Udo, I miss you today, especially.

by cheri block

I am trying as mightily as a yoga master to stay in the present moment.

It’s hard when your inconsiderate neighbor’s yappy dog continues to bark.

Bark. Bark, Bark. Pause. Motorized vehicle. Pitched irritated bark. Another motorized vehicle. Hammering. Bark.

All on a Sunday.

The shattering of calm amidst the wistful breezes of my late-August reverie.

I know. It’s 1967 and I am frisky and quick like a little filly looking for a colt. Its “going back to school” time.  Cheerleader practice in the cool cement shadows of the amphitheater, walking home through the football field, its carpet of freshly cut grass like catnip to an impish feline. My new school clothes- tweed and wool- to be worn in November, laid out on my bed in my powder-blue room, freshly starched blouses, my mother’s fragrant kitchen and my father’s fun.  My jeep.

This Sunday afternoon, I lapse into unremitted sentimentality and loss. Mainly loss of quiet. G-d Damnit. I now see how ranchers resort to shooting wolves after their sheep.

“Let it go, let it go, let it go,” I tell myself in soothing internal language.

Even my own dog Dinah, who only barks at an occasional rustle in the night, is annoyed today.

Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden that one could suffocate on too much courtesy, but I wouldn’t mind trying to come up for air.

Oh God of the Eclipse, of Cosmic Justice, of Just Desserts–please bring upon my noisy neighbors the curse of the Carmelite Nun.

And now, to a Chardonnay.



About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in dogs, Life, My childhood, Parenting, People and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Now.

  1. Udo looking formidable. A few years ago when we were all younger, the next door dog barked early in the morning each day, while his parents slept in the far side of their house. Another neighbor, two doors down had finally had enough and opening her window, screamed in her loudest voice “SHUT U-UPP!!!” Shortly thereafter, silence returned to the neighborhood.

  2. Cheri says:

    Ha! I did yell across the dale this afternoon but oh so politely. Please! Pleasssssse! Put your dog in.
    No change so now I put on my music in an effort to block it out.

  3. Brig says:

    Dang if that doesn’t sound like here. The two golden retrievers next door barked every morning non- stop for two weeks. My desk window faces their back yard. I like to leave my windows open in the cool morning. The barking was seriously getting on my nerves. When the husband was home the other day, I told him about it. As I suspected he didn’t know because they were all off at work or in the house with the tv blaring. He apologized and said he would take care of it. He did, haven’t heard even a little woof out of the goldens all week.
    This morning, as I sat out to enjoyed the cool morning air I found that the neighbors two down from me got a new puppy. How do I know… he howled and whined and bark all morning long… sigh

    • Cheri says:

      I guess this is a universal problem. This people would never say they would take care of it. They tell me WHY the dog is barking e.g, there are hawks in the sky.

  4. CINDY USEDOM says:

    After seeing you today walk up my driveway with a rifle on your hip, and a twinkle in your eye.. I think you should have loaded both the 30 30 and your shot gun and let them rip – perhaps a couple of times- to those around you who could care less for the quiet peacefulness. Your sis

    Cindy Block Usedom Graphic Design and Art Direction

    Mobile: 510-501-4140 Office: 925-426-3760 Portfolio:


  5. Cheri says:

    Excellent idea, sis!

  6. Richard says:

    I would mention the penetrating squeak of metal on metal somewhere whenever the wind blows, celebration marked by decibel-laden popular music, midnight firework parties, leaf-blowers and sirens of emergency services enshrined in legality, lathes, building works, sanders, portable radios, phone-ins or hyped-up accelerating motor cars, but that would extend your misery. I try to tell myself there is harmonious music in there somewhere but then I vent my frustration with the only weapon I have available, my motor-mower, only to disturb my more peaceful neighbours, who are so nice I excuse for the dog that yaps at 6am.

    When all calms down and returns to the usual quiet, I ponder the artillery and deafening aircraft of allies and invaders alike, the sirens of warfare, hideous torture, the screams and sudden silence of innocent women and children, the roar of crumbling masonry, the cries of orphaned infants or – the muffled anguish of hunger and loneliness – and am thankful for my privileges and mercies.

    Excuse me though, while I remonstrate with that all-day addictive user of an incessant chainsaw.

    • Cheri says:

      Thank you for this. Sure. