Sunday, March 28, 2010

Shut me up

So here’s what happened:

I’m sitting in my third floor apartment reveling in the quiet--no one using the laundry room, outside a calm Great Barrington Sunday. Then I hear laughter and scuffling. Pretty soon there’s a small pack of teenage boys gathered in the alley/courtyard my apartment building shares with the back of the Mahawai Theater and the backdoors of the shops on Railroad Street. (And pack is really the right word).

The teens are clean cut enough, in jeans and sweatshirts, two wearing down vests. They are fake wrestling and playing hacky-sack with an empty Poland Springs water bottle, raising dust. I am immediately annoyed. They are full of energy and noise. Drunk? I wonder. But no cigarettes and two of them are knocking back water (which I realize from my own partying days could be anything). They don’t seem drunk anyway.

They are roughhousing and no one is falling or slurring. I conclude they must be tripping. What would a yell out of my window into the echoey alley sound like to them? But before I can do it, a woman across the way yells from her apartment window: “I’m going to call the police!” Thank god, I think, it's bugging someone else.

The boys don’t hear her. They look up like maybe they hear something. Finally, a ground-level shop owner comes out of his back door and shoos them away. “You guys can’t be back here,” he says. He’s not an unimposing guy. Bald. Big dark mustache. Long dark coat. I know him from town. Right on! I make a mental note to thank him later for saving my Sunday.

Flash forward three hours:

The quiet has returned save the hum of a far-off generator. I’m nursing a headache while I work on my laptop.

I then hear the beginnings of a light hip-hop beat. Music coming from someone else’s apartment I assume. Just behind the beat a wave of collective voices rises, some kind of chorus. It’s probably one of the body workers who has an office in my building, or maybe my sweet neighbor T. doing some peppy yoga to some tunes. Sweet or not, I am annoyed once again. The singing dies down then picks up. Seriously? I say out loud. I actually like the music, but I’m not going to admit that because someone somewhere is not thinking of their neighbors.

I crawl across my bed to look out my window, see if I can pinpoint where the music is coming from. I scan the apartments across the way, but movement in the courtyard catches my eye. And I have to put my glasses back on to confirm that there is, again, a pack of boys, the same pack of boys, only this time there are more of them, and this time they are not raising dust or kicking a plastic bottle back and forth.

They are dressed in jackets and ties. They are in a half-circle and they are bopping and bouncing to the beat of music. Then their voices start.


Last night when I was parking, I noticed the marquee at the Mahaiwe: “An Afternoon of A Cappella” with the Steiner School.

I know now who the troublemakers were. And why they were so full of energy. I am happy for them. Maybe even a little jealous. They are excellent and talented and they are about to perform!

So just shut me up.

1 comment:

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Your post was witty and thought-provoking. Yes, too often I found myself judging from the surface, until, like you, I scuffed my pride enough to teach me to look beneath the apparent.

As my half-Lakota mother often told me, "You must learn to be patient or you will become one."

Thanks for the obvious effort and thought you have put into your blog. If you like, come check out mine : WRITING IN THE CROSSHAIRS {as in a rifle's scope - we writers must learn focus.}

May your new week and month be healing. Roland