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In my perfect world, there would be no audible evidence that people were having fun at the cottage. 

There would be no children crying and screaming, no teenagers hooting and hollering, and no one, regardless of age, laughing or shouting. 

I could sit on the dock reading literature without fear of being distracted by idiots laughing while they slap noodles against the lake, which is simply not funny, or screaming with joy as they’re thrown from a inflatable donut being pulled behind a very loud speed boat into the lake.

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It’s not that I’m against fun: it’s just that I don’t understand why you have to be loud in order to prove that you’re having it. 

When I’m at the cottage—a simple-yet-beautiful cedar cabin owned by family friends who let Simon and me stay there pretty much whenever we want; the one that I haven’t paid a cent to maintain; the one that has indoor plumbing, not to mention every amenity one could desire—I want to feel like I’m convening with nature. The only noise is the sound of ice being swilled in my Aperol spritz. 

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If there’s conversation—of the civilized sort, like a discussion of Thoreau’s work or who was last to get knocked out of Ru Paul’s Drag Race—on the dock during cocktail hour or in the screened-in porch during dinner, neighbours aren’t able to hear it because no one is yelling. Same with music and movies: if Bach’s partitas and sonatas or DMX is playing in the kitchen while I prepare afternoon snacks, or we're re-watching a Cher movie late at night, no neighbour is the wiser because nothing is being blasted.

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Turns out I’m not the only sane person who visits cottage country. 

“Myers Lake in the Township of Georgian Bay has extended the region’s existing noise bylaw into the daytime, effectively asking cottagers to keep quiet 24 hours a day,” CTV News reports. “That means no loud music, no singing, no screaming, no whistling.”

“‘If you go to a hotel are you allowed to make this kind of noise? If you got to another resort are you allowed to make this kind of noise? No,’ Mayor Larry Braid, while noting that the main problem seems to be loud stereo systems, not necessarily loud people. ‘I don’t imagine our bylaw officer is going to give someone a ticket just for singing,’ he told CTV Barrie.”

I think Mayor Larry should reconsider that: there’s absolutely no need to sing at the cottage. And if you do sing, you should face the fine that other noisemakers do, which is $180. 

Before the bylaw was amended, you could make noise between 7:00 in the morning and 11:00 at night. That is 16 hours of noise, aka too much. 

Of course, a 24-hour noise ban is completely ridiculous. Much more reasonable would be to allow loud noise—including laughter, singing, and frolicking in the lake—between 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. That’s a full 30 minutes, aka more than enough time to make some noise.

For the other 23.5 hours, take a page from Thoreau: “Talk of mysteries! Think of our life in nature - daily to be shown matter, to come into contact with it - rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! The solid earth! The actual world! The common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? Where are we?”

Now that is what you call having a good time!

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