Do You Hear What I Hear?

Our neighbors down the valley had a party Saturday night.

You can see the lights, here, glowing in the deepening evening, backed by the sunset. It was perfect weather – warm and still. Ideal for sitting outside, which David and I did. We sat on our patio for hours. The way sound carries here, we could hear the party like we could see the lights, glowing in the distance, a happy tumble of voices. Then someone played guitar and sang, his lovely tenor voice carrying up to us. Our own personal concert.

Sunday morning, our other neighbors made themselves heard and not in such a pleasant way. They’re new, renting the house closest to us that didn’t sell after over a year on the market. Of course, the owner won’t drop the price, so he moved away and left it to renters instead. They haven’t moved in a lot of furniture and these houses all have adobe walls and tile floors, which makes for good acoustics.

I don’t know exactly what the fight was about, but I have a good idea. He didn’t like how she’d behaved the night before. Really didn’t like it. “What did you do?!?” was a frequent refrain. Shouted at the top of his lungs. At first I wasn’t sure if he was yelling at a woman or a child, until I heard bits of her protests. The loudest part was when he shouted, over and over, “Do you want to be in my life or not?”

We haven’t met them yet. Now I’m not dying to.

I’m not much for fighting. I’m especially not for yelling. When I hear those angry voices, something in me cringes. I feel injured and attacked, even as a bystander. I couldn’t be that person, standing so close to the yelling, having it hurled at me.

I wanted to tell her that the answer should be “No.” Don’t be in that angry man’s life.

It’s not my business. There was no reason to think the abuse escalated to physical. I’ve only ever called the cops on a domestic disturbance once before and I’m not sure it was the right thing. It didn’t change anything and they knew it was me who called. They didn’t thank me for it, as you can imagine. I know I can’t save the world.

So I went to the back patio and sat under the grape arbor. Their fight ended and they were quiet the rest of the weekend.

I said my prayer of thanks, for a peaceful and happy life.

6 Replies to “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

  1. Er yeah, our family is all about the shouting during "debates" or arguments. I know we make my sister-in-law very uncomfortable since she doesn't like confrontation because we all seem to go running towards it…like lemmings going over a cliff. Meh.

    Sorry the after-party day wasn't pleasant for you.

  2. I feel for you, Jeffe. I had upstairs neighbors like that when I lived in Saratoga Springs. They fought all the time, and he was so verbally abusive that I wanted to go upstairs and kick his a**. The night he started throwing glass and who know what else, I called the cops on him. He knew it. Next time he saw me in the driveway, he tried to stare me down. I gave him a "you've got to be joking" look and he scurried away. They moved out two days later. I hope your neighbor's fight was an aberration. It's tough to live next to people like that.

  3. Love that image, Danica – it does seem like lemmingish behavior! I'm sure if I came from a more "shout-y" family, I wouldn't mind so much.

    Brava, Keena! I'm so glad you didn't let him stare you down! I'm hoping the neighbor's fight was an aberration. I also expect that they will move along again soon.

    KAK – love this idea! Will have to do it next time.

  4. Ugh. Hope those renters move soon.

    I'm a middle child who married a middle child. Neither of us enjoys butting heads, thank goodness. Which isn't to say we're doormats–we each stand up for ourselves just fine. We just aren't drama queens about it. Odd, considering our theater background. 😉

  5. For all the divas in Hollywood and NYC, Linda, I think most career theater folks have a better understanding than most about what's drama and what's real. They know to save it for the stage!

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