Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Open Letter to my Neighbors

Dear People Next Door,

I am sorry for your loss. I really am. However, I was rather angered this morning at 4:30am when the Buddhist chanting started at a volume that can be clearly heard on Saturn. It roused me before the sun and I was rather puzzled and infuriated at the tinkling of Cassio music that preceded the broadcast. After the chanting commenced, it looked like today would start just as well as yesterday, when my roommate decided to hold a phone conversation at rock concert volume at 5:20am after which, lurching out of bed, I thwacked my ladybits on the corner of my desk at a very painful velocity.

But later, wrapped in a blanket at the top of the stairs, after having abandoned sleep for good, I learned that you are in mourning. The monk's early prayer was to soothe the man on the threshold of death and after his passing he did not stop the chanting or music for hours. This is a rather strange coincidence as the Skype conversation I was having last night was cut short abruptly when my friend was called away to attend her grandfather's memorial service. I went to sleep during a funeral involving someone very close to my heart though painfully far away and woke to much more immediate grief but for a man I've never met. And looking down at you from the balcony this morning I can clearly see that grief is the same all over the world. Take away the quite sterility of funeral homes and a few plastic trays of grocery store danishes, add colorful tents and a garçon's attire of black and white on all attendees and the scene here isn't as different as one last night. The exhausted looks on your faces as you slump against the party tables speak of nothing but of bitter sadness.

Your music it is plaguing both my eardrums and my life, however I do admire the way you play it all day. I can't even hear myself think over the volume so it seems like rather a good distraction to sad thoughts. It is something to push the grief into the back corners. The vacant place at the table will be ready to creep back into your every waking thoughts when all the family has left, but for now it's muted under the deafening noise. The rhythms are also a rather happy send-off for your husband and father, fitting. The ornate, hand-painted coffin is also impressive. The size of a small ship, it is a really beautiful way to set sail into the next life. However, the pregnant woman staring at it blankly as it was carried down the alley by a truck blasting 'Party Rock Anthem' broke my heart a little.

So I will conclude. I hope your family is able to carry on in spite of the loss of it's patriarch. A loss like that is truly heartbreaking. But if you or anyone else in your family is to die, please have the decency to do it during the daytime hours. I and everyone between here and Los Angeles would appreciate that very much.

Condolences and Warm Wishes,


Linda Davick said...

I love your writing not only because what you're describing is foreign to me (fascinating), but because you can be angry and sympathetic and funny all at once.

Linda Davick said...
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