I live beneath a vacation rental. Sometimes the noise from the tenants is tremendous. Clomp clomp clomp, sprint back and forth! bang pots around, play the television so loudly that I can hear every word Meredith Grey says to her colleagues at the hospital.

I wear earplugs. And ear muffs I bought at a hunting store. Many decibels deadened. And yet I can still hear them. Wah wah wah wah, like the adults in the Peanuts comic strip.

It doesn’t matter what you do
they don’t care about you
It doesn’t matter how you feel
they don’t care about you
It doesn’t matter what you say
they don’t care about you
They do not care about you.

That voice – I heard it distinctly this morning, full of schadenfreude: mean and smug with a nasty overtone – I have believed that voice for most of my life. It’s in my head. Which means:
~I don’t express my feelings
~I don’t defend myself
~I don’t speak up
~I don’t leave.

I tolerate
…and tolerate
…..and tolerate
…….and tolerate

until I crash and burn, poisoned by noise and other people’s bad behavior.

And they are oblivious, mostly.

Why am I so polite? Who am I protecting by not speaking my mind?
Why protect them, and not me?
Why not me?
Waiting for someone else to care is a waste of my time.

But today I heard that voice, that “They don’t care about you” voice, for what it was:


Not fact. Just sounds.

It’s really none of my business whether anybody cares about me or not.
My business – my job – is to care about me, to care for me.

And sometimes that means speaking up:
“Get your hands off my body, Director.”
“No, that doesn’t work for me, Boss.”
“I don’t think so, Mom.”
“Turn that stinking generator off and move it away from my windows, Landlord.”

I need privacy. I need solitude. I need quiet. I need peace.
Which starts with me.

So, break the silence. Stop tolerating. State my needs. And then set about meeting them.

Hold on–

Okay, I’m back. I just went around the corner to explain to the new upstairs tenants that their floor is my ceiling and I’d appreciate it if their Ring Around the Rosie fell down outside. “Your hardwood floor amplifies everything,” I said.

“We’ll try to keep it down,” said one of the many adults apparently living there until Saturday.

I don’t think I said Thank you. I was over the edge. Noise scrambles my brain, makes it hard to breathe.

Swimming helps, except I’m afraid of the ocean, or rather the big predatory creatures in the ocean. Which is funny, because there are big predatory creatures walking around the land mass every day – humans. There are several stomping around above my head right now.

Meditation helps. Singing helps. Walking helps. The ocean definitely helps.
But mostly speaking helps.
Speaking my truth, whether anyone else cares or not.
Because I DO.


One thought on “NOISE

  1. “Noli illegitimi carborundum” [Don’t let the bastards grind you down]

    ‘This saying was popularized by US General “Vinegar Joe” Stillwell during World War II. He is reputed to have learned it from British army intelligence. In politics, the saying became motto for 1964 Republican nominee Senator Barry Goldwater, who hung a sign in his office. The word “carborundum” in particular was not of Latin origin. Carborundum is often represented as meaning grind, resulting in Don’t let the bastards grind you down. The correct translation is noli nothis permittere te terere.’ – from Wiktionary

    Cute bit of advice but not always easy to follow, I know. I too require solitude in order to deal with the daily “slings and arrows”, the endless rattle and hum of the city. As one of my gurus, Neil Young, wrote:

    “…Oh, this old world keeps spinning round;
    It’s a wonder tall trees ain’t layin’ down…”

    – from his song ‘Comes A Time’


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