Friday, September 26, 2008

Other People's Choices...

Sometimes it's difficult to understand other people's choices.

I wrote here a while back about my neighbors who have a .. um... contentious relationship. Out of a sound sleep, I was awakened Wednesday night to crashing, banging and squealing coming from their apartment. Literally, I've never heard another human being squeal the way M can. She sounded like she was being gutted.

This was after a steady 2 hours of screeching and hollering in the afternoon.

Within ten minutes, I heard three loud bangs on their door. It was bad enough that a passing police officer was pounding on their door.

Without going into needless detail, she left in her car and S was taken to jail. It was around 1.00 a.m. We got back to sleep here around 3.00 a.m.

And yesterday they were both back in there like nothing happened at all. But they were quiet.

Wednesday was not a good day for me anyway. Again, I don't need to go into detail. I'll simply say it was horrible. For a variety of reasons. It was a dark place I thought I'd grown beyond.

Yesterday was a recovery day. I couldn't think clearly or concentrate on anything. Mostly, I took naps and stared mindlessly at the TV. Reading was impossible because my mind kept skipping beats.

In the afternoon, my housemate and her son were screaming and yelling at each other.

And I came to realize something.

I'm getting old.

And I'm sick and bloody tired of hearing other people's anger. I don't want to hear their yelling or their emotional outbursts. When all else is stripped away, they're usually ticked off because they can't control someone else.

Newsflash: We don't get to control other people!

I'm feeling the pull of somewhere else, another setting. It's not even necessarily Thailand but definitely someplace rural, someplace quiet, someplace where the dark underside of humanity will be hidden for a while. Someplace with a flowing stream. And trees. I want to spend some time where people at least have a basic level of contentment. Because the truth is that as long as we have food, water, a place to stay and someone who cares whether we live or die, we don't have much right to be so chronically dissatisfied.

I want to be someplace where there is some distance from the constant craving, grasping, competition and unhappiness because of ego. I want some peace.

I'm still not well today... but better.

Thanks for reading. I don't even know why I'm posting this crap. I'm sure it's of no interest, as Phil Ochs wrote, "outside of a small circle of friends".

Tell me something positive. Tell me something you're happy about. Tell me why your life is good.



Border Explorer said...

Chani, I'm happy because I find a connection here, with you, that feels positive and supportive to me as a human being, as a woman, as a seeker. Anger & aggression are extremely difficult to live with. I wish I could whisk you to that quiet place of tranquility you image. Sending love and a hug, along with my gratitude.

Amy Y said...

Life is good today because... my boys are home from school today so we are spending the day playing games and snuggling. And later... we'll go visit a friend whose birthday is coming up and take her to lunch. We might go visit the puppies at the pound, too.

I don't envy you your neighbors... I hope you find some peace and quiet soon, somehow.

Suki said...

Try my latest post, Chani :). I've been happy lately, finding happiness within myself and knowing that I am finally approaching a state of mind that allows me to bring happiness to some people I am fond of. I'm happy knowing that i am young and rejoicing in it, happy that i have already found causes - personal, academic and intellectual - worth working for, and very complacent in knowing I can never exhaust them. I want to have something to work for that will take me a lifetime and more... I believe I've found that.
I'm happy to feel my own inadequacy, because it absolves me of responsibility towards that which I do not control. And last of all, I'm happy because my bid to give up shampoo is going very nicely 19 days down the line.
I am very content today.. content to have work.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Chani, this isn't crap. This is a realization that you don't want a toxic environment. To me that is beautiful.

Your insight about trying to control people hit home with me.

I grew up with parents who fought constantly, and I was often upset and frightened. You asked us to tell you something happy? I am happy that my husband and I can communicate honestly and lovingly without trying to control each other.

I hope you find the peace and refreshment you need today.

Angela said...


Why do you think I live in rural Montana?? :) Although, honestly, you can't totally escape other people's stuff unless you go really, really far out. The best we can do is try and build a protective shield for ourselves with the people we love who are at least somewhat enlightened, beauty, truth, honesty. Your blog is part of my own shield and that makes me happy. Hang in there - and hey, consider a short trip to Big Sky Country, it's beautiful here this time of year.

we_be_toys said...

