Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Noisy Noise Annoys an Oyster

I lie propped up in bed, book face down on my lap, listening, listening to the night. Or more accurately, the ruckus that is occurring next door, or possibly their garden, or perhaps in the opposite garden? Could it be their dog? I rotate my head, owl style, so that my wise brain can detect the direction of the source of the sound. It is very late. It is very late because we are in America. For the rest of the world it is party time because it’s Saturday night. All over the world, the youth of today are damaging their hearing with far too much loud noise, which they refer to as music. I think of the conversation with my eldest daughter, the one far away, the big one, the independent one, who can also still be a little tiny worried one, with doubts, when it’s dark at night, when it’s late, when she’s a long long way away. I cock my head from one side to the other. I am so lucky to be old and experienced. It’s a pity I spent too much time in discos way back in the 70’s.
It’s no good. I flip back the duvet, slip on a dressing gown [translation = robe] to cover my modesty and my nakedness, and flip flap down the stairs. I poke my head out the front door. Front or back? I walk out into the middle of the front path, arms folded across my flat chest for protection, possibly against the cold.
“What are you doing?” he calls.
“Checking what?”
“Where that noise is coming from.”
“I can’t hear anything. What noise?”
After repeating the exercise in the back garden, I retreat to bed, or rather I leave him in peace to play with his computer. I perch in bed, ears pricked. I wrap my skinny arms around my prickly shins. I’m lucky that it’s Autumn [translation = Fall] as I never managed to acquire a tan all summer but now it’s cold I can cover my lily white legs with seasonal attire. I pick at the skin on my knees, taut but the wrinkles gather lower down. I should be using this time carefully, to plan. Right now she might be being torn limb from limb by a mad axe murderer with no-one there to protect her, because her parents are away on a cruise. I mean legally it’s o.k. for them to leave her, she’s reached her majority, she’s taller than me actually, but all the same. What will she do in the event of a house invasion? [translation = person coming into your home without permission harboring evil intent] Have they trained her to cope? There again, it’s nearly Halloween, a time of year when people act peculiarly and do odd things, especially at night. It might just be a wicked wheeze. [translation = hoax] I can see his hands round her throat, eyes bulging, voiceless.
I flip flap downstairs at the highest speed possible for a crumbly person and grab the nearest non lethal weapon that I can lay my hands on, an umbrella, a lovely yellow sunflower umbrella, that should put the fear of God into them. I flip flap down the garden path in my dressing gown, across the road and up their garden path to their front door. On arrival I realize that I have forgotten the bifocals. Where is the door bell? I realize I’m pressing the eye-spy hole when it doesn’t yield. I run my fingers along the edge of the frame until I find it, luckily their emergency light has come one so I am flooded in a fish bowl of 500 watts, so that everyone on the entire block can see me. Why don’t they have the door bell on the left so that I can hold up my deadly weapon in a threatening manner in my right? I arrange my facial features; don’t mess with me, I am the defender of maidens. Would the bifocals make me look scarier or weak? I wonder if I should have delayed long enough to grab junior’s mask, but a red Power Ranger face might not be all that helpful, although the red would match my dressing gown. I garner all crumbs of knowledge about self defense. It is a very small pile; credit card across the Adam’s apple, gouge eyes with long nailed fingers. I check my stumpy bitten digits. Why didn’t I bring my hand bag? [translation = purse] Never go anywhere without a credit card. I make an inventory of attack techniques, sadly only one, the knee to groin one, which usually only antagonizes but is otherwise ineffectual. How can I have reached this great age and yet be so poorly equipped? I press again as she draws her last gasp on the other side of the door. I think ‘om’ thoughts but discard those in favor of ‘kill’ thoughts. All over the world there are little girls home alone, who have grown into young women, oh woe is me, what a big bad nasty world it is. I stand in my red dressing gown, pink flip flops, white stick legs, wielding my umbrella, ready.
Finally the doors opens, huge doe eyes blink and locks of soft brown hair lollop over her shoulder, “what?”
“Oh good, you’re o.k. I heard a noise, just checking.” I bare the braces and give the bewildered young woman an unsolicited hug, so that I know that no-one has a gun in her back and can see behind the door. I scamper off as she closes the door with further evidence of the insanity of foreigners.
I shut my own front door and lean against it. Spouse blinks in my direction having dragging his gaze from the computer screen, “no axe murderer then huh?”
“How did you know?” I snap, crossed. [translation= mad] He smiles in a maddening manner. [translation = infuriating] “I’m sitting here at the computer aren’t I? Do you really think I’d let you loose on an axe murderer?” Damn the man! How did he know that?
“Twenty years, you’re so transparent,” he adds with his hand poised on the door handle. I stomp upstairs resisting the urge to slam the door down on his key board. Transparent indeed! Mysterious and alluring was what I was aiming at. On the top step I can still hear him “mysterious and red fluffy dressing gown don’t match.”
I lie abed and listen to the very same noises. Could be as much as a couple of blocks over, as sound travels further at night. She’s probably not alone, that girl has her family with her, she’ll be o.k., and in any case she’s really a woman now, a modern one at that, so she’s probably been on a self defense course. I nestle into my pillow. I contemplate the postal charge on a human sized parcel of cotton wool for my eldest child all the way in Massachusetts? But how would I get her to wear it? I add a jot to my ‘to do’ list, in the dark, on the emergency paper pad on my nightstand – ‘train children in the art of self defense’ and let my head plop on the pillow. I blink a bit and then insert another jot – ‘train self first.’

1 comment:

LittleBigMan said...

Credit for the phrase, "A Noisy Noise Annoys An Oyster" should be given to Dr Seuss, the famous expert on rhymes, who wrote the first Gerald McBoing Boing cartoon in the 50s. In the episode entitled "How Now Boing Boing" the phrase, "A noisy noise annoys an oyster" is written on a wall. The wordplay is typical Seuss: A noise-y noise a-noise a-noise-ster!