bunt sign

Saturday, March 24, 2001

I've always been hypersensitive to strange noises. It's one of the things that made living in the city such a drag. I could never stand to hear something and not know the source. When you live in a duplex, with an apartment building out your back window and a house full of teenagers across the driveway, there are too many distracting sounds. I was never fully relaxed, the whole twelve years I lived there.

It's no wonder I slept so badly there. It's quieter out here in the country, but it's not silent. And many of the sounds I hear are unfamiliar. I'm used to the birds by now, and the wind whistling through the trees, and the creaking of the boards in the house. The traffic on the road across the field from my bedroom window is the kind of background noise it's easy to ignore. (This is why it's so hard to figure why I don't sleep better here.)

The noise that woke me up this morning was a loud "ping." I couldn't tell what direction it was coming from, or if it was inside or out, even after I heard it the second time about a minute later. It was about seven o'clock, and it woke me from a sound sleep that had lasted only about three hours at the time. That's the main reason I wasn't inclined to get up and investigate. I rolled over and went back to sleep.

My irrational thoughts at the time were that it was a bird hitting the satellite dish, or a coil on the refrigerator snapping. When I finally got up and remembered that something had happened, it was too late to figure out what. It obviously wasn't either of the possibilities I'd considered in my earlier befuddled muddle.

It was something, though. I wouldn't have allowed myself to wake up enough even to think about it if I hadn't heard something that made an impression on my unconscious brain. I wonder why I chose to ignore it instead of peeking through the blinds and around the drapes throughout the house.

Even in the city, I never really worried about the cause of the noise, or believed something needed my attention. I never had the sense that someone was breaking into the house, or doing any damage nearby enough for me to hear. I just hated being at the mercy of other people, didn't like having the sonic overflow of their lives jangling inside my brain. I needed to pinpoint the source, so I could direct my anger. That's all there was to it.

I never got to know most of my neighbors there, but I was aware of their habits, their comings and goings, because the sounds they made put me on the alert. Yes, I was one of those snooping neighborhood characters who had to know what was going on all around.

So wouldn't you think when I heard a strange metallic sound in the middle of the night, I'd be up and investigating without even thinking about it? If I'd heard the same thing a year ago, at the old place, I wouldn't have slept until I'd exhausted every possible explanation. I'd have been bouncing around the house, probably pounding on walls or slamming doors. My temperament was as edgy as the city outside my window.

Here I'm as serene as the waving grasses and chirping sparrows that I share this place with. The only sound that gets me up and running is the starlings gathering in the side yard. I'm at the window in a flash, chasing them off. Other than that, I can't be bothered with fussing and fidgeting over every little bang, clang or ping in the night.

The ending of What Lies Beneath, which I watched on pay-per-view today, almost made up for the tedium of the first hour and a half. I wanted to be scared by this movie. I knew what the director, Robert Zemeckis, was going for, but I found most of the red herrings and misdirections more annoying than frightening. More than once I could see what was coming, set up with such blatant contrivance that I groaned, "Oh, please." The music cues and sound effects conveyed the mood more chillingly than anything in the action. The end titles felt more ominous than half the movie.

I do like the double-entendre title, though. It's the kind of clever wordplay I try to come up with to title my journal entries, and so rarely achieve.

On the other hand, I watched Flawless tonight on Showtime and loved it. The relationship between Robert DeNiro, as a bigoted ex-cop recovering from a stroke, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, as his transsexual vocal coach, is the kind of scenario that makes film such a unique art form. How these two come to tolerate each other is a portrayal of the most hopeful side of human nature.

everything grows, even the front doormat

Mom and I went visiting today. Some friends have a Nordic Track they're ready to part with, and she wanted to try it out and see if it might help her get back in shape. She has back problems that keep her from walking as much as she used to, and her step machine doesn't really challenge her, so we took a look at this device.

It was a little too much for her, though, and it would have taken up too much space in her mobile home. It would have been like having a pet elephant; you can never quite forget it's there, even when it's asleep.

Me? I never even gave it a thought. I know I need exercise, but I have a stationary bike sitting in the garage that served as a clothes rack for the last year it resided at the old house. I have enough closet space here at the Fortress, thanks. I don't need any more decorative gym equipment. I'd rather run up and down the stairs a few times.

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