Audiocycles, oral Q’s

As the season wheels round, the color of the sky darkens each morning a little more.
Owing to the acoustical nature of the canyon I live in, and the extreme darkness inside the blanket-swaddled treehouse, I’ve come to rely on aural cues for time-telling.

Since at least some of them come from human noise, I don’t have to adjust anything tomorrow night. The neighbors adjust their clocks & schedules and I just hear the usual noise at a slightly different ‘absolute time’. No lost energy turning back clocks the way we have to to conform to the capricious ‘daylight wasting’ time. I will never understand throwing away whole chunks of carefully adjusted-to light cycles for the betterment of business.

They are as follows:
As if you care?
No, blogging permits this self-centeredness.
Ahem

2 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Bars in town are closed, and the (we hope) perfectly sober residents of Dog Bark lane drive noisily home (it’s a mile to the bars, by the way. But maybe these people have a favorite bar in, say, Novato, a good half hour’s drive…so OK, maybe they ‘need’ to drive).

At the terminus of the cul-de-sac, our horsemucking neighbor who lives at the stable
stops car,
scrambles out,
and we get to hear what
that muffled music booming dully
from inside his tin can was:
country western,
which spills out
along with him
as he
unchains gate,
pushes gate open,
hops back in (door slam)
drives through,
gets back out, (more music)
shuts gate (none too quietly),
re-chains…
and we get to sleep two more hours

…unless it’s a Monday night, when ONE hour after the closing of the bars, the garbage truck up on Fawn Drive wakes up everyone that sleeps outdoors. Namely the raccoons. Who leap into action, first fighting for access to the edge of the fish pond (where they touch the electric wire, get zapped, shriek and then remember that shutting up is the only way to escape that vile electric current which we turn on when we hear them gallop across the wooden deck to pool’s edge). Their washing needs taken care of, they jog clumsily down the 25 stairs to the house, round the house to the ‘buffet’ that is forty houses with varied garbage out at the curb…and work their way up the street. Our buffet is all inthe compost heap–which they will dig out– while carefully chewing up any unwashed plastic wrappers that get widely re-distribuited …|

So the wee hours of Tuesday morning are a tiny bit different. The rest of the week, we get a whole extra hour’s silence until…a sedan motor noise grows as it approaches below, punctuated by faint thumps.

Then it’s at Taj Mahovel and PLOP! We have a newspaper on the undriveway. Time: 4:30 or so.

A couple more PLOPS for the turn-around and they continue back down the lane, steering and plopping and I get to sleep until precisely six a.m. when our OTHER next door neighborstarts up his huge diesel truck (which we call the Great White Eco Challenge). Rtiual dictates that the GWEC be warmed up for a half an hour….if the breeze is just right, the diesel fumes reach gently into F-ingham Palace (=treehouse) and let us share in the piquant aromas of progress.

Incidentally, this vehicle takes top DecibHell Honors.

We attempt a few more z’s through the gradually growing drone that becomes the morning commute soundtrack. Thousands of cars, well OK, maybe only hundreds, no wait Fairfax is an official 7500 resident town with an unofficial bonus 2,500 residents who never seem to get counted but they live here all right, tucked into the unofficial second units, contributing rent and driving everywhere 4.9 times per day in their 1.6 cars.

Er, I guess I’m really digressing.

Across the street our neighbor repeatedly starts up his wheezy red SUV (which believe it or not is visible from space via Google Earth) at 7:20…the engine finally comes to life and down the street they go, off to get a bit of breakfast. Back about an hour later. Sir Drivesalot used to log about 20 daily trips, but with age he has had to trim it back to about two round trips.
Am I being mean?

It might not be so awful if he weren’t such a speedster…
once I caught a ride with him somewhere, and I watched with a sick feeling as he nearly rear-endend
an unsuspecting cyclist who was actually slowing to a stop at the stop sign! I guess some motorists count on bikers to glide on through, the way he (SirD) does in Big Red.

A mere ten minutes later, we get the Lucky Litany; our next d’hors nachbar has a dog, well two now, since Lucky’s pushing fifteen years. That is a LOT of high quallity non-stop barking, which according to aforementioned nachbar, ‘is his job’. Now the elder statesman has an understudy, even stupider and more sonorous than he…who goes by “Oggie” or maybe “Augie”, my ears can’t tell.
Nayber keeps dogs in house and yard, mostly. Maybe this will change with Og, but for sure Lucky’s main exercise is
a) marathon barking
b) getting let out each morning at precisely 7:30 a.m. preceded by a squeaking gate mechanism.
He ambles over to whichever sidewalk/weedpatch easement feels right, takes a crap,
(which of course remains there until mummified, it’s not going to be picked up by Nayber)
and then for the next four minutes we get a human recitative:
“Lucky! Lucky!…..C’mere boy! LUCKY! C’mere…..LUCKY!! Come on LUCKY! Lucky…..Come here. Lucky. Lucky. Atta boy, Lucky. ”

Eventually the dog feels like angling (maximum 20 feet) back to its yard, and we can hear the squeak of the iron gate and the clank of the latch, then Naybermobile backs up and he’s off.

By now, Sir Francis Drone is like Niagara Falls in the distance, audible and also sub-sonic, thus palpable in deep body tissue.
No, I’m serious. My G.I. tract resonates at what, 7-9 cycles/sec (cps), the same vibration of the big old engines of many of the trucks people motor to San Francisco in. That is from 6-8 am.

And dear rider, you don’t know it, (well, maybe you do, if you live around here. Say, you’re not a resident of Dogbark Lane, are you???) but we used to have a nice little railway that took everyone who cared to from our satellite town back toward the main north-south line, where they’d change trains, go to Sausalito, alight and hop on a Fairy (magical boat that chugs over to San Francisco in about a half-hour’s time).

Some mornings a blue stellar jay will drop acorns on our roof, and screech us out of slumber.

This year the bay laurel fruit flinging itelf out of those trees is remarkably large, sonorous, and since we have many tin-rooves, one of which is forty feet long, and steeply sloped, we hear the pinball machine effect of a “SMACK!” when it hits, then a l-o-n-g b-u-m-p-y r-o-l-l down the roof between the longitudinal creases…and comes to a halt in the gutter which of course is chock full of the season’s bay laurel nuts.
Which aren’t edible (shame!) and in fact are bloody toxic…

By this time–well, this was in my pre-blog, pre-book life –I’m forced out because more than ten-eleven hours of horizontality can make a gal a pillar of sloth.

And I could never have that.

~ by jacquiephelan on November 2, 2007.

4 Responses to “Audiocycles, oral Q’s”

  1. Hope your neighbours don’t find your blog!

  2. God I hope you’re right.

  3. Hmmm. Do nachbars read blogs?
    IS this a Dear Abby issue, or a Miss Manners issue?
    Or a Darth Vader issue?

  4. Ahhh, Jacquie. But how boring would your street and life be without all those characters to spice it up!

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