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The growling engine, the screeching brakes 0

Dear Bradshaw,

Last night the fun began with the car alarm, the same endless, shrieking one that has been waking us up two (sometimes three) times a night, every night, for the past week.

As I lay in bed, cursing whoever had parked his babble-mobile on our street, I imagined myself bashing it with a sledgehammer as the neighbors watched from their windows, cheering me on. I started with the windshield, shattering it in one fell swoop, and then climbed onto the hood and gave the roof several mighty whacks. While climbing down and then maneuvering to knock off a hubcap, I remembered that I longed to be sleeping, not mutilating a car and risking arrest, so I began searching for the mechanism — the sensor, detector, or whatever it is that activates the alarm. If I could find that, I’d be in bed snoozing in no time.

The car alarm droned on, one minute, two, but even if I’d been madman enough to get up and go down there, I was too tired and the bed too warm and comfortable. In any case, the alarm would have ended before I’d located the car and, more importantly, I don’t have a sledgehammer.

When the alarm did finally finish, Francesca sighed, and I thought evil things about the owner who was almost surely out of earshot, sleeping soundly.

Perhaps an hour after I’d fallen back to sleep, the garbage truck arrived. I checked the clock, wanting to confirm what I already knew: 5am. I gritted my teeth as I heard the growling engine, the screeching brakes, and then the first of five neighborhood dumpsters was lifted into the air and flipped upside down as wine bottles thundered into the truck’s hopper, crashing down with the clamor of a fifty car pile up. Why the local community doesn’t bond together and put a stop to such early morning mayhem baffles me. After all, there must be a thousand people in this neighborhood, at least. Must the dumpsters be emptied at 5am? Why not 5pm? Or 10pm? Or absolutely any other hour as long as it’s not after midnight and before 6am, which is when the civilized world sleeps.

Anyway, Shaw, that’s it for now. I’m so flummoxed I don’t know what’s what. Certain things in life seem obvious to me, like locking the front door when you leave the house, remembering to feed the cat, or zipping up your pants after flushing. I guess I have to face the facts: noise pollution is a big city reality and one of the major drawbacks of living in the center of Rome. That and, well, people who forget to zip up after flushing.

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