Growing up in the South Bronx I was very familiar with the sounds of music late, late into the night. And I do not mean yodeling with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Instead, there was salsa, merengue and freestyle music blasting into the night on a boom box. Ah, those were the days of boom boxes. Recently I saw someone carrying one and I got a huge chuckle. What ever possessed people to think that carrying a big metal box blaring music through the city blocks was a cool thing to do? Of course, boom boxes are totally cool when standing outside a girl’s window trying to get her to like you. That was dreamy.
This past year, because 2016 was a whole new set of crazy, there was an incident on an airline over a boombox. Two women fought because one of them decided to blast her boombox on the plane. I kid you not. It used to be Say Anything, now it is anything goes. Such is life these days. But besides the boombox coming back into style (sort of speak), I was thinking about those long nights of music. On television we are often show peaceful country nights where you hear the birds chirping. Or you are shown city streets riddled with gun shots. Life just isn’t always a juxtaposition between these extremes. Despite what the mainstream media will portray.
As I was trying to sleep this past week with this horrible sore throat and aches, I sat up a few nights just listenting to the night. I am in downtown Los Angeles and it definitely has its own rhythms and beats. Different from New York. Different from San Francisco.
Someone’s bass is thumping. The firetrucks keep on coming by blaring their sirens. The bass continues to thump as if it were Thor banging on the floor.
A homeless man screams in pain.
A college guy welps.
Young women walking on by cackle and giggle.
The couple next door slam their doors and start cursing at each other in an unknown language.
A car honks its horn. Though there is no traffic at this time of night (one of the few times there is no traffic to be seen in LA).
Another car revs it’s engines.
A new group of guys cheer something on loudly.
“Oh come on” blares the other neighbor’s television.
The bus stops for twenty seconds and then chugs along.
The heels from above pointedly walk across the room. The loud snores drown out the low hum of the television show that was put purposely low in order to not wake the others. The irony.
The bathroom fan continously sings.
A door down the hallway opens and loudly bangs close. A group of tourists are merrily enjoying the thrill of no responsibility.
The ear plugs remain on the night table ready for duty.
The homeless man howls. He howls somemore. He then screams.
He screams every 2o minutes or so. No one comes to his aid. For he screams and howls every night. Such is the life of those living on the streets of LA. And there are thousands more like him throughout the city streets at night. So, Instead of waking up with Salsa lyrics or Sound od Music lyrics. I wake up singing (if it can be alled that) It’s a hard-knock life for us! It’s a hard-knock life for us! And I am thinking its more like the Jay Z version of that Annie song.
Oh My. The sounds of the night can be depressing at times. But it should serve to remind us of those most in need as well and get us thinking of what we can do to help.