Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ten Minutes: (Caution: This is a Rant...)

Suddenly I have this urge to pack up and move away from the home we've been in for the past 10 1/2 years. I think it's a manifestation of the repressed feelings I have about closing the restaurant. I'm sometimes dismayed to realize there really aren't any good memories associated with the restaurant, to speak of. It is so odd how I have simply closed the door on that chapter of my life and feel no need to revisit it. There is nothing to revisit but heartache and struggle, so I don't go there.

Most of the time, I don't even notice that I'm "repressing" anything. But there are times when I am out and about in town, when people recognize me from the restaurant and have to go on about how much they miss us and all that...I don't need to hear it. I would like the rest of the world to participate in my closure of that particular experience. Of course, they don't know that. And it is unerringly the people who were the most annoying as "guests" at the cafe who now don't have sense enough to walk away and pretend they don't recognize me when we encounter each other at the grocery store or at another local eatery. I know...this sounds crotchety, bordering on looney tunes. But this is my ten minutes, and I'll use it as I see fit.

The demise of the restaurant isn't the only thing that inspires my desire to abandon my house. I have a "neighbor situation" as well.

Now, I am fully aware that my neighbors, to anyone else, would seem quiet and untroublesome. But I'll admit right here that I am not the neighborly sort. Living on a large, strangely shaped corner lot, we don't really have any true "next-door" neighbors; except the dead ones. If it wasn't for the cemetery, we'd probably have one more set of annoying live neighbors than we now have. I appreciate my dead neighbors more than I can say.

Still, the times are a-changin' in our little neighborhood. "Disneyland" (as I have called the left-hand backyard neighbors) mysteriously vaporized just before Christmas. My poplar trees--the ones shielding their amusement park from my bedroom window view--were late to completely lose their leaves this year. And when they were gone, about mid-December, I happened to glance out my window and notice that the jungle gym, the trampoline, the burning barrel and the chicken coop--unending sources of irritation, all--were gone. And the house was empty. Which you would think would be a good thing, no? But I, ever the optimist, cannot help but worry about the succeeding occupants. Especially since the house appears to be owned/managed by the LDS church, of which our former neighbors were members. I have nothing against the Mormon faith, but its adherents do tend to produce large broods of children as a matter of churchly duty. And, in this day and age, you can just about count on children to be undisciplined, loud, and inconsiderate. Not their fault, but annoying all the same. So I live with some trepidation that the devil I DON'T know might be even less tolerable than the one with which I had previously been forced to cope.

My other neighbors had not really bothered me overmuch until now. Until I began spending my days at home instead of working twelve-hour stints at the restaurant. And it has come to my attention that the hard-working father--who is never home because he works all the time--is the keeper of his son, his son's wife and their children. The son--who looks to be early twenties or so, does not work. Nor does the son's wife. But apparently someone in the household has made enough money to furnish the place with a state-of-the-art home entertainment system. So at any random time of the day or night, I may hear, or rather, feel, the pounding beat of Mexican rap, or Spanish language television, reverberating through my house. With all the windows closed. And these homes are not built all that close together. One pleasant December afternoon just after Christmas, I was sitting out on my side deck when they decided to crank the stereo and open all the doors and windows. I screamed over the fence (not meaning to be rude, really, but I figured screaming was the only method of communication they would hear over the music) for them to turn it down, please. Whereupon they made some derisive-sounding non-English comments and turned it UP.

I really don't want to get into bad-vibe competitions with my neighbors. But me being me, it's bound to happen. I've always been a shy, inward person. I have never been comfortable dealing with other human beings unless it was on my own terms. My experience at the restaurant did nothing to change this. For five years, I had to manage the input of a restaurant full of strangers on a daily basis. It was hard for me. I never got used to it...never got to the point where I could do it easily, much less enjoy it. so now that I'm out of that situation, I'm even thornier than I was before. If I want people around, I'll go looking for them. But if I don't, I don't want them impacting my space in any way, particularly negative ways. Which can all be summed up in three short words. I. Hate. Neighbors.

So my dream right now would be to chuck the house and go find a piece of property where my nearest neighbors are...far enough away that I don't have to see, hear or socialize with them unless I want to. Preferably a place with plenty of birds, animals and ancient trees to keep me company. I think I could be happy there.

I also know that, the real estate market being what it is, and with a $40,000 second mortgage strapped to our backs, leaving this house is an impossible dream. Better come up with an alternate plan...


  1. RE: the neighbors.

    Is there a discrete way to find out if they rent or own the place. If they're renters, complain to the landlord. If they own, check with the local police about the noise ordinances in Scappoose. Sounds like they're already started the pissing contest. Their rights don't trump yours.

    As for the former customers. Don't know what to say. I guess say thank you while you keep moving.

    I was reading Rae Beth's Hedge Witch this weekend. We're coming up on Imbolc and Bride's spring cleaning time. Don't know if it will help but about this time of year Rae gets out her broom, writes little slips of paper the things she wants to change or leave behind and tosses them on the floor. After she sweeps them up, she burns them. Won't help with the noisy neighbors though.

  2. @Jackie--I've already figured out that I can't hope to change the neighbors; I can only change my reaction to them. The fact of the matter is that we all live in a relatively small area wherein there are packed a couple dozen homes. We're close enough that there's gonna be some "bleed over" from time to time, and I need to suck it up and accept that. But that doesn't mean I can't dream of having a place where this would NOT be the case...

  3. LIving with people under and over me, I can certainly understand the pain, real pain, when their obnoxious behavior steals from me the opportunity for peace and quiet. Meditation is almost impossible.... and my spirit aches for quiet and stillness. Instead my floor vibrates because no one thinks of anyone but themselves.

    My parents instilled in me respect for others, to not bother others. I guess that's a value that is lost today.

  4. Even though we're packed into relatively tight space, it seems the norm for many people to pretend that there's no one within 100 miles. My particular pet peeve in this department is the neighbors that have to fire up a lawn mower or leaf blower early in the morning or just as you're sitting down to enjoy supper on an outdoor porch. Ohhh...for the days when lawns were cared for with a push mower and a rake or broom.

    I'm with you, I would love to pack up and move to 40 acres in the middle of nowhere How lovely to live surrounded by nature and pure peace and quiet.