Having read the slew of letters, articles and editorials concerning noise pollution, I feel compelled to write. Trained as a psychologist, I am impressed with the parallels between an adjustment disorder and the reported reactions experienced by both friends and others living in the area. The stress of experiencing loud, disruptive and persistent noise from poorly or non-muffled motor vehicles can be a sufficient criterion for a diagnosis of adjustment disorder. The determining factor is the intensity of the reaction being seemingly out of proportion to the stressor. The vehicle driver and passengers may find the smell of exhaust and noise exciting elements of their red rock country experience. However, the Moab residents who were born or migrated here and did so in part for the serenity and rural nature that Moab once possessed, find the din abhorrent: the near-constant roar at times, the late at night or early morning auditory assaults that intrude into their once-peaceful neighborhoods, the loss of quietness. There is really a clash of cultures with great differences in expectations. There are hordes of visitors that accept that this is like Disney World and many who feel overwhelmed and caught in the cacophony. For the latter there is a dread of upcoming loud events, an irritation that lingers longer than the disruption itself, an avoidance of desert locales (or even backyards) that were once held dear, discouraging fears about what’s to come and considerations of displacing from home and social support to seek a quieter life elsewhere. Obviously, the former group will only increase. So what’s to be done? How can some balance be created? My belief and that of many of my friends and associates is the creation and strong enforcement of a noise ordinance that applies to all vehicles. Maybe a moratorium on allowing further mega-events. Both the county and the city ought to promote some sensible compromise that will satisfy the local population.
And how about the enforcement of that Dark Skies initiative?