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Small Talk: The noise of summer

I have always maintained that San Diego holds the title, at least nationwide, for the most cases of arrested development per capita. You know. The Peter Pans of the world who’d just as soon not grow up.

These are the infinitely charming guys who cannot resist the lure of a community that tolerates and even cultivates the endless summer.

If they live in Los Angeles, chances are they eventually get sucked up in the gotta-be-a-success vibe. But here, I have known (and dated) way too many men who are content to spend their lives pretending they are still 18.

They are every mother’s nightmare. You don’t want your son to turn into one and you live in horror that your daughter may fall in love with one.

They are always the favorite uncles. They are the ones who want to shoot off the fireworks. They are the ones who take off to Mexico spontaneously to camp, fish or surf. Never mind that you had something planned for three months. They are the ones who always own at least one electric guitar and a drum set.

And therein lies our focus of the day.

When it comes to drums, I’ll bet even the Native American moms wanted to run shrieking into the forest sometimes. The very word, drums, makes every mother’s heart tremble except for perhaps the likes of Ringo Starr’s. And don’t tell me she didn’t suffer long and well before he made it big.

In truth, the wilderness is pretty much where drums belong, unless it’s onstage or inside a soundproof studio somewhere. The noise level produced by drums was meant for basements, but as you know, Southern California has no basements and believe me, garage doors just aren’t the same thing.

But, it seems, at some stage of puberty, every child hears the siren’s thump. Mention the word drums and the eyes will light up on every teenager you know. Most move past it, and then there’s Peter Pan.

A few summers ago, just when you thought it was safe to open a window, the threat of drumbeats loomed large, courtesy of what had to be a member in good standing of the Peter Pan club.

There were plans suggested for a drum park being planned in Encinitas. Oh, I see. The ongoing noise pollution of various vehicles and leaf blowers wasn’t enough. He wanted an entire park devoted to noise.

How to handle the noise? Why all you need, this youthful optimist believed, is the right landscaping to absorb the sound. I remain utterly skeptical. He contended that drumming was the globe’s hottest scene, underpublicized and underappreciated now only because of buzzkills like me. That may be true and if it is, my work here is done.

The drum park never happened. There are enough party-poopers out there besides me who did not take kindly to the world of drummers regularly gathering in their backyard.

While it’s actually an amazing thing to consider, it still doesn’t make me feel like dancing.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer still kvetching about leaf blowers. Contact her at [email protected].