This is the internet weblog of Bix Frankonis.

Re: Greetings from The Fixin’ To

Below is the text of an email I sent to The Fixin’ To, a local venue just over a block away; they’d taped to the main house out front a letter of outreach to their neighbors.

Let me say first off that I’m not writing to you in opposition of your pandemic concert plans. But in the spirit of neighborliness exhibited by your outreach, I did want at least to relate my own story.

When the pandemic lockdown landed last year, it coincided with the start of housing construction immediately next door to me. Unable to go anywhere else, I was stuck all day, every day, being subjected to construction noises.

I am an adult autistic, with sensory issues.

The reality is that your October/November “fishbowl” experiment nearly sent me into sobbing breakdowns (it did send me into at least one screaming meltdown), having to suffer both daytime construction noise from one side and then nighttime amplified music rumbling against the other side. (I live just several houses down Jersey.)

Don’t get me wrong. Just as the pandemic was hitting, I’d been reading A Song For A New Day by Sarah Pinsker, literally about what happens to live music in a country that suffered a pandemic but never lifted the restrictions. Back in the day (I moved here in 1997), I did my fair share of time following parts of the local music scene, starting with attending shows at the late, lamented, all-ages venue 17 Nautical Miles.

I will freely admit this: when I spotted your outreach letter, I had a gut-level, instinctual reaction that I needed to oppose this latest move.

Instead, I just wanted to offer some context. Not to throw a wrench into the works, but because as someone with an invisible disability, my concerns often don’t register on anyone’s radar unless I swallow my anxiety and raise my voice.

To be honest, much of what stopped me from opposing the current plan is that housing construction next door effectively is done, and should be actually done pretty soon. Not counting the occasional days of heavy circular saw use by the neighbor behind me, my immediate surroundings at home should once again be reasonably quiet during the day, granting me some respite.

I do encourage you on one thing, however, for my sanity’s sake: no last-minute show announcements. One thing that greatly helps me manage and mitigate sensory hells is knowing in advance when they are coming.

If you can stick to a clear schedule planned in advance, it at least gives me some small degree of psychological heads-up.

Good luck.