Last night while I was staring at my laptop trying to develop a chapter from the albatross of a novel I’ve been writing off and on for several years, a vehicle pulled up in front of my building with the radio blasting. The music being played was some kind of swinging dance tune with a repetitive mambo-like theme that didn’t go anywhere., it just repeated over and over. The volume level must have been at ten, it was extremely loud even with all the windows hermetically shut. After about half a minute I heard a woman cry out in some kind of excited, yet a bit reserved yelp of excitement, and she repeated her performance about two more times, once as they were driving off. It was as if they were trying to deliberately get the attention of the residents all around. Indeed, after two minutes of that nonsense I approached the window, and I noticed that some of the neighbors were on their balconies wondering what was the ruckus about.
I live on Hanrabedutyan Street, in central Yerevan, which is generally quiet in the evenings. At least it used to be before so many rich-bitch brats started driving expensive cars gifted to them by fathers and uncles that they never could have afforded otherwise. At all hours of the evening now you can hear horns sounding when a car is about to run the red light to warn motorists driving perpendicularly. They also make the point of driving down the street in the low gears to make the engine rev louder in a feeble, yet in-your-face way to show off. They don’t realize that they are not impressing, but are instead simply annoying anyone that bothers to be in ear’s reach.
About two weeks ago, at around 1:30 am (my wife claims it was later) two vehicles pulled up along the sidewalk on the corner and started dancing right below my balcony. They had opened all the doors of the tank-like Mercedes-Benz SUV they were driving to make sure the music was plainly audible for the entire neighborhood to wince in bed. They were playing this typical wedding music, with the drum, keyboards and clarinet; it was some riff that didn’t get anywhere, it just kept going on and on without ever seeming to end. Two guys were prancing about, evidently drunk, waving their arms above their heads. There was another car, a white Toyota sedan, parked just behind with the driver talking on the phone, refusing to get out. They were infuriating me and arguably everyone on the block that could hear them — it was difficult not to. Then one of the guys opened the tailgate wide and the license plate number was in clear view. It contained three “7s”, which meant that they were probably linked somehow to the mayor of Yerevan. Purportedly any car with a plate showing a series of sevens belongs to a member of his inner circle, or his crew.
My wife says that our neighbor who moved into the apartment directly above ours only eight months ago is a cop. In any case, those clowns were dancing and singing for what must have been twenty minutes. When I looked down below from my balcony one of them was looking up at me, but later I realized he wasn’t concerned about whether I was observing. At first I thought they were doing this simply out of entitlement, that they felt they could indeed get away with this behavior since they didn’t answer to anyone, placating their own egos and not giving a damn about what others thought or felt or whether their privacy was being violated.
It hit me that their actions were deliberate, that they were antagonizing the policeman. Just why they were doing so is anyone’s guess, but when they finally left it became clearer to me than ever that I or anyone for that matter living in this area is powerless to do anything about it. They simply do have the right because the law authorities cannot stop it, since that would mean challenging the former president directly, something no one would ever think of doing — not the neighbors, and certainly not the police. In other words, in such cases there is no such thing as employing self-empowerment.
It’s not possible to beat this behavior down directly, but through covert channels, such a victory can be won. Whether that can be accomplished through a change in power or by simply making a lot of noise in public forums in an attempt to embarrass the culprits and thereby thwart such ill-manners is up to the residents of this neighborhood.
But until something’s done to stop this foolishness, I realized that the only thing that I can personally do about it is to merely identify the problem. Let’s see what the good citizens of Yerevan will try.