Did my neighbors just have a block party?

Published April 5, 2020

Yesterday afternoon, I’m sitting in my back yard reading a book when I hear live music coming from what I assumed was a garage band I’ve heard before in the neighborhood. I thought, this is great. I get to hear a live concert in my own back yard on a nice day when I have nothing else going on.

Then the music stops and a guy says into the microphone something about, I thought, this being a concert for the neighborhood. I thought, that’s cool. Only in California. Then he told people to come out of their homes, grab a lawn chair and a beer, and party with their neighbors. “I’m tired of being cooped up in the house!” he said.

I wasn’t sure exactly where all this was coming from, as the location of our yard and the height of our fence allow us to see only a sliver of the street.

Soon the music became very intermittent, with gaps of silence punctuated by continued pleas from the guy at the microphone for people to come out of their homes and party. As it got late in the day and my back yard got a little chilly, I went inside. I couldn’t find “party central” looking out any of our windows either. I’d have to go out of the house to see what was going on, which I had no desire to do, as I didn’t feel like engaging with anyone during a pandemic, and I’m not very social to begin with.

As the night wore on, I heard the music pick up, more people talking, kids playing, and frequent chatter from the guy with the microphone, although inside the house I could not make out what he was saying. All I could think was: Are these people really having a block party?

If it was a block party, I would like to think people maintained the six-foot distance recommendation, that they brought their own beer, maybe wore masks and gloves. I doubt it, but even if they did, was that still a good idea? I know it was Saturday night, but do people really need to socialize that badly? It’s only been a couple of weeks. Are people that stir crazy?

Of course, if I really wanted to know, I could have walked outside last night and seen for myself. If my wife had been home instead of working, and if there wasn’t a pandemic going on, we probably would have checked it out. It sounded like one hell of a party.