Last Saturday night I was jarred awake from a deep sleep by my neighbor’s highly amplified music system, which was rattling my home’s windows with some sort of rap music. For a moment I thought that my former neighbor, Trent, was to blame but he moved to Naples a couple of years ago after having a audio system installed that would be perfect for the Long Beach Municipal Band to use outdoors, but not in a bedroom. I pitied his new neighbors.

It was 11 p.m. and the new residents, Sergio and Anne, were much more considerate and have never come close to the wild parties that Trent would throw – especially on his birthday. Most 40-something people outgrow the need to party past midnight. When you get to my senior citizen status the lights go out at 9 or 10 p.m. at the latest.

After a couple of blasting minutes, I called 9-1-1 because I was too groggy to remember the non-emergency number, (562) 435-6711. I was somewhat surprised to receive a call-holding message, in English and Spanish, but this was Saturday night, when the wild people are getting drunk and doing things that require police attention.

While on hold the deafening, loud music stopped, and I hung up. That’s not always the smartest thing to do, because police dispatchers classify hang-ups as emergency situations. Off in the distance I could hear the wailing siren. “Oh s**t,” I thought, “how can I fix this?” I started by putting on some pants.

Soon the doorbell rang and I saw about four police cars out front along with a half-dozen officers. I explained the situation, apologized for not being able to cancel the call, and they headed next door to speak with the neighbor.


I purchased a phone system for my wife several years ago that had a base station and four portable units to position around the house. They came with large buttons and displays plus caller announcements that were perfect for Anita’s vision and hearing issues.

Since she passed away last year that phone system has been great for screening robocalls and the cost is low to maintain a number that we’ve had for 55 years. Last month I programmed it to forward to an office line that goes directly into voice mail without ringing any devices. No-mo-robo and I can see each of the frequent hang-ups on my cell phone and delete them anytime – except for the authentic callers.

For this reason, I could not cancel the expected police dispatcher’s return call, which went directly into the office voice mail, three blocks away. I was pleased that the LBPD handled the situation well and would quickly respond, had this been an actual emergency.

After the officers left, I walked over to speak with Sergio and Anne and was not surprised that Marcus answered the door. He is a young man who performs tasks for the owners – such as walking the dogs, taking out the trash and house sitting. Marcus apologized for the disturbance, explaining that it “went on automatically and he was unable to shut it down quickly.” Problem solved and I stayed awake for another four hours before being able to enter another deep sleep.


Time for a little humor:

  • I was in a shoe store that sells only shoes, nothing else. A young girl with a tattoo and green hair walked over to me and asked, “What brings you in today? I looked at her and said, “I’m interested in buying a refrigerator.” She didn’t quite know how to respond and had that deer in the headlights look.
  • I was thinking about old age and decided that old age is when you still have something on the ball, but you are just too tired to bounce it.
  • When people see a cat’s litter box they always say, “Oh, have you got a cat?” I just say, “No, it’s for company!


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