Life Advice



Ask Amy: Nature lover seeks noise cancellation

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Not Inclined: My time on this earth has been long enough that I’ve seen two iterations of this problem – first in the ’70s/’80s, with the rise of the mighty “boombox,” and now with the prevalence of personal Bluetooth speakers.

Back in the boombox days, cities started enacting and enforcing noise ordinances (especially on public transportation). That, and the rise of the Walkman, seemed to finally bring on the sounds of silence.

Little did any of us realize that we would look back on the last three decades as halcyon days of relative quiet.

Like you, I don’t understand the impulse to share one’s music with strangers (perhaps readers will weigh in to explain), and yet they do – contributing more noise to an already noisy world.

Yes, there is a polite way to ask someone to turn down their music (“Would you mind turning down your music?”). And yet – the important question for you to answer for yourself is whether it is safe to do so.

It seems that people who blast music while in public are finding ways to dominate the space, and it is not always wise to confront this sort of dominance.


Your town and local park system might find it appropriate to enact (or enforce) rules regarding noise pollution. You would be doing your neighbors a favor by taking up this cause to these governing bodies.

Dear Amy: My husband and I have seven adult children: Two are his, four are mine, and one is “ours.” All are estranged at this time.

I worded my will that the estate is to be divided equally among the children who can show they have been in contact with me within the last six months.

That can be through phone records or texts or word of mouth from the others. Estrangement is a disease in my family.


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