"Sleep-theft" recognition: A hallmark of high culture

As usual, summer came late this year to the Portland area; we hardly saw the sun at all for long stretches of time. We had no spring to speak of and practically all of June was overcast, chilly and wet. But things have recently taken a turn for the better. Summer is finally upon us! In case y’all were wondering, this is why my posts have been sparse recently. I’ve been spending most of my free time outdoors to celebrate the summer and enjoy the sun.
I have grown noticeably darker, to the point where some might mistake me for a Mexican. Speaking of Mexicans, they appear to lack any sense of respect for other people’s sleep. Mexicans celebrate each others’ birthdays with loud parties held during the wee hours of the morning. They wake each other up for work by honking their horns outside their co-worker’s houses. Neighbors be damned. I’ve experienced this myself. There seems to be no concept of stealing other people’s sleep. Perhaps this is because it’s normal, in Mexico, to sleep during the day so that nighttime sleep doesn’t hold the same value it does in more northerly cultures. In any case, any Mexicans who wish to become naturalized in the U.S. should be required to learn to respect the sleep of others.
The ancient Jewish sages had a specific word for sleep theft: “Gezel shena” (literally “sleep theft”). Since we Jews have such a concept, I’d bet dollars for donuts that the Muslims do too. It would be interesting to compare the value of other people’s sleep in various cultures. I’m not sure how to go about doing this but surely somebody else does.
To be sure, our own American culture is far from perfect when it comes to this. Many American neighborhoods sound like kennels 24 hours a day because owners don’t bother keeping their dogs in line when neighbors are trying to sleep. I sometimes wonder how many people have died due to road accidents that were partly caused by sleep-deprivation due to barking dogs. How many doctors failed to save lives because they couldn’t concentrate for the same reason? How many work-related accidents can be traced to barking dogs?
Since this is a rant, I’ll go on to my next pet-peeve: Motorcyclists whose engines are almost loud enough to shatter windows – yet they have no problem riding through residential neighborhoods at all hours. There is no way to catch such people and punish them unless a cop just happens to be there at the time – and said cop considers it a priority. Not likely.
With the apparent end of the war in Iraq, a lot of people are wondering what to do with all the snipers who are now idle. Put them to work ridding us of inconsiderate people I say! I don’t care if Mexicans are disproportionately affected.

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11 Responses to "Sleep-theft" recognition: A hallmark of high culture

  1. WmarkW says:

    You don’t feel culturally enriched by diversity of bedtimes?
    Wouldn’t your neighborhood be much poorer if everyone (except emergency workers) slept from 11 to 7?

  2. robertpinkerton says:

    “Waking a person unnecessarily should not be considered a capital crime. For a first offense, that is.” — HEINLEIN< Robert A., Notebooks of Lazarus Long, aphorism #134
    The use of an automobile horn to summon someone from his house, is called a “ghetto doorbell,” just as the police helicopter with downward-pointing strong searchlight, is the “ghetto mosquito.”

  3. bob sykes says:

    What is the point of a quiet motorcycle? They’re supposed to be loud, and fast, and dangerous, and obnoxious. The more the better. That’s how you get chicks. It works on gay guys, too.
    In fact, you can buy a glasspack muffler to enhance the loudness (and improve the power) of any car or motorcycle with a patriotic gasoline engine. Hybrid/electric owners can GFT.
    Really, get with the program.
    Or maybe Portland is too pseudo-upper class white for glasspacks.

  4. Only someone that has had these problems can really understand why it makes someone so bellicose. I have all of them right now. The loud motorcycle, the late parties and the early morning horns plus kids home 24/7 for the summer. None of this should be a capitol crime.
    Tarring and feathering? Hanging by their thumbs? Lets talk.
    As bad as it is for me, it is even worse for my neighbor, with a fussy newborn.
    Snipers? Sure! In fact, I am thinking of that solution and much more. Right now, I would not mind seeing a whole battalion come to restore peace and quiet. Is it sleep depravation making me so extreme? Of course. After the battalion comes in and restores quiet, I will get some much needed uninterrupted sleep, end up feeling much better.
    After I regain my sanity, I am sure I will wonder ‘What the hell was I thinking?’ A battalion used to do the job a small troop could do?
    Which proves my point, sleep depravation makes you crazy and irrational.

  5. Spartan24 says:

    Don’t get me started on fireworks! My 4yo daughter is terrified and here in UT it is legal to shoot them off all during July since there is a state holiday on the 24th. It is obnoxious since the noise goes on until about 10:30 or later.

  6. destructure says:

    I completely agree with this post. No one has the right to impose an unreasonable amount of noise on others. It’s one thing to play loud music in your own home or car. If others don’t like it they can leave or ride with someone else. Its another thing entirely to play music so loud that it annoys the neighbors and those in other cars. There’s a word for people who do that — it’s “jerk”.

  7. Jehu says:

    This is one of the things that sucks about diversity, even when there’s no actual crime involved.
    Different groups have different ideas as to what is acceptable. How late can your parties go? How much noise can they make? How often can they be held? How much slack do you get if you invite the neighbors? What things can you do to offset your neighborhood ‘impact’? What hours is it ok to make noise?
    When there’s a lack of diversity, you actually frequently get a neighbhorhood consensus on right behavior that is mostly observed without stepping on too many toes. I lived in quite a few such neighborhoods growing up in Florida—where I was told, for instance, that it wasn’t acceptable to mow the lawn really early on Saturday morning, because people wanted to sleep in, even though it was a lot less hot and nasty then. Classic prisoner’s dilemma there, but social convention kept people from defecting.

  8. Yew Among You says:

    “To be sure, our own American culture is far from perfect when it comes to this. Many American neighborhoods sound like kennels 24 hours a day because owners don’t bother keeping their dogs in line when neighbors are trying to sleep.”
    The tradition of dog (and cat) worship was one of the major culture shocks I experienced when first coming here. Curious one, that. They even take their dogs to be photographed with Santa at the mall during Christmas holidays!

  9. This is probably the main reason I have come to hate living in cities.

  10. EW says:

    About the bikers – here in the Czech Republic, it is considered almost a post-commie human righteous right to ride a mighty bike and park it at 01:00 a.m. in the center of the residential block or raise a hell on the highway or on the nice winding rural roads.
    If I read in the morning news that a biker met hisCreator the day before, it makes my day even better. Not very humanist, but definitely human feeling…

  11. EW says:

    “The use of an automobile horn to summon someone from his house, is called a “ghetto doorbell”
    Interesting. Here in the Czech Republic it is gypsies (a local surrogate for Balcks) who use this signalling.

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