Radio Live nearly drove me to despair today.
It wasn’t the content – it was the fact of it being right outside my kitchen window, on the other side of the fence, and that it didn’t stop. Bless them, my neighbours thought using their car as a sound system would be just the bees knees. An otherwise perfectly crisp, clear autumn morning was marred by only that one thing; a giant tin sound shell directing all the noise at me.
Breakfast on the deck – whinging in the background. I tried pointedly drowning it out with ZM – the point was missed.
A work meeting here at home. On it went. Yap yap yap. No off switch. Various evil thoughts crossed my mind. I muttered darkly. Did nothing.
Lunchtime – still it babbled on. My teeth by now were clenched.
When my friend came around to help me dig my vege patch in the early afternoon, I seized the day and the dog and very rudely went for a run to get away from the bloody thing.
It was still going on when I came back. I couldn’t deal with it any longer. I went next door, knocked. Out came the poor woman. “Sorry to be a nuisance – but could we turn down your car? Only I don’t particularly care for talkback and I’ve had to listen to it since I got up.”
She looked quite surprised. “He’s out the back somewhere. He’s not even listening to it. I can go and ask.”
She and I come from different worlds, I think. “Don’t worry. I can turn it off. We don’t need to bother him.”
And so I did. Well I turned it down at least – to the point where it was draining the battery but inaudibly. I thought that was fair.
I felt so much better after that. Then I opened the vodafone bill. God – how they have the nerve to charge iphone users the text prices they do astonishes me. I had a debate with them over Xmas about this – this month’s bill was $380 – so much for compassion for earthquake affected Christchurch. About as good as the tiny 50ml bottles of hand sanitiser at the supermarket today -$3.99 for something they were selling for 99cents during our pandemic preparedness phase. I will remember you – don’t you worry about that. We’re down already. Don’t make money of us. That isn’t how we roll.
The kids came home. Chris mowed the lawn, Nick did the edges. Nick went to do the vacuuming – the plug has lost a thing so we need a new one. They had to empty the chemical loo because having wrecked my shoulder a while back I can’t lift things above my head. Oh, I’m such a misery guts – somebody slap me!
I’ve been missing things today. I’ve been missing my tap water. I’ve been missing my hills. I wanted so badly to take Pepper up Rapaki. It was perfect day to be out on the bike, and we can’t. Grump. Snarl. Whinge. I sound like a talkback listener. I blame it on the neighbours’ radio.
Music affects your mood. I wouldn’t have minded if they’d been playing national radio or hard rock or house or trance or pop or blues or jazz or r and b – even classical I could have dealt with – but not talkback. Worse than water torture when you can’t turn it off. Music helps me rest my mind. Constant talking winds me up to the point where I can’t think anymore. It’s hard enough to concentrate at the moment. I don’t need that crap.
I hope we cleared the air sweetly today. If not, I might have to buy her husband a little radio headset and hope he doesn’t get offended. Radio listenership is a very personal thing. So is noise pollution, especially when you’re trying to do your paperwork in the office that is also your home.
So it was with enormous delight that we went to sister Brenda’s for the twins 5th birthday party tonight. I’d bought them all the exciting things aunts should – school related bits and pieces. We stopped at the supermarket on the way there so I could add some sugar to the mix. A woman there had a kid in a pushchair who was throwing the loudest and most prolonged tantrum I think I’ve ever seen. Something to do with dinosaurs and how he needed one. I knew how he felt. He’d clearly been exposed to talkback all day too. Someone had drowned out his music.
Couldn’t think as I walked around the shop. Snapped at the boys – not their fault. I couldn’t get to that still place in my head. I got lost driving there, got lost driving to Brenda’s. Concentration and way finding – gone.
But it all changed at Brenda’s. Gathering the clan together, listening to the boys at play, watching mine with them, the banter, the easy wit – it’s just incomparable. Fush and chups and chocolate cake and Skype. Talking with her about the tears you shed on the first day of school – it’s a rip your heart out and stamp on it kind day for a mum. I can still remember how hard I cried when I dropped mine off. The normal tears of everybody’s day.
Home to a heat pump and putting away the groceries and early nights for us all. I have to sign Chris’ correspondence form tonight. Another adventure beckons. Poor boy doesn’t know what he’s getting into.
Driving home, the Xmas lights the community board installed in Waltham some years ago looked so pretty. The sky is really clear at the moment, and they were glistening away without a care in the world.They are so beautiful, and it seemed so important at the time. Perhaps it was.
Today was a bad day for me, and I am one of the luckiest one. We have a home, I have a job, we haven’t lost immediate family although we have lost friends. But I’m no different to anybody else. There are still days when we all want to stamp our feet, especially when things we cannot control intrude on our perfect peaceful world and drown out the music in our heads.
Never mind. The tomatoes got harvested. The work got done. The duties for other people were completed. I paid my bills, even the overdue doctor and physio. And after we did the groceries at yet another new supermarket, I discovered there is an outlet store for shoes at Barrington Mall that I didn’t know existed. They’re nice shoes too and winter’s coming on. Might have to go back there next time the neighbours turn on Radio Live.
In fact I might ring Marcus Lush tomorrow morning (he’s a fabulous broadcaster, on my “interesting people I want to have lunch with” list) and ask him to give them a shout out, get them to turn the radio up. Bit of retail therapy would do me the world of good.