Quiet Extraordinary

tattooI’m Starfleet and Starfleet doesn’t lie!

COMPUTER: Working. Private Tom B. Taker. Serial number ABY-7734-Neg. Verified.

So what follows is the truth.

COMPUTER: Subject relaying accurate account. No physiological changes.

Gee, thanks, computer! I appreciate the endorsement!

COMPUTER: Subject in error. No endorsement was implied. Non sequitur. Error. Error. Error.

Dammit, man! I’m a failure, not a negativist! Or is that the other way around?

Anyway, most folks don’t know about Starfleet’s Processed Air Training (PAT). It’s a critical part of Starfleet Academy that must be successfully completed in order to graduate. It’s just like that scene in An Officer And A Gentleman where candidate Sid Worley can’t count cards in the decompression chamber. Yes, he’s got the moves like Jagger! But that doesn’t make him officer material.

Failure to complete PAT training means a washout from the academy. The harsh conditions of space exploration are such that one must be able to live on nothing but processed and recycled air. Often for five years or more at a time!

Luckily, for me, I was born to stay inside, with all windows closed, breathing the blissfully regulated and processed air that never varies in temperature by more than +/- two degrees. It’s true. My comfort zone is extremely tiny. Climate change won’t work out well for me.

Central heat and air conditioning have been an integral part of my existence for as long as I can remember.

And then I moved to the big city to a house that has no air conditioning. That makes for an interesting summer. For the first time in my life I was forced to live with the windows open. That means nothing but a screen separating me from the air (and insects) outside!


So, to me, the first month in our new home has felt a lot like camping. The air moves and varies in temperature and all kinds of stuff. It takes some getting used to. Worse, sound travels more freely than ever before.

It turns out that within 15 to 60 feet of my master bedroom windows (which gape wide open in the summer heat) I can hear no less than sounds from five different neighboring properties. (See graphic below. The X marks where I lay my sweet head on the pillow each night.)


And who the hell knew that in the big city I’d find myself sleeping about 40 feet away from the world’s most uptight chicken? CHICKEN! WTF?

Our first night in the new house, sweating like stuck pigs, we collapsed into bed. We were wiped out from the act of moving. That night, at 11:30 PM, a garden party started in the house directly behind ours. It’s about 30 feet away. Did I mention that party didn’t even start until 11:30? It was a damn long night.

It’s weird to lay in bed and be able to listen in to actual conversations by your neighbors. I’ve never experienced that before.

You’d think that partying until three in the morning would slow them down? Nope! The lawn mowers start promptly at 7:30 AM. And, get this, the neighbors are so organized they are able to coordinate their mowers, drills, air blowers, sanders, power saws, chainsaws, car stereos and car alarms for continuous coverage 18 hours a day. It’s the most remarkable phenomenon I’ve ever seen heard.

If I really was in Starfleet I think I would invent an energy barrier, much like a force field, only it would be 100% effective at blocking sound waves. Then I’d surround my entire property with that field. No doubt I’d be rich.

I hope you will allow open your hearts to my plight as much as I’ve opened my windows to the outside world…

11 responses

  1. Oh, How I envy you! My neighbors only do yard work on holidays when I’m having a party. The weedeater, chainsaw (yes, seriously), and lawnmower running at full hilt brings a smile to my face every time I hear it. I was taking a nap the other day when the son decided to trim the hedge. Can’t seem to trim the hedge any other day when it should have been done but only when I want to take a nap in my hammock. Oh well.


    1. I knew you’d come through for me! The weed eater! How did I ever forget about that portable gasoline-powered combustion engine of goodness? 🙂

      On holidays they all run at the same time, a process my neighbors call “multitasking.”


      1. What about all the different music being played? You have the teenagers’ Top 40 on one side, the 80’s on the other side, and then some Indian music behind you. Depending on where you are in the yard, it is a treasure of delightful competing songs!


      2. Holy crap. I kid you not. We forgot the wood chipper. That’s outside my window. Right now! This is real-time coverage.

        And yes, it goes without saying about the music at 180db. It makes me wish I had moved next to the 747s taking off instead. Then maybe I could get some sleep! 🙂


  2. Is it a freudian slip that sleeping you looks like a gun?


    1. Gosh darn it! You’re right! Actually I’m just the red X. That’s the precise spot where my sweet head hits the pillow. The black lines indicate the outline of my house. It’s modern garage-centric design: a rectangle with a garage jutting straight out. Classic neo post-industrial Americana, even though these days the entire square footage wouldn’t fit within most walk-in closets.

      Any resemblance to a fully loaded Tech Nine with a hollow point in the chamber is purely coincidental.


  3. I forgot dogs. Besides the chicken, each neighbor owns like 42 dogs. And oh how they loves to bark.


  4. My street is a Disney wonderland of sights, smells & sounds… from the jungle ride living across the street, complete with live adolescent apes doing tricks to try to resemble actual humans to lure you to feed them – to the early weekend morning song of the lawn sharks out getting their “tan” on- down to the Dalmatian-esque famous “Twilight Bark” every evening.

    Get me a damn set of Tinkerbell’s wings and some freaking pixie dust so I can fly my happy ass to NEVERAGAINland.


    1. Sounds like paradise! 🙂 And so very eloquently described!


  5. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. How are you with a chain saw?


    1. A chain saw is manly, right? Never heard of it.

      Addendum: I forgot a few more big city things that come in through the windows. Airplanes taking off, sirens, the motor speedway, and the sewer treatment plant.

      I feel like this is a movie.


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