Jet engines got nuthin’ on Noise Polluters

Peace and quiet in nature.

Remember the days when you’d go on a hike or stroll in a park, in the hills, around a lake and contemplate? Destress? Simply: Breathe and Be.

Or simply enjoy the song of Mother Nature: her winds, her birdsong, her rustling of leaves and twigs by the scampering of unseen creatures?

Remember the days when Nature was our source of solace? Of Space? Of Solitude?

Those days are o-v-e-r.

To illustrate from only the most recent of experiences.

I park in the dirt lot near the trailhead.

Next to me a woman exits her car. Steps to the rear, lifts the hatch then barks: “WAIT!” {pause}

Two dogs come bounding out. One large one small. All super-excited and ramped-up about their impending walk.

Each dog’s leashed. The lady struggles to control their stir-crazy enthusiasm. Especially the dog’s who’s bouncing my direction. Fortunately she pulls him/her before I’m assaulted by an unfamiliar canine.

What’s remarkable in this otherwise un-newsworthy scene is:

She’s got her cell phone glued to her ear! Talking!

The entire time!

From when she exits the car to leashing and letting out and “controlling” rambunctious canines, she never sets the phone down. Never misses a beat of conversation.

Which, from what I overhear, without consent or desire, is typical drama-ridden world-revolving-around-me-nobody-else-exists-selfish BS.

She keeps on talking with phone propped by left shoulder against her ear through it all.

I stand waiting between the cars while she reins in her dogs so I can safely pass. I look directly at her. “Looks like the most important thing is to take care of the dogs” — or something to that effect.

Meaning: In the mayhem, your top responsibility is getting the dogs organized and under control in the presence of another human being (stranger).

Rude Lady with Unruly Dogs nods. Yet her actions speak differently. Being on her phone is priority.

Despite the fodder for an endless regurgitation of Shit Behavior by People on Phones, I give you this, the crux of the reason this bothers me so very much:

The lady didn’t shut the fuck up. Even in nature.

Every-fucking-where you go, there they are. Talking on phones. Despite signs that instruct otherwise. On their phones in the most inappropriate of places (i.e., bathroom stalls). In the most sacred of spaces and places.

But you know all this.

I go hiking to get away from people on phones.


Respite. Rest. Relaxation.

How foolish am I?!?

Yet there I am — hardly for the first time, I’m sickened to say — seeking solitude and quietude that only Mother Nature can provide. Only to have it ruined, in this instance, by the Rude Lady with Unruly Dogs.

The face may change but the song stays the same.

There’s a very significant reason I need that walk in nature on this particular day. Won’t share why, only that it has to do with death.

That Rude Lady with Unruly Dogs and I are heading to the same trail.

I’m not about to endure her obnoxious Me-Me-Me when I need the space and silence — so. very. strongly.

So short of yanking her phone and stomping on it — better yet, smashing it with any of the innumerable large rocks yearning to be put to good use! — I do the only thing I can do legally:

I run.

(p.s. I’m not a runner, rather a swimmer.)

Over the rocks and through the woods to Mother Nature’s house I go.

I run as fast as my old little legs and worn New Balances and right ankle, still hurting from a recent severe sprain, would take me.

I run ’til my breathing labors as do ears for any sound of Rude Lady.

That’s one more thing that people on phones DON’T SEEM TO KNOW — or care about; they certainly don’t respect it:

Sounds are amplified in open space in nature … and amid hills and canyons and valleys, they bounce about. The echo effect.

I run run deep into the hills, stopping only when intuition tells me I’ve put significant distance between us.

Finally: peace.

I never see — rather hear from — Rude Lady with Unruly Dogs again. When I eventually return to my car, she’s gone.

Too bad, really. I was gonna write a note for her windshield. Off the cuff, something like:

“There are many people who come to Mother Nature for many reasons. They are troubled. They are hurting. They are happy. They are exercising. They enjoy beauty. Whatever the reason, they all have one thing in common: They seek the peace and solitude that only nature can provide.

“You — and people like you — destroy it with your yammering on your phones.

“Despite our objections, you  won’t be deterred from polluting public spaces with your incessant self-involved talking. So can you draw from any decency that may be left in you and leave us in peace in the great outdoors. Respect us. Respect Mother Nature.”

The roar of jet planes got nuthin’ on these Noise Polluters. Seriously.

To them, I’d love to shout SHUT UP! from the mountaintops.

But they won’t hear it over their own damn voices.

Even Mother Nature herself must be sobbing. Such reckless disrespect by so/too many who revere their cells more than her spacious skies.

So if even the hills and trails, mountains and valleys aren’t safe from the Noise Polluters, where’s left to go for nature’s serenity?

It’s come to this:


my future home?