It’s become an unofficial opening ceremony of Bluesfest, the clamour of noise complaints from neighbours in the vicinity of LeBreton Flats.

After two years of dealing with endless kvetching about rattling windows, lost sleep and deep tissue bass trauma, organizers have agreed to cap onsite noise levels at 90 decibels in hopes of keeping the onslaught to a dullish roar of 65 dB once it reaches the neighbours.

Skepticism rules, with locals doubting the measure will mitigate their 12-night sonic ordeal, and some festival-goers balking at the idea of a Kiss concert cranked only to eight-and-a-half or so.

The art of living in a city is, above all, the art of putting up with each other, and notably each other’s noise.

While we tend to think of noise as a mere nuisance, it can also be a health hazard, whether by disturbing our sleep or, as a 2006 World Health Organization study suggests, contributing to heart disease by stimulating the constant release of stress hormones.

I’m not the sort likely to complain about noise or be the target of complaints. I like my music loud and stupid, but I try to keep a neighbourly hand on the volume, which at least takes care of the loud. On stupid, I will not yield.

Possibly because of creeping hearing loss (see above), I’m not terribly sensitive to noise, but in the summer, with the return of motorcycles to city streets and open windows for those of us who prefer real air to air conditioning, irritants arise.

It seems every summer there’s something on my block in need of a good jackhammering.

And a special black pit in my heart is reserved for car alarms, the owners of which do not seem to realize that even if it isn’t a false alarm nobody is going to come running to the rescue of their RAV-4. If anything, after hearing the accursed thing sound off repeatedly all night, we’re contemplating how much applied baseball bat would be required to squelch that horrid, pointless racket once and for all.

Of course, that’s just the sleep debt talking, dear neighbour o’ mine.

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