Utilitarianism, Jack-Hammers, and My Orange Duvet

When I saw flashing lights outside my bed room window at approximately 7:35 PM Tuesday night, I had to investigate.

No, it wasn’t a police car. It appeared to be some sort of block-traffic vehicle. Some construction workers were doing something to McCullough, maybe 30 yards from our house. Cute, I thought, with their lights and neon vests. I bet they are cold.

They were innocent enough, not making too much noise. I took this video:

Roy and I even did a drive by to check out the action. Just a couple of bro construction workers digging a hole or something. Nothing too outrageous for a Tuesday.

Fast forward a few hours and I’m snuggled in my bed at about 10:01 PM. The flashing vehicle is still there, and there are some construction noises happening, but I wasn’t bothered by them. It was a steady humming sound, kind of like a sound machine that helps put you to bed. Kind of like waves of the ocean. How lovely, I thought , as I drifted off to dream world.

How naive I was…..

I was shocked back awake at about 11:45PM to the sound of JACKHAMMERING happening in what sounded like MY BEDROOM. Hardly believing this could be happening, I knew it had to be those construction bros. It was like they were literally JACKHAMMERING INTO THE STREET. Because, well, I think that’s what they were doing. At 11:45PM. On a Tuesday night.

Now I know ‘the ‘Cullough area is no residential oasis like Alamo Heights. But people LIVE on ‘the ‘Coullough (HIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!). You can’t just decide to jackhammer in front of someone’s house at night like that. I get that they were trying to avoid shutting down McCullough during the day for fear of traffic. But what about fear of WAKING UP A SLEEPING CHILD (ME! HI!). My alarm was set for 5AM. I was panicked.

My mind was racing. Did Roy hear this? I didn’t want to leave the warmth of my bed, so I considered texting her. But didn’t. I considered tweeting at Diego Bernal, my faithful councilman. But I didn’t know what good that would do at this point. And I really wanted to focus on trying to fall back asleep. Hint: a duvet + a Heart of the Hills Camp for Girls knit blanket over your head will not block out the sound of JACK-HAMMERING.  Especially if it’s happening 20 yards from your bed.


Eventually it stopped sometime after midnight…I didn’t check the clock because I knew it would stress me out. And low and behold I woke up at 5AM feeling okay physically as I always do. Because I’m not a quitter. (Mentally I was still pissed)

John Stuart Mill just loves utilitarianism.

I find this whole situation very interesting. I often subscribe to the utilitarian philosophy that whatever provides the most good for the most people is an acceptable choice. Let’s go with the premise that this spot of McCullough needed immediate attention. Would shutting down a small section of McCullough for a few hours during the day have wrecked havoc on more people then people who’s sleep would have been ruined by the night time terrorizing? If so, then theoretically I should be OK with getting woken up because this is the choice that is the best for the largest group of people.

But being a human, I have to take my wants/needs into consideration.

What do you think? Should I be sacrificing my comfort for the good of the City? Or is it reasonable to ask decision-makers to jackhammer in the early afternoon? Or after the surrounding schools are out?

–x0x0x your everyday martyr


2 thoughts on “Utilitarianism, Jack-Hammers, and My Orange Duvet

    • Hahaha so true. Jackhammering in Mexico isn’t as bad cause you’re right its the Mexican version… and when you’re in Playa I think a little jackhammering can be over-looked.

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