Yelling to the reverberate
Well, I've lived on The Hill for six years... in the same
house... as a renter. In this transient community, I deserve an award.
Few people can make this claim. I consider myself a part of the community
and a good neighbor. So I think I'm entitled to weigh in on the new noise
First let me say that the allegations are true. People yell
on The Hill - nightly. Regularly. You can set your watch to it. It's as
certain as Bush tax cuts for the rich and corporate cronyism. Yelling
on the Hill is the stuff of legend. It's such an established fact in this
community that whenever people learn my address they ask, "how do
you stand the noise?"
And, as I straddle the precipice between youth and adulthood,
I've wondered: Is it time to move on? Rent elsewhere? I was beginning
to think so. But The University Hill Neighborhood Association might just
have me thinking otherwise. They've got a very unique perspective on the
matter. It's a defiant stance and it sounds a little like this: "who
do all these students think they are anyway, being out in public, a block
away from their campus, and so young all the time!" And so far, this
approach is working for this watchdog group of community vigilantes. Businesses,
lawmakers, and police are bending to its will.
You've got to give them credit though, for unadulterated,
boldfaced temerity. After all, they must have known they were moving to
University Hill? Right? Or maybe, like Ronald Reagan and those pesky Iran
Contras, they just "didn't know."
If that's the case, it makes me wonder what crafty, conniving,
underhanded methods of subterfuge realtors are using to hoodwink prospective
homeowners into buying on the Hill. Are they hanging massive drop cloths,
painted with picturesque neighborhood landscapes to obscure the view of
campus from all Hill properties? If so, I can imagine the frustration
of the poor sucker who buys a home only to discover too late that - hidden
all along - was a massive college campus just two blocks away.
Maybe I'm being too hard on Hill property owners. After
all, they're just trying to protect their investments. And there comes
a time for protecting what's ya's.
That said, I have to confess, there's something primitively
appealing about a four-couch fire in the middle of the street. And I have
to say that at least one of these riots probably wouldn't have occurred
had law enforcement left certain parties alone rather than dumping a bunch
of drunks into the street with nowhere to go.
Nevertheless, riots were a problem and they needed to be
addressed. So what was Boulder's answer? Was it to loosen enforcement
of underage drinking laws? Was it to give the kids a place to go and celebrate
once they'd finished the semester? Nope. The answer was to outlaw outdoor
couches. COUCHES! And they did it. And now the city that outlawed couches
has just outlawed yelling. So much for Boulder as a liberal stronghold
of free-minded individuality.
Once again, Boulder has directed legislation against the
wrong target. As far as I can figure it's not so much that these kids
yell, it's that they seldom yell anything worth listening to. After a
while, ever popular colloquialisms like, "Dude, f%#*in DUDE!"
and "yaragagahhh!" sort of lose their charm.
No, the problem with the new no-yelling ordinance is, it
leaves very little room for creative interpretation and - as is usually
the case with totalitarian edicts that border on fascism - the new law
lacks finesse. So if you're out on the Hill this weekend, in the unfortunate
position of being young in a college town, you may find yourself suddenly
moved to holler. If you do, try yelling something interesting, something
with literary merit - like a well-crafted monologue, or perhaps a sonnet,
maybe a really good joke. Then, when you get ticketed, you can pretend
you're being persecuted for your art, and not just for your age.
Ukulele Loki, aka Aaron Johnson, is a Boulder resident and
the co-host of Radio 1190's "Route 78 West."