By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
DEAR MEXICAN: My wife (who's a half-Mexican LA native, just so you don't think we're a couple of white, hipster dickheads) and myself (who's white, but an immigrant, so I hope that lowers my dickhead factor a little) have had it up to our orejas with our Hispanic neighbor's music. He plays it so loud that being in our living room is akin to being in a bass bin filled with tubas. I have asked him directly (at 11 p.m. on a Sunday) to turn it down, which he did, but now every time he sees us come home, he either starts it up or cranks it up if it's already playing. The thing is, he's not having a fiesta. Ever. He's a sad little man sitting all alone in his garage, getting drunk and scrolling through his iTunes. I don't want to hate this sad, little man, but it's getting out of hand.
Our Mexican friend informed us that the music he was playing was El Salvadorian and "really ghetto." I'm not sure of the genre or origin myself, but it sounds like banda and cumbia made with a cheap Casio, packaged with low-res artwork, and possibly sold at truck stops. See how depressing this is getting? If I were to blare the traditional music of my homeland at earsplitting volume every night, people would be burning effigies of Rush on my doorstep without blinking an eye.
I don't want or need silence. I love music; I'm a musician myself. I just want to be able to have a drink and a smoke with my wife in our yard without having to yell over his music. Can you suggest a good approach to get him to turn it down? Call the cops? I'd rather not. Fight fire with fire? I have access to a PA system that could bury the whole block, but I'm not that guy. He's that guy. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Not That Guy
DEAR HOSER: You say you're not a pendejo hipster, but then you prove yourself otherwise. Trotting out your half-Mexi wife as proof that you're not racist is the first indicator (don't you know Mexicans are the biggest racists against Mexicans?), then you say your tormenter listens to "El Salvadorian" music, a genre that must exist alongside "Britishtarian" at your local record store. Despite being a musician, you can't distinguish between banda and cumbia, even though the former is a genre while the latter is a rhythm, and then speculate that the music is piratería—as if that's somehow shameful. Then you top it off by name-dropping Rush—pinche pendejo gentrifying hipster!
Despite all these sins, I do feel for you. Your vecino is an asshole, especially after you've asked him politely to turn the volume down, and he now cranks it up as a chinga tu madre to ustedes. Calling the cops is a waste of everyone's tiempo, and I'm tempted to tell you to learn how to conduct conversations at ear-splitting volumes as would any good Mexican (ask your wife). But, still: You asked nicely, and the neighbor's a dick. So do what any Mexican once spurned would do: Call la migra.
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DEAR READERS: As usual, gracias again for a wonderful 2012. Without your eternal love, hate and purchases of my books, I'd be just another Mexican working in an industry that's going the way of the Olmecs. Feliz Año Nuevo, and to a chingón 2013!
This column appeared in print as "Special Year-End Edition."