a few doors down the street. This afternoon 2 of them have disappeared and there are no extra cars or Lime Scooters anywhere but if the 3 year old who lives in that house starts cranking up the sounds, I’m ready. Just ask Joe when he wakes up. He’ll tell ya.