The perfect neighbor next door is a huge problem.
He has a lovely family.
They visit ALL the time, have family celebrations for every possible event.
The grandchildren visit—almost every day after school—and get to know each other and their grandparents.
In fact, is it exactly the big happy extended family I grew up in: lots of kids, adults playing with them, cheering them on, always in watchful attendance lest the kids get on anyone else’s lawn.
I envy them.
And I hate them.
These two statements are NOT related: I don’t hate them because I envy them, though OUR offspring 1) haven’t produced even a wedding between them (and I honestly don’t care if they ever do—it is entirely their own business. I tell them so repeatedly, and I mean it), and 2) won’t be near enough (sob!) for us to see them regularly if and when they do, as they are unlikely to live within geographically convenient distance of each other or of us.
I hate the wonderful neighbors because they are NOISY. (And no, not because the many extra people park in front of our house on the very tiny bit of street we have. Really.)
Noise – suburban necessary noise?
Not only because of the industrial-strength gas-powered leaf blower (which is brought out before each and every family gathering so remove each and every gumball from the lawn, and remove each single leaf). And EVERY evening, even when dark and covered with snow (the leaves from the oaks and the gumballs from the sweetgums sit on top of the snow – the trees cheerfully release them all winter long) after the neighbor gets home from work.
Not only because of the interminable lawn-mowing – let that poor grass get more than a quarter of an inch tall and it might fight the weeds off better!
Not only because of the endless tree-trimming – several days a year, at even higher levels of cutting noise and chipping machines.
But because of the Basketball of Doom.
They have many grandsons. Three or four dozen, from the noise level. I think I’ve seen at least one granddaughter – poor kid.
But one of the little tykes is absolutely relentless with that ball. Bump. Bump. Bump. For hours. Right outside my window (when they aren’t seeking it in my flower beds – relatively rare, thank God!). In the street – which is why their extra cars are parked in front of MY house: the basketball area must remain free. Bump. Bump. Bump.
He is good, I’ll grant you that. VERY good. That basketball shoots up at least three times higher than he is, and into the basket a goodly percentage of the time. Maybe a third, maybe more. His little cousins – bless their little hearts – and his big cousins and the grownups, are not as good. So there are spaces between their bumps. Which doesn’t make it any better.
But the tyke is good. Bump. Bump. Bump. Throw – hit rim or basket with loud bump. Bump. Bump. Bump. Throw – hit rim or basket with loud bump. Amazingly, he is perfectly generous, and shares. So the pattern alternates with the slower one. Unless he’s alone. It takes PRACTICE to get that good. RELENTLESS practice. When does the kid have time to read, I ask you?
I know part of it is my fault. For living. For having CFS and brain fog that won’t let me automatically block out noise. For not living in a bunker somewhere. Underground.
I won’t mention the laughing. That is ‘happy noise.’
And when it isn’t basketball, it is the skateboard. For which grandpappy has put up a ramp… The swishing sound of wheels on macadam. The swishing sounds of wheels on a short wooden ramp. Large Bump! as it comes off. The swishing sound of wheels on macadam… You get the picture.
I love those happy little kids. My mother never minded happy noise.
And now they are playing baseball. Crack of bat! Yelling. Bump bump bump of the little ball in the street. Repeat. Again.
I reach for my industrial-strength noise protection gear WITH earplugs. I listen instead to the quiet regular sound of my own heartbeat in my ears. It gets down to a slow regular rhythm reasonably quickly.
I thank God that my hearing is still excellent. I can write again.
Person turning into old curmudgeon.
P.S. Honestly, if it weren’t practically every day…
P. P. S. They have finished eating. Bump. Bump. Bump. He must be about 7. It is many long years before he goes to college…
P. P. P. S. They also chase the hummingbirds away – the cute little things don’t like the noise or the closeness of the little tykes, either.