Kathy Adams

Photo by Austin Pacheco on Unsplash

Dear Gabby,

My neighborhood is full of feral children who have absolutely no respect for adults or property around them. All day every day sounds like recess on the last day of school, with kids screaming nonstop. One of the kids even sounds like a death metal singer, growling at top volume for no apparent reason. I don’t like death metal. What can I do?


I Like Quiet

Gabby: Dear I Like Quiet: I like quiet too. But quiet kids usually means trouble. If kids are noisy, they’re just being kids. No cause for concern there. But if they’re quiet, one of them just told the others that a catapult is a device meant to fling cats long distances. They’re probably figuring out how to do this, right now. This is when you should be concerned.

ILQ: That’s the parents’ job. But I want the kids to shut up, or at least play more quietly, at least some of the time. I cannot tell them to shut up because this is verboten; just read any other advice column about dealing with other peoples’ kids. Saying anything to someone else’s children is almost as bad as showing up at their house with religious pamphlets.

To make matters worse, not one of the parents ever says a peep, even when the kids scream right in front of them. It’s mind blowing. And I can’t tell the parents to ask their kids to be quiet, either. It’s like parents live in some bubble where their kids (and only their kids) rule the universe: The horrendous noise emanating from the scream holes on these little eardrum piercers doesn’t exist in the land of offspring, and neither do we non-breeders.

Gabby: Yeah, well… Kids do rule the universe. Do you remember what it was like when you were a kid?

ILQ: Yes. We weren’t allowed to be loud at home, only at the park or on recess. And if any kid screamed, they better be injured or in serious danger because every adult was on high alert. And this is just how I feel now — if I hear screaming, I think something is wrong. Nope, it’s just a happy kid screaming bloody murder for no obvious reason. How am I supposed to tell the difference without constantly looking out the window? Also, I don’t want to tell the difference. I don’t want to hear screaming. Ever.

Gabby: Just let the parents handle it.

ILQ: They don’t handle it, this is the problem.

Gabby: Talk to the parents about it.

ILQ: We’ve already covered this. I can’t. The parents are oblivious. Plus, I don’t want them to look at me like I’m some old curmudgeon. I’m not old yet. And I’m certainly not a curmudgeon. Am I?

Gabby: No. Well, at least not if you’re a female.

ILQ: Great. That settles that. But what am I supposed to do about these kids?

Gabby: Move.

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