Oh honey, I'm sorry you're having a bad run right now. I know what you mean, the sounds of urban unrest put me on edge as well, and I'm not in as urban a place as you. Any chance you could get out of there for a few days? It sounds like it might be just what the doctor ordered.

When I hear my kids playing together in the other room, and they laugh those deep belly laughs together, that makes me happy.
When I can sleep in on a Saturday, and snuggle my silly cat Jezebel, who always smiles and purrs when we snuggle, that makes me happy.
When I'm somewhere remote, like the mountains, or the far north point of the Outer Banks, and all I can hear is the sound of the wind, I'm happy.

I hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

I was on an alcoholic binge last week. I was drunk and unhappy for several days straight. Vodka and orange juice on ice.

I'm 36 hours sober right now. The headaches and stomach cramps from the come down are over.

Today I feel healthy and happy for the first time in a long time. I feel hopeful. I feel like I have a new beginning.

And that makes me happy.

Anvilcloud said...

I'm happy that I had a good sleep, that after a foggy few hours this morning that I'm feeling human, that ND is having a much better day and that's she's napping peacefully right now.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy because my dog Grace dug a massive hole in the back yard.

The reason that makes me happy is because four years ago the vet told me she only had about six months left to live, yet here she is, happy and healthy and getting into mischief.


painted maypole said...

" don't have much right to be so chronically dissatisfied" you are so right. i think about this same thing often in terms of myself, in terms of other people....

why has being disasatisfied become such a status symbol. because I think it has. we all claim to want to be happy, but it seems we get a lot more attention for being unhappy, and so choose that path instead

hmmm... and now that has me thinking of something else I was contemplating posting on... hmm... we'll see what comes of all of this in my brain...

slouching mom said...

i'm happy that my brother and i have grown a lot closer over the last few weeks.

feel better, chani.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I am happy to still be here even if it entails worrying and sometimes complaining about things I can't change.

Yesterday, while out walking on a very upscale street, I overheard a woman angrily kvetching into her cell phone while feeding quarters into the parking meter where she had parked her new Jaguar. She was livid because the realtor who was selling her property was unsatisfactory and there was a contract binding her to their arrangement.

And I thought that if she owns a property in SF, a town full of homeless people, she has nothing to complain about. I know that money cannot buy happiness, but it can certainly relieve the causes of most people's unhappiness.

Anonymous said...

Been there done that. I live in a meadow in the middle of a square mile, half a mile from the road, and have six pets who can roam at will without fear. Birds, and critter sounds are all we hear. Cities suck because you can't evade the private pathos of neighbors. Hope you find a solution my dear. There are better ways of living. But of course, some folks get energized in cities. I don't, but that's what makes the world go round. Better days I pray for.

Ian Lidster said...

I am glad you posted what you called 'crap' for it was no such thing.
I detest the sound of voices raised in anger. It has a visceral effect on me because it reminds me too much of my almost constantly fighting parents and takes me to a childhood place I loathed and feared.

Ian Lidster said...

PS: If you're a Phil Ochs fan it can only speak very well of you. There are few of us left.

jen said...

My child wrote: To Nana this morning and it's the first two words she'd strung together. that was really, really terrific.

Olivia said...


I hear your longing for somewhere outside the unrest and cultural stridency (is that a word?)...somewhere to just be without so much going on. I truly think I would die if I were robbed of the silence here...and the trees...and the sounds of the woods...

I do think that your spirit will thrive when it can rest and regenerate and feed in nature. It's true that things are more remote in a rural area, but with the Internet, it's really not that noticeable, not that you would miss it anyway. Well, that's my bias---I'm not much for cities. I'd forgotten how much each person's life encroaches on the other, overlaps, intrudes...

Toxicity in an environment always makes one sick.

I hope you feel better soon.

Love, O

Mariposa said...

This is no crap...and I'm glad you post this.

"...we don't have much right to be so chronically dissatisfied."

True. That is why, I make it a point to do Thankful Thursday...though every moment is the best time to be thankful, I realize doing that puts me in constant drive to count my blessings.

