I am in SoCal to visit my family and friends for a couple of weeks. It is gorgeous and I am delighted to be here. However...I'm having the usual adjustments to make.
- Noise. OMG. It never stops. Whereas we used to be able to hear the ocean many years ago, now it's the freeway, car alarms, horns honking, or some sort of emergency vehicle or another. There is a bar on the highway down below our house that has a live band every night and sounds for all the world like it's playing in my bedroom (did I mention one of those nights they also have Karoke?) The neighbor owns a leaf blower and likes to use it (don't get me started on that right now). The child two doors down is having a painful time trying to learn to play some sort of wind instrument. The neighbors next door put a hot tub directly under my bedroom window and I don't want to tell you what I hear from there. Did I mention I have a bag of ear plugs I now travel with?
- Cell phones. People, PLEASE!!!! Have some mercy. I don't want to hear your phone calls, be it in the airport, the grocery store, or today, in the book store (which, to my way of thinking, should have the sanctity of a library). Are you really that important? And if you have one, and I've called you, if it's not a good time to talk, please don't answer it and then politely tell me how I'm interrupting something you're doing. Just don't answer it! I can suck it up and leave a message and wait for you to call me back.
- Pedestrians. This used to be a sleepy little town, and suddenly it isn't. It's now swarming with tourists who seem to have lost all common sense about personal safety...wandering into crosswalks, stepping out behind parked cars, meandering slowly down the middle of a lane in a parking lot like cattle on the slow prowl for more grazing. I have a fantasy of pushing you with my bumper...
What are the trade offs? (After visiting family and friends.) Great burritos for cheap. Pei Wei, P.F. Chang's sort of junior restaurant, where you can get a divine chopped chicken oriental salad for a decent price. Grocery stores with take out food, an awesome art store, bookstore, good coffee and a French bakery just down the street. They're worth it, for a short period of time, but I'm sure grateful I can go hide when I've had my fill. No wonder people are losing their minds and temperaments...they never have any quiet time to themselves.
I'm reading a book right now that has a quote that I love. It about says it all for me.
This silence confirms my solitude. The more I am in it, the more I love it. One day it will possess me entirely and no man will ever see me again.
(Thomas Merton, Turning Toward the World)