Tuesday, November 10, 2009

File Under: My Hood

Our family just got back from a little sojourn to Austin, TX. I don't need to tell you Shiddy, that while Austin is riddled with rock bands, indie folk, students, and hippies of all sorts- it's home to some of the nicest people I've ever met. Within minutes of arriving there, people were initiating pleasant conversations with our toddler, giving us gifts, nodding their heads in sincere approval (of our life choices apparently?), and just being all-around accommodating.

Which brings me to the stark contrast that makes with my current 'hood.

Midwest Scenario #1: It's 9pm, my husband and I are quietly reading in bed. Off in the near distance we hear a clarinet playing Westminster Chimes. We look at each other and go back to reading. The "chimes" become obsessive, repetitive, strangely rhythmic. Suddenly, a 5-7 member drum circle joins the fray from across the street. We look outside to see a burgeoning group of amateur musicians on lawn chairs. Also in the works: a pair of random barking dogs (one pit-sized, one yippee) and then... a circular saw. Then there is a combo yawling/moaning/chanting happening that can only mean raw male bonding at its finest. We try our best to laugh it off. Update: that clarinet is STILL playing Westminster Chimes.

Midwest Scenario #2: 11pm, everyone is asleep. Shrieking emanates from the center of the four lane through-way directly in front of our house. This is not completely unusual, since we have the good fortune of living next door to a "Church House" (read: Flop House). The inhabitants of which, over the course of the last seven years, have held keggers and smokeouts and all means under the guise of holy bible study and extraChristian awesomeness. One favorite activity of theirs is a game my husband has affectionately named "Street Douche" which involves just standing in the middle of traffic screaming. When my husband or I have tried to engage them in logical dialogue regarding typical workday hours or noise levels or the trials of living with a sleeping infant, they've either been unbelievably clueless or offered a holier-than-thou/condescending excuse such as "Umm, well that was a REALLY important party where we were fundraising for Habitat for Humanity." Really? Really really? Community service with bongs? You people are out of school, with jobs (ostensibly)! How about you do my community a service and grow the hell up?

Midwest Scenario #3: 4am, I wonder why it is so goddamn quiet and why I cannot hear either of the two different types of buses (city, university), or the recycling truck, or the dumpster hauler, or the drunk driving drag racers, or the half-disabled crane that has been positioned near the abandoned house in the alley for the last six months pretending to do work. I get up to look out the window. It's snowed 21 inches overnight and the whole city is on shut down. That's why it's silent around here.

This is what I have to do to get some quiet in my neighborhood: invoke a fucking blizzard.

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