The conspiracy reigns
I am convinced there is a signup list somewhere.
We have 7 neighbors on the Court, and 5 close ones on the street that backs up to ours. There are probably another 20 or 30 close enough to participate in their favorite activity, ‘torture Alicia while she is trying to write.’
How? Remember the list? It has 60 minute slots from 8am Saturday morning to maybe 6pm Sunday evening (or two hours after the end of daylight unless there are exterior lights), during which each neighbor is allowed to sign up, exclusively (and that’s the key), for lawnmowing. The idea is for the horrible racket of man’s best friend (the other one barks all night – I think there’s a list there, too, but not everyone has a dog), to be a continuous roar for the two weekend daylight hours, and make sure that only short breaks (for those whose lawns are too small to take a whole hour to mow, and who are too lazy to do it twice just to fulfill their time obligation (slackers)) are allowed to happen.
Requirements for membership
You ARE allowed to use a leaf-blower, edger, or weed-whacker outside your assigned time slot, or to finish using up your time DURING your allotted slot, so that the constant mowing note of one neighbor MAY be punctuated with other sounds at random. Extra points are earned (which I believe can be traded in for a more favorable time-slot the following weekend) when the weed-whacker is gas-powered or when you hit the fence slats repeatedly with the string cutter thingy, producing the lovely and desirable ‘washboard effect.’
You ARE allowed to turn your machine off periodically, ostensibly to refill it with precious fossil fuel, so that the tortured think, ‘Ah, it’s over!’ when, in fact, it is not.
The earlier slots are granted in order of horsepower, descending.
In all the years I have observed this ritual, I could count on the fingers of one hand the times when two or more of the shadow congregation were outside simultaneously.
Yup, it’s a few minutes before the noon-to-one slot, and there’s C’s lawnmowing service, turning up to un-cart their industrial mower, and be ready to start right on time.
My own husband, this very weekend, almost gave the whole thing away, when he incautiously asked if C next door had finished with the leaf blower, so he, B, could go out to mow our lawn.
Defense mechanisms for the writer
I have some. I’ve written about my industrial-strength hearing protection (Sensory Deprivation Tank). I should mention, though, that wearing headgear pressing in on your head for hours and hours while writing creates headaches.
And that when I take the naps require to support my filthy writing habit, wearing full headgear means it’s very hard to get comfortable.
We writers suffer for our habit – and for our readers.
It reinforces brain fog.
It makes it hard to focus.
It makes it unpleasant to write.
And it makes it possible for household members to sneak in (they claim they knocked) and touch my shoulder, and make me jump several feet straight up.
But I’m going to finish Pride’s Children regardless of the efforts of the shadow organization of neighborhood lawnmowers and commercial associates.
Just you wait.