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A Funny Thing: Bothering Myself

All photos are of Anado
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January 15, 2022

by Dr. David Fialk, Chief Cook / Bottle-washer

The house on the corner has been rented out by a couple from Minnesota. They came down with their two adult children, who stayed for a week. The kids were replaced by a couple of friends of theirs. After a week, that pair made way for two other couples.

M., the temporary master of the house, a very social guy, came by and introduced himself the first week he was here. I loaned him some wine glasses. Now and then, he calls across or down from his rooftop, often with a question or two.

Sometimes, with my south-facing door open to admit the sun, I can hear snatches of conversation drifting down from his rooftop, or almost hear them, as I can only make out a few random words. It's comforting in some primal way to hear English being spoken on our little dead-end.

Along with the English, sometimes in the mornings I hear American music, pop songs from the 90s being played. I like M.'s taste in music. Maybe he plays it while he is doing his morning exercise routine. He seems like the type to have an exercise routine, like he takes care of himself. I don't ask. I'm not a nosey neighbor.

The other day, standing, typing away in my sunny doorway, I heard a few complete sentences:

"I was in San Francisco in 1967, the Summer of Love. I took every psychedelic drug that was available. It made a big difference."

I'm not nosey, but I can't help but listen when something is being said. I can't tune out speech, not even an announcer on a radio, not even the vendors blaring their wares from loud speakers on top of their trucks. If I understand the words being spoken, they get through. Hypervigilant, that's me.

These particular words, about the Summer of Love, along with the voice delivering them, I recognized as belonging to our dearly departed Anado. Now, I like Anado and I like M., but, as I was writing an article, it was distracting to have other verbal content competing for my attention. I took a deep breath and cued up a compilation of Grateful Dead instrumental jams (speaking of the Summer of Love) to block whatever Anado had to say next. All was good.

Later in the day, M. called over: "I was listening to an interview of you and Anado." The full force of the irony struck me. Quite literally, I had been disturbing myself.

One doesn't have to be Carl Jung or given over to philosophical speculations to interpret this one; no reading into required. Nothing disturbs me like I disturb myself. I blame my discomfort on my circumstances, but it is I who allow my circumstances to bother me.

Up on my roof this morning, I noticed the workmen assembling an, as yet, open-sided structure on an already tall house, a couple of streets over, blocking yet another degree or two of my western view. I looked out at my extensive panorama, melancholically reviewing the similarly offending structures that have risen up in the 11 years that I have been in residence here, just behind the church of San Antonio.

By far the worst of these is the dormer that my next-door neighbor built for egress onto his roof. Only eight-foot by eight-foot, it screens out most of Independencia. The closer something is to our eye, the more of our vision it obstructs.

Edgar Allen Poe wrote a short story about a man who watched, horror-stricken, as a giant monster descend a distant hill. The end of the story has him realizing that the "monster" was in fact only a tiny spider dangling from the brim of his hat.

I am the closest and the most to blame; my worst, and perhaps my only, disturber. Imagining them to be monsters, I have more than a few spiders dangling from my hat.

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Dr. David presents Lokkal, the social network, the prettiest, most-efficient way to see San Miguel online. Our Wall shows it all. Join and add your point of view.

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