Friday, April 2, 2010

All Life Is Local, debut column: A Chorus of Complaints

This is the premiere of a new feature on the Cleveland Park Listerv (, a column called All Life Is Local. It will appear every Friday and will be a sort of grab-bag of a column, with stories from the neighborhood, odd little quirks and anecdotes that people send in, and musings about this and that, not necessarily all neighborhood connected but all in some way adding a bit of flavor to the stew that is our local life. The inspiration comes from former House Speaker Tip O'Neill's observation that "All politics is local," but that's just a jumping-off point, as the column won't be limited to politics or even just to this particular local area. Today's column, for example, is more about Chicago than DC, but the subject is universal: Complaints. Of which there is no shortage here in Cleveland Park.

A Chorus of Complaints

Ever since Snowmageddon, I've been hearing a loud chorus of complaints: about snow, about cabin fever, and shoveling, and people who don't shovel, and people who save parking spaces with lawn chairs, and from those who put those lawn chairs in their shoveled-out spaces moaning that space-takers don't respect the amount of work it took to shovel out that spot. We've had complaints about city snow plows that never arrived, followed by complaints about the city snow plow that did arrive but left a giant snow barrier in its wake. You've read all these things and more on the listserv. (You haven't? Just visit Cleveland-Park and click on the "join this group" link at the top of your screen.) Add to that all the other complaints of everyday life, snow or no snow (late night noise, early morning noise, misdelivered mail, people with too many items in the 15-or-less line, signs that say "15 or less" when they should say "15 or fewer," -- the list goes on and on until life itself seems like one unending chorus of complaint. What if somebody were to put all those complaints to music? Make them sound nice by turning our whines into an actual song? Well, someone already has. And not just one somebody with one song but a whole lot of somebodies, enough to make up a choir. And not just one choir either, but a network of them from all over the world. Where and how? On the Internet, of course. (Isn't everything on the Internet?) Take Chicago's Complaints Choir, for example:

Want more? Pick your city or region from the main site of Complaints Choirs:

I like Philadelphia's Complaints Choir, and the one from the "As It Happens" Radio Show of Canada. But some of the videos on the site don't work – that's my complaint!

How can we get a complaints choir of DC? I'd organize one but I don't have a single one of the skills needed to assemble a choir, write and arrange the song, videotape the result and upload it to But somebody ought to do it! Isn't that the nature of complaints? That you always want somebody to do something? Until that happens, I hope these other choirs of complaint fill the void.


First published on the Cleveland Park Listserv,, on Feb. 26, 2010.

Send me your comments, complaints, compliments, funny stories, yada-yada: AllLifeIsLocal at fastmail dot net

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