Today, I feel good...must be the nice sleep. My moods and state of mind has been way better the past days...I think sleep was one thing missing in my life then...LOL

Ah Chani, for all the time that I get to wake up and function, I rejoice with all my heart. After all, this seems to be so impossible years back when I was diagnosed with BP...and guess what I have proven them wrong. :)

SUEB0B said...

Well, let me first say how much I enjoy your blog. It is always one of the first I pick out of my feed reader because I am always eager to see what you have to say. I appreciate your thoughtful, reasoned, ethical approach to your struggles so much.

Today I am happy because I feel that the little spot I live in on earth was made just for me. I am continually charmed by it, even though it is in the middle of a densely populated block full of loud stereos and screamers...somehow the breeze, the banana trees, the fact that I have my own tiny house back off the street behind a appeals to me so much. The contrast between it and the large, "lovely" suburban home I used to live in that was filled with putdowns and emotional disconnection and empty materialism is so great that I appreciate this place even more.

I hope you find your place.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

My life is good for all the things you said - I have a roof over my head and I'm not hungry and I have people who love me. I also have books to read and friends to discuss and debate with and walks in the sunshine. I get to help people every day and that gives me a great deal of joy. This all must sound cliche, but these are the things that give me peace.

I hope you can get some respite from the strife.

FranIAm said...

Chani - I am late to this, but what a post, I have to comment.

I grateful and happy just to be alive. I have never had less money but there is so much more simplicity to my life.

While I must go back to work in some fashion, being a "senior executive" is not likely in the cards. I have shed that skin.

While I was able to do that job with my integrity largely in tact, it does occupy a corner of your soul no matter how small.

That corner is now free.

As for you- I see in you this desire to be free from other people's anger and control issues, to be more free, more peaceful.

That is beautiful.

I wish you peace always beautiful Chani, peace, sweet peace.

flutter said...

I survived. That is never bad.

Journey Through Life said...

Chani, I hope you are feeling better than you were at the time of posting this. I can't cope with hearing other peoples anger either. So something I am really happy about is living where I do now. Finally I have a home in a quiet neighbourhood. It is so wonderfully peaceful.

Another happy thing in my life is that I am on holidays as of yesterday and my bf is coming home tomorrow after three weeks away. I am so happy about this!

Wishing you well

Stacia said...

I am happy because my husband gets home from deployment in a week and a half and our baby girl is due to be born in 6 weeks.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Good morning. I have a blog award for you at my place.

DivaJood said...

Ah, Chani, I am sorry you are in a dark place. Depression is a hard place to be, I understand. There is hope, really.

My tools: I write a gratitude list (even when I am in depression, I use this tool). I walk. I try to find something to laugh about each day. And when all else fails, I turn to those who I know love me unconditionally and let them carry me.


Carla said...

Chani, I hope you're feeling better soon. I send warm thoughts your direction. As to your other comments, my father always (has always) says that we have two choices, to have a relationship with someone or to try to control them, but we can never have / do both. I think this is very true. As for me, I'm enjoying the beauty of autumn. The colours are so vibrant that I almost have to pinch myself. I know it sounds simple, but it is so peaceful.

meno said...

I'm happy because you asked me to tell you something that made me happy.



Leann said...

You have put into words much more eloquently than I can exactly how I feel.

I am very happy with my life because although I am alone, it is peaceful. There is no more anger, control, and walking on egg shells in my life. I get to dictate who I associate with and for how long.

womaninawindow said...

I was talking with my son's friend's mom today. She's someone who has traveled a bit and seen the outside of this rural community. We were standing in the late afternoon sun squinting toward the sky, talking about how lucky we are to live here. Just what you were saying, surrounded by trees and water, a hike in any direction, a ride in a canoe, a walk with a friend. Ice cream! It's just around the corner. We're blessed, in the ancient way of rock and tree blessing us with each day.

Get better.

Mary said...

It's not crap, Chani. What you are asking for is a basic human need. You said it:

"I want some peace."


Janet said...

I hope things get better.

This morning my husband brought our toddler into our bed to wake up slowly. Five seconds later our middle child crawled between us. One minute later our eldest came, bright declaring, "The whole family is together in this one bed!" It was a lovely start to the morning.