First Published in Thisday Newspapers: December 23, 2008
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Yuletide...An Absolute Defence
As I write; tunes of Christmas resonate through my neighbor’s good speakers.
Yes, even bad neighbors can own good speakers.
I must state from the outset that the neighbor in question is a rascal of limited cerebral training. As a lawyer, my scorn for the unschooled mind offers no apologies, more so as the aforementioned personality is of a loud and pugnacious make-up.
The loudness would be forgiven if it were limited to his vocal chords (let them wither from over-use) but no, he generously endows his musical gadgets with this attribute as well.
Now, I consider myself a reasonable music enthusiast. I love Jazz, every lawyer should, soft rock also appeals to me; they set the mood right after the humdrum of our profession.
At occasional resurgences of the boy in me, I may sit through some Hip hop tunes.
But Highlife, No sir!
With due respects, I find it an irksome cacophony of exaggerated instrumentation and repetitive incantations. And the subject matter hardly varies from praise- singing or cheap didactics.
I firmly believe that music should be made of saner stuff (apologies, Mark Anthony)
Well, this low-life neighbor of mine does not share my opinion of Highlife, and he amplifies the point daily.
Everyday the walls echo with earsplitting reverberations from his speakers, any other blend of music may not have had the same sharp sting, but Highlife it must be…so everyday, I grit my teeth and suffer the double jeopardy.
And he always sings in accompaniment!
My view of the fellow is not improved by the fact that his speakers sound far better than the ones in my house.
The few times I attempted to engage him in a Battle of the Decibels, my efforts were pathetically drowned.
Available case law on punitive damages for nuisance shall soon have its records broken, my file is building… before long, his cup shall run over.
I woke up this morning and the peace of the environment was once again being assaulted by his blaring monstrosity.
But wait a minute, it was not his usual…he was playing Christmas carols!
But Heavens, what a way to play them!
Jingle Bells clanged irritatingly on the auditory nerves, Silent Night turned into an oxymoron as The Drummer Boy joyously slammed away on the ear-drums,
O Little Town of Bethlehem would be rocked off its modest foundations by the volcanic vibrations of the woofers.
Hark! The heralding angels would have since gone hoarse if they sang eternally at such pitch.
I have never heard the age-long smoothness of Christmas melodies so ruthlessly abused and my neighbor enthusiastically joined the chorus, this time singing in English!
I muttered a curse and sprang from my bed.
In my methodical groundwork for a water-tight legal action against the scoundrel, I had overlooked my most convenient remedy -abatement of the nuisance.
My heavy poundings on his door finally seeped through the bedlam, the volumes reluctantly went down and the insufferable tort-feasor peeked out.
I gave vent to all my pent up exasperation in a flutter of expletives.
Safe in his ignorance, I let the words; culpability, prosecution and committal order at the Governor’s pleasure tumble freely.
My tirade must have run unceasingly for the chunky part of thirty minutes and from the crumbling face before me, I was hitting bull’s eye.
I turned to storm away, but behold! other inhabitants of our yard had gathered behind us in clusters evidently drawn by the thunderous emissions of my righteous indignation.
Voices, voices, voices…
‘Wetin dey do Lawyer, sef? Na only him go school? So make we no enjoy Christmas again?’
Yet another; ‘Do you blame him? Do lawyers go to church? Are they not the antichrist?’
This not inaccurate reference to the epileptic nature of my hebdomadal reverence to the Powers struck home, but the worst was still in transit:
‘If it is Highlife music he won’t complain o, now that it is God’s song, he is vexing, abeg no mind am my broda’
And we say there is justice in this world.
A quick glance at my vindicated adversary showed that he had regained his aplomb and was waving in solidarity to his formidable defence team.
Crimson-faced, I slunk away.
* * *
I am lying on my bed, trying to shut out the din outside.
In celebration of this rare victory over the supercilious ‘The Law’, the crusaders of Christendom had assumed positions by my window and joined in the O Come All Ye Faithful, Joyful and Triumphant… chant.
Their voices rang to the skies, and thus motivated, my neighbor’s speakers trebled their vigour.
I have never been more humbled. They may be right; maybe like all lawyers, I am a grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge after all, trying to smother the joyous spirit of Christmas among ordinary folk.
In penitence, I pick up this piece of paper to jot a little list to guide my actions through the rest of the season.
1.) Never complain about the nuisance value of deafening carols no matter how brazen the interference with quiet enjoyment of premises, Yuletide is an absolute defence.
2.) Never scold the little boys (and recently, girls!) that ignite fireworks and knock-out bangers on busy streets, the potential hazards are equally excused by the Yuletide proviso.
3.) Never grumble at the price tags that habitually grow wings this season…Angels also have wings.
4.) Even if I suffer a salary cut at my workplace in order to finance sky-scraper sized Christmas trees and corresponding decorations, I shall never protest. It is in line with the spirit of giving…the poor and hungry shall behold the majesty and be filled…with awe.
5.) Never frown at the message of the pre-dawn preacher that frequents our neighborhood this season.
He is right; I should feel guilty for still being alive to see the end of another year …as a sinner.
6.) (Most importantly!) never forget to say:
MERRY CHRISTMAS DEAR READERS!!!
First Published in Thisday Newspapers: December 23, 2008