Saturday, March 22, 2014

Close Quarters

I’m writing this to the sound of drills and hammers and some screaming punk music.  I’d dig the screaming punk if it were mine, but it’s not.  It’s the neighbor’s.  And for some reason he keeps changing the song every 15 seconds.  I want to scream, “Just leave it, you fucker!”  It’s not even shitty punk -- well, okay, it is, but it’s shitty punk that I like.  The problem is it’s not mine and I’m forced to listen to it whether I want to or not.  To be honest, I was feeling in more of a Naked and Famous mood today, not fucking Suicide Machines.

Sorry for all the swearing.  I seem to feel swear-y when I’ve got a sleeping baby upstairs and the neighborhood seems intent on waking her up early.  The construction site next door is extra bangy, the neighbors are extra punky, everyone and their grandmother seems to be out driving their 8000 dB beater around with no muffler.

This is my life.  And I like it.

No, no really!  I do.  I like the borrowed punk music and the arhythmic hammering.  The loud cars I could do with out, I guess -- oh look, there goes one now.  Better go make sure the baby’s still asleep.

She is, miraculously.  She’s finally seeming to get used to the close quarters of affordable urban life.  I wish I could!  Maybe it’s reminding her of her first home, a tight little cocoon surrounded by the constant swish of blood and crush of noisy organs screaming out their daily grind.  The city is just one giant body, our own womb, noisy with the flow of arteries and the deafening beats of life.

Sometimes I feel smothered by all the noise and people and the fact that I can hear the intimate details of the lives of strangers.  And sometimes I feel exposed with the knowledge they can hear all of our fun moments too, like when the baby cries at 4 am or when I fall out of my dancer pose as I attempt a little livingroom yoga (because who has time to go to a real yoga studio!?).  

But sometimes I do see it in a better light.  Those moments when the hammering next door seems to line up perfectly with the punk music on the other side.  When the muffler-less cars sound like they’re at least 3 blocks away and heading in the other direction.  When the sky is blue and the mountains white and the leafless branches of early spring let all of the glorious sunlight through.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about attitude and happiness.  Happiness is a choice, and so is stress.  Most of us have so much to be thankful for these days, but it’s somehow easier to focus on what we don’t like or what we’d like to change and stress and stress and stress about it.  Some people (like me, I think!) are definitely predisposed to more stress, but it’s still a choice.  I can look at the noise of the neighborhood as an affront to my own personal peace, or I can just embrace it as another quirky part of my life.  Which would make me happier?  

I just introduced myself to my neighbor (“Hey how’s it going?  Beautiful day, eh?”), and he actually seems like a nice guy.  (newsflash: people who listen to punk can be nice! :) )  All of my other dealings with him have been “Do you really need to saw wood at 8pm?” or “Can you please turn your music down?” or just eye rolls and glares at the wall that divides us.  I wrap myself in the stressy, smug blanket of pissed-offy-ness and I never actually have to have a real conversation with him.

But, I haven’t been feeling super happy about that.  I actually felt quite happy to introduce myself to him on normal, neighborly terms.  After all, what’s the point of living in such a densely populated area if I’m just going to glare all the other people away?  (‘BitchBus, please keep back 50 feet’)  I’m going to choose to lose the glare and, hopefully, be a little happier with what I’ve got.  Because, what I’ve got actually ain’t all that bad.  It’s actually pretty rad.

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