Wednesday, February 15, 2006

car alarms

A medieval cart. Note the civilized lack of a car alarm.

The other night I was awoken by a car alarm. It must have been about two o'clock in the morning and the whistling and squealing went on and on for some time. Obviously the owner of the car was far away and oblivious, perhaps drinking in some loud throbbing frat boy bar or sleeping soundly with high-quality earplugs that he or she had had bought with great forethought, in case his or her own alarm would go off and disturb his or her beauty sleep.

Now, the population density in Manhattan is about 70,000 a square mile. Let's be generous to our car owner an imagine that the alarm was only audible for half a square mile. So because one person feels that his or her car security is so terribly important, 35,000 people are shaken out of their slumber. What an appropriate symbol for our self-centered, narcissistic and materialistic society. Oh, a car alarm! How cool! What do I care about the other 34,999 people around me?

How can a car alarm that goes on for a half hour protect your car? Obviously no one cares, or they would turn it off. If I were a car thief, I would seek out cars with alarms that sound for more than a minute -- I'd know the owner was far, far away. Think on that when you leave your car alone, the alarm armed and ready.


Chris T. said...

I lived and studied in Russia for three months, and car alarms were getting very, very popular in our little provincial city right around the time I lived there. It was pure torture.

Of course, the idea of turning off cell phones during movies or, say, at the opera at still not occurred to a lot of people then, either.


Liam said...

It's funny, right after I posted I thought of the cell phone at theatre parallel as well.

*double sigh*

lullaby said...

noise pollution. terrible.
just out of curiousity, have you ever seen a Hummer in NYC? those things are just pollution, aesthetic and otherwise.

Liam said...

Primo, they have stretch hummers in NYC.