bunt sign

Wednesday, August 16, 2000

You'd think, wouldn't you, that knowing I'm getting out of this place in two weeks would help me cope with the noise. Why wouldn't I be more tolerant? In a short time this will be behind me, and some time after that, it'll be a story I tell. A memory, part of my personal history.

It's funny, though, the reactions I have. They seem to be on a sliding scale, up and down like all my emotions. They vary with the air temperature, or the number of hours of sleep I had the night before. The anger can be as intense as a firestorm, or it can flicker in the background like a votive candle, while I go on with my life.

Sometimes I'm under control, and I can manage my anger, even though I feel it. At other times, it floods through my body like the Russian River every February, over the banks, through streets, alleys, back yards and parking lots. Unstoppable, until it stops itself, leaving the damage behind as the torrent recedes.

Okay, maybe I went a little too far with that analogy, but still. I'm aware of my emotions, and I'm conscious of how destructive they can be when they're in charge of me instead of the other way around.

The Noisy family next door knows that I'm moving, but I don't know if they know the reason. When Fred brings people in to look at the house, he tells them that I work at home and do some writing, so I wanted a place that was a little quieter and more secluded. I'd have to guess he told the Noisies something like that.

He doesn't tell prospective tenants that I'm so hypersensitive to the slightest sound from the other side of the wall that I've lost all ability to concentrate, even when it's quiet. I've been hearing things that aren't there, even when I'm making enough noise myself that it shouldn't matter if anything's going on next door.

For example, let's say I'm watching one of those dramatic TV shows with an "alternative" music track. You know, maybe Paula Cole sings the theme song. Sometimes, behind a scene, a song that has a bit of a beat will be playing. Not much of a beat, of course, because we want the music to fit in with the angsty nature of the story line. Probably not even a drum, but maybe a nearly imperceptible bass line.

What do you think I do?

I hit the mute button. I hit the mute button to make sure that the gently thumping rhythm I'm hearing isn't coming from the other side of the wall. I miss some of the montage sequence (I love montage sequences) because I'm paranoid about someone else's noise intruding on my earspace.

How sick is that?

I really need to get out of here.

In two more weeks, I'll be free of this madness.

I wonder how long it will take me to grow disenchanted with the new place. Will something go wrong the first day, to make me regret moving before I start unpacking? Will something that doesn't bother me here drive me nuts over there?

Should I stop this before I borrow more trouble than I can pay back?

Here's some good news: The Boss is gone for the rest of the week. "Unreachable" is the word he used about his situation all day tomorrow. This could mean that I'll be bombarded with phone calls from people desperately trying to reach him. But I think he's prepared everyone for his absence, so it could also mean that I'll be free to get some work done. I have filing that goes back a month, and it won't pack well. If it doesn't get filed before I move, there could be papers that I'll never be able to find again.

I'll be watching Gore's speech, hoping he gives me a reason to vote for him. I wonder if he knows that my valuable x by his name is riding on what he says and whether I believe him. If he fails, I'll probably be hopping on the Nader bandwagon.

This will be the eighth time I've voted in a presidential election. I've voted for three winners and four losers. My vote obviously didn't help McGovern, Mondale or Dukakis. And Carter and Clinton would've won without me.

I said back in February, before the primary, that I wouldn't hold my nose and vote for the more liberal of two conservative candidates this time around. Then I went and voted for Gore anyway.

But I learned in the last governor's race here that you can't trust a politician who positions himself for a win by representing himself as a "centrist." Gray Davis has spoiled the illusion for me. He's so in love with the death penalty that he might as well be governor of Texas. And don't send him any more gay rights bills, because he won't sign them.

Call me naïve, but I want to be convinced that Gore doesn't represent the same kind of betrayal of values in the name of political expediency. My vote means something to me, even if it gets lost in the multitudes. In the end, it matters not a bit to anyone else who I vote for. But it matters to me.

I swear, when I write about politics I'm not trying to change anyone's mind. I'm just trying to work out what the process means to me. The fact that I'm torn at the moment between two candidates, both of whom will probably lose, means that most people will disagree with me. Maybe that makes me wrong, or foolish. Maybe just thinking about it this much is a misguided waste of time and energy.

But I can't help it, can I? I obsess, and then I obsess about obsessing.

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