The East County valleys are alive with the sounds of Christmas. Most of it is joyous. We hear the music of the season, church bells and Salvation Army bell ringers, children's laughter, and other sounds of pleasure. But there's a downside, too.
Some of the sounds of the season can be annoying. The constant repetition of old music, out of control kids screaming, radios blasting bad music, loud commercial pitches...
East County shoppers talked about the sounds of Christmas, both good and bad. Easily, the biggest complaint is that every year it starts earlier and earlier.
"My boss now starts singing Christmas songs in October," said Brentwood's Treasure Carlson. "I'm just not ready for it until December. I like Christmas, but I don't want the run-up beginning until we're closer to Santa's arrival. Two months of it are a bit too much."
Paul Larricq of Brentwood feels the same. "You get tired of the music after a couple of days. It's non-stop repeating the same old songs," he said. "But I go with the flow. I understand that not everyone likes the same kind of music."
Brentwood's Homer Williamson's beef is over people who want to inflict their taste in music on others. "It happens all year round, but it gets much worse now with people blasting their tastes on car radios. And I can't stand it when people honk their horns in parking lots as they fight for a space to park," he said.
"The music is wonderful, all of it." countered Brenda Lane of Antioch. "The sounds that bug me come from kids screaming for cookies or toys," she said. "I think that drivers honk a lot more during the holiday season. People seem to be more impatient and rude."
Randy Raffette of Bethel Island is annoyed by the nonstop blaring of Christmas music in shopping areas. "I like the season but don't like it when religious people get overly enthusiastic. Bell ringers bother me. I support the cause but don't want it hammered at me," he said.
"I love the Salvation Army bell ringers," said Andrea DeSimone of Discovery Bay. "Actually, I love all the holiday sounds, but they really should wait until after Thanksgiving. The only bad sounds I can think of come from noisy toys they sell to kids who keep begging for Santa to come early."
"Most of the music is OK, but it starts too early and I can't stand Christmas songs done as rock and roll or rap," said Maggie Murphy of Oakley. "Other bad sounds come from impatient and rude divers."
Rochelle Peek of Rio Vista also hates rap Christmas music. "It makes no sense at all," she said. "The other bad sound comes from screeching kids. Too many people are short-tempered and get disgruntled at this time of the year."
Ken Brown of Martinez has two complaints about Christmas season sounds. "TV commercials can be blaring and very annoying. The ones I really don't like always sound louder. My other complaint is about kids in restaurants at this time of year. They always get louder too."
"I love it all. I'm a kid at heart," laughed Connie Miller of Brentwood. "It's great hearing the same old songs. I sing along with them. I sing those same Christmas songs over and over to my grand children. But I would prefer the festivities hold off their arrival until at least a day or so before Thanksgiving."
Contact Ed Arnow at BrentwoodBuzz@aol.com.