Too Much Input!

Our culture seems almost pathologically incapable of existing in the public sphere without inundating our senses with constant and invasive input. Go to the grocery store, noise playing or a television blaring in the background. Go to a coffee shop, loud noise playing, not even in the background. Go to the pool, loud noise playing on speakers. Those of us who would wish for the simple noises of the locale we are in are not even considered. We don’t exist in the mind’s of most of those in charge of public places.

The constant noise and bombardment wears me out. I feel it in my bones and cells whenever I go somewhere with a screen blaring or speakers turned much too high. Too much input! Every time it makes me wonder how many children with learning problems or various forms of autism or any other ailment where the senses cannot quite process all that is going on around them suffer in these places when those of us without any such ailment can barely tolerate it. It bothers me when I go somewhere that is theoretically designed with children in mind and the biggest thing available to them is a screen blaring some noise. I leave. My children, having been raised away from such things, are exhausted and overwhelmed by it all. I suspect other children are too. Both of my girls were always able to play and entertain themselves for hours on end. I gave credit to the fact that a television never babysat them. I find when either of them are around televisions for any length of time, they become hyper. Used as a tool to keep children busy, it is ironic that it seems to result in the opposite of the behavior desired. I’m an adult and televisions overstimulate me. I can’t imagine how it is for small children, with the constant noise and rotating images and advertising and noise, and more noise, and again, noise.

In any case, I began this post two days ago after going to a swim park with noisy music blaring. I later entered a grocery store with music so loud the cashier could not speak to me without yelling, all the while televisions were screaming in the background–well, foreground, really. It was all too much. Now it is days later and I’m at home and hear some birds outside and a breeze moving through the Camellia bush outside my window and the urge to write about all of it has passed. Such is the nature of my life these days. Maybe in having little to no time to express the writing urges, they have just left. I don’t know. I blame some of it on being a working single mother, so I guess I’ll know when my little one is bigger and off at school and time frees up a bit. If the writing urges take over again, I’ll know it was the busy-ness. If not, maybe it was a part of me that is gone. Such is life. Maybe I’ll mourn it when the time comes. For now, I’m just enjoying being able to hear myself think.

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Carving out a Canyon

It is foolish to believe that any day that is presumably more special than any other. All days, regardless whether we humans desire it otherwise, are basically the same as all others. What this means for me is that for the first 15 minutes of the day, sometimes more, sometimes less, life will be quiet and peaceful. Then the younger of my children will arise and usually be in quite a pleasant mood. Then the older of my children will arise and snarl about something, making sure all of us are aware just how unpleasant she feels and desiring us to share in this (she is altruistic in this, after all). Alternatively — and yes, while I am comparing the sameness of every day, it is the theme that is the same, but there are variations on the smaller of the details — the older of my children will arise and say something (pleasant or otherwise) to the younger of my children, who will then react with severe complaining because the older of my children is not allowed in the brain of the younger of my children to have anything to do with me, and this therefore results in quite a great fuss by the younger of my children.

Thus begins the day. It doesn’t matter if we are on vacation. It doesn’t matter if it is Christmas. It doesn’t matter if it is my birthday. This is how it goes and I would be a fool to desire it otherwise because any other way is not how it goes. This is how it is.

Rootless

I have been trying to buy a house. I did all the things I was supposed to do, provided all the paperwork, yada yada. I had no reason to expect anything to go wrong. Making the offer, getting accepted, getting the inspection, all that, took hardly any effort at all and was complete in under a week. Then the process was passed on to the mortgage company.  After waiting and waiting and waiting, life suddenly turned to shit. It began with the incessant requests for documents, even those previously requested and provided. It concluded with multiple requirements to spend insane amounts of money, and still no closing date. Today, we still have no closing date.

Along the way, I asked the mortgage broker, what is the worst case scenario?  A week, or more? I have to give notice at my rental. If I give notice for the first, will this pose a problem (closing was originally scheduled for the 23rd of July)? No, I don’t think so, he told me (Liar. Unwilling bearer of  potential bad news.). A week out should be fine. So I gave my notice. Big mistake number one. No, actually that was big mistake number two. Big mistake number one was choosing the mortgage company that I did. I had been pre-approved by another company, but I chose this one on the recommendation of my realtor. She’s wonderful. She had all the best intentions, but certain aspects were out of her control, like a useless underwriter who considered other files more of an emergency than mine, even three days after the original closing. My realtor has been as upset by the turn of events as I have, but she could not fix it. She could not make the mortgage company act any more quickly, or go back and change the date I had to move out of my house, the date the landlord wasn’t willing to extend because new renters wanted to move in, the consequence being that although there was no closing date, I had to leave July 31. And here we are, living in a hotel until tomorrow and then on to couch surf friends for who knows how long after paying $600 for a rental truck that was going to cost 40. I’m ready to give up.

We drove over to the old neighborhood tonight, Isabel and I. Driving past the Whole Foods, I felt like an intruder, like I didn’t belong or deserve to be there. Rootless. Alone. Right now, I feel so alone, like even being around people I am still isolated. Is this how it is for real homeless people all the time? That in not having a place to call their own, they don’t belong anywhere? Would it be any easier or less lonely if I had a partner in life? Would it be better if Milla were home, more grown up and able to understand than Isabel? I don’t know the answers to those questions because they aren’t my life right now. What I do know is what is. If I’m supposed to be getting something from this, I haven’t figured out what it is. I don’t like not having a place that is my own, somewhere to be comfortable and settled as I go out in the world to do my job or live my life or just be. Maybe the point is to learn to just be without a base, but I don’t know why that would be a useful lesson. I think it’s natural for most creatures above a certain brain size to crave a secure place for themselves. Even my kitty, staying in a large kennel at a friend’s, longs for her home and family, eating nearly nothing and worrying at what has become of her life. My dog seems happy, visiting a friend with two other dogs as if at a makeshift doggy camp. Oh, and Milla, visiting her dad and playing the video games I don’t allow. And actually Isabel too, is content as long as I am nearby. Perhaps it is just the cat and I who cannot deal with this, both of us because we don’t know what will be next, as if anyone ever does, but we are used to life’s moderate predictability. I don’t know. I do know I’m not comforted. I think of all I have to do and I’m tired. I don’t believe I’m learning anything I needed to. Maybe there isn’t a lesson. Maybe sometimes life just sucks and you have to get through until it doesn’t anymore, and that’s just all there is.