If there is one thing that gets my blood boiling to that dangerous stage where I have to Xanax my thoughts with a “calm down” pep talk, it is witnessing humans’ lack of respect in certain situations.
It irks me more than noisy eaters.
I absolutely despise it when people show no respect for nature and just litter without even batting an eyelid. I hate it when travellers visit foreign lands but show no respect for other cultures, traditions and religions. I go slightly nuts when the older generation is treated with no respect, but with backchatting and attitude.
Sho. That last one gets me.
It just got me again the other day. I did not even digest the leftover Christmas leg of lamb yet when a group of youngsters pulled in opposite my parents’ getaway cabin where sunsets meet the river in magical reflections day after day; where the Knysna Louries visit early in the morning, where the silence is interrupted by the ocean’s noise and where the random hippy bush buck on his vegan raw diet lusts after the flowers of my mother’s Impatiens plant.
For my parents it’s a weekend home, a mid-week escape and a place where they’ll retire; for me it’s a December retreat of pressing my face up against certain walls to find decent signal for my phone to make a hotspot to work on my work and to work on my patience. Quiet, peaceful and idyllic at its best.
So imagine our dismay when a shirtless youngster, plus two, arrived on the open plot opposite our abode with music blaring from a bakkie’s door; loud mouth, tanned SPF-00+ beer belly and a drink in hand.
It’s 3 pm.
My blood is already boiling against the rhythm of the doef-ing and I think back to old travel memories. Flashes of disrespect go through my mind of those who drunkenly misbehaved with slurring tongues. I remembered the inappropriate behaviours, itsy bitsy revealing clothes in conservative countries, the total ignorance, how laws got ignored and how holy places got disrespected.
It’s 5 pm.
My father reminds me of December 2015; the same thing, the same loud mouths and the same lame doef-doef tunes.
It’s 6 pm.
I send prayers to Eskom but then remember that the sound comes from the bakkie. I wish I had a ketty to just hit that guy on his beer belly.
They are only starting their fire now.
With a doef-doef here and a doef-doef there I can hear their whole conversation; the later it gets the louder they speak. This used to be a fun house, but now it’s full of evil clowns.
It’s 9:55 pm.
I want to say something but surely they’ll be decent law-abiding human beings and stop the music at 10 pm? It’s the law right? I never really understand why people feel the need to make music for everyone.
It’s 10:30 pm.
I’m showered, I’m tired and I’m ready for bed but the doef is drilling through my skull and my level of irritation is sky-high. Sound travels far and it penetrates through a log home and this not-so-populated-or-built-up area. I’m on Google; face pressed up against a wall to search for the laws of noise pollution in South Africa. One line jumps out and aggravates my emotions even more:
“What many people don’t seem to realise, this noise is exactly the same as being tortured / bullied – which is illegal. Most important to remember, the Constitution guarantees that you have the right to freedom in your own home. “
It’s 11:30 pm.
I wonder how drunk they are and whether or not it will be a good idea to ask them to shut the hell up? I’m at the point where pulling a fistful of hair out of my head might be more pleasurable than hearing their music.
It’s 11:45 pm.
I’ve had enough.
I march down stairs and at their gate I say, “Excuse me, excuse me”.
They can’t hear me. The music is too loud.
“Hi. Excuse me”.
I’m so frustrated my voice quivers. I might cry.
I catch Mr Beer Belly’s eye and begs, “Can you please have some respect and turn the volume down? There are basically just pensioners living in this street, and there is no need to make music for everyone, please”.
“Okay, sorry”, Mr Beer Belly responds.
But as soon as I turn my back his lady friend makes a snarky remark, “Well we will still be talking”.
I cross the road to get back to bed and walk up the stairs when Mr Beer Belly’s sarcastic side kicks in – sponsored by the glass of brandy in his hand - with a “it’s not even midnight yet” and “this is not a retirement home” and “you should’ve been in bed a long time ago”.
I need Xanax. Or an EKG. Or an aspirin. Or whatever can prevent my anger from exploding an organ.
Just after midnight the music stops; then the chatter ends, the fire becomes lifeless and my anger finds its balance in the silence of the night with the sound of the ocean in the background.
At 5:00 am the sun wakes me up and I feel a massive need to throw an alarm clock over to their side.
Eventually, after the loud mouths fermented in the sun for hours, they get up silently, pack everything and drive away.
However, one item stays behind; their boat, their ticket to come back and do the exact same thing over and over again.
Dear traveller please keep in mind:
Show some respect when you travel; whether you are visiting your favourite beach destination in South Africa or going abroad where culture, religion and traditions play a big role.
Stop making your beachwear your everywhere-wear and cover up for the sake of respecting other people and other cultures.
Play your music at a decent volume; there is no need to play it for the whole neighbourhood. However, if there is one day in the year that I’ll show some patience and make an exception for someone else’s loud music it is on New Year’s Eve (I’m not that horrible).
Respect the laws; whether you think it’s silly or not.
Respect nature; do not litter, do not abuse, do not vandalise.
Respect holy places; if they say “no shoes”, then it means, “no shoes”.
Respect all cultures, customs and traditions.
Respect older people. Always.
Wherever you go, whatever you do, do not be selfish, think of those around you.
Be aware and observe your surrounding areas.
And for the love of respect, drop the attitude.
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