As you may now, I live in a sleepy little town not far outside Amsterdam. A little over 100 meters from my apartment’s balcony is the Catholic church you see to the right – the Sint-Laurentiuskerk. It’s the new church in town; built in 1876. Across the canal and a couple blocks away is the old (now Protestant) church – the Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk. It was completed in the mid 15th century.
Every Sunday at 9:45am, the bells in both towers go absolutely bonkers. And it’s loud. It damned well will wake you up if you’ve slept that late. If you’re hungover, it’s a nightmare cacophony of maddening racket that will have you crawling under the bed.
I’ve determined that this call to the house of god is little more than an antiquated variety of SPAM, and should be illegal.
See, if you were to pick 20,000 E-mail addresses and send them disturbing, unsolicited messages once a week, you could get in serious trouble resulting in hefty fines. But if you irritate the fuck out of the same amount of people once a week with the kind of brain-cleaving cling-clanging that removed the alien symbiote from Spiderman and call it tradition? Oh, that’s fine!
Every Sunday, I end up pondering how this is somehow considered anything less than annoying (much less charming) in the 21st century. Would my neighbours be as charmed if I were to open all my doors and windows every Saturday morning at 9am and played Slayer’s Raining Blood (easily among the most irritating songs ever recorded) at top volume?
I fucking doubt it. In fact, I’m pretty certain the homeowners association would be on my ass before the second incident even took place.