Small shocks of life

What, me, noisy?

Things have been a tad upside down and inside out in life around here lately.  Jericha, my daughter, is unusually busy, between work, Baha’i projects and her social life, while the dogs and I have mainly been keeping the condo company.  As usual, while I continue to hope my power wheelchair gets repaired sometime before I Ieave.  This place, not this world.

Had you going there for a sec, yes?

Every time I am assured that things are almost… almost… ready to move forward, there erupts yet one more round of misunderstanding between the doctor’s office and the medical group processing the authorization for Medicare.  This state of affairs is beyond human understanding, because who on earth could actually be dumb enough to keep making these same mistakes over and over, if both sides are to be believed?


Would I ever paralyze somebody with my mighty bark?  Me?  I didn’t mean to!

We got off to a very late start this Saturday morning.  Our friend Paco appeared about 10:30 to take the eager Elf and Opus out for their morning constitutional.

His happy arrival had been preceded by bouts of  unusually noisy barking approximately every five minutes, starting at 8 a.m. — the time of their normal weekday early walks.  Every time a door banged down the hallway, or someone came up the stairs adjacent to our front door — or the dashing young French bulldog in unit 6 pranced along to the elevator from the far end of our hallway, Elf and Opus emitted volleys of woofs.  “You are making me deaf!” is my often repeated scold when they do this.  Because since moving here with my daughter with her perfect hearing, I am suspected of not hearing everything I ought to — and she is probably mumbling in my presence.  Who knows the truth of that?

While Paco was gone not only for the exercise and relief of my my two good canine friends, but also to allow them to assist him in choosing us a bunch of bananas at a 7-Eleven nearby, a fire alarm went off in the building.  A real one, not merely somebody’s smoke detector.

Clang-clang-CLANG and a whackity whack!!!  On and on it went.

A hub bub of voices gathered in the hallway outside.  Shouting above the clamor.

Thanking heaven the my precious pooches were already leashed up and in the custody of a smart and faithful friend, I thought of gathering up my iPhone and iPad chargers, various personal items and a hat in case somebody insisted I leave the building.

That would be a pretty good trick, actually.  A Very Bad Thing, since we live on the second floor, and the only elevator — a little black thing whose door you have to open for yourself every time you want in or out of it — is out of commission in the event of a fire.

Contemplating my options, I remained in the condo so as not to give neighbors any wild ideas about rolling me and my 330 pound power wheelchair down two flights of stairs any time soon.  I poked my head out the balcony door, seeing nothing smokey, noting the absence of sirens amongst the city sounds.  After some five minutes of alarm, shouldn’t somebody be coming?  What if we really needed saving?

At length, hearing my daughter’s voice in the babble outside, apparently in conversation with another voice which was quite loud and somewhat… elderly… I poked my head out.  Our roommate Shirley rushed me back inside, saying, “Oh, it’s nothing, no problem, we don’t have to leave… Somebody in seven was taking a shower and it set off the alarm.  He says it happens a lot when he takes a shower.”

This peculiar explanation of our would-be emergency was announced after somebody said that the problem started with unit 7 — and when they knocked they were greeted by a  fellow wearing nothing but a towel…

Towel guy, drawing by Emily Lee

Hmmm, I muse, we’ve been here since the beginning of June and there’s been no alarm till now…

So down the hall I roll to see what, or more accurately, with whom, Jericha is up to something.  An older woman stands in front of the long unoccupied unit next to ours, rather looming over Jericha.  This must be the person who only lives here half the year, spending the other half in a home along the coast further north.  Uh oh, she is the one that we have been warned is… “Very particular!”  With searching looks, “Yes, you want to get to know her, Emily, befriend her, hopefully things will be okay…”

Errrr…. Say what?

The woman waves Jericha off, telling her to “Explain this to her,” gesturing at me.

When we get back to our own place my daughter tells me that this woman has an extreme reaction to loud noise — say, oh, dogs barking — to the point where she actually becomes paralyzed when she hears them.  Her bedroom, she has been telling Jericha, shares our living room wall.  The very room in which Elf and Opus have been giving tongue to their eager desire to get out for some exercise for several hours this morning.  She can, she says with emphasis, STILL hear them when she leaves her bedroom, shuts the door, and heads elsewhere further away from us.  She only returned here last night.

And to think that if that toweled neighbor who popped open his door to tell the assembled crowd that the fire alarm was caused by his shower hadn’t done what he did, we might not have realized that the … particular one … has now returned for the winter, so Extraordinary Canine Steps Must Be Taken.

Elf, Opus and I have been discussing the matter of quiet-tude steadily ever since.  We will see how well they have understood soon enough, I expect.

The episode leaves me feeling relieved that Elf, Opus, Jericha and I are likely to be packing our belongings — again — for a move. It appears that we may be returning to a desert like environment, though not one in New Mexico — hotter.  Not even Arizona.  Nope, right here, somewhere in the Central Valley of drought stricken California, right in the middle of Big Agriculture country, where the drought is having its most terrible impact not only on this state and its residents, but also on  much of the US food supply in the fields.

Maybe.  We will see.  Changes ahead, most likely…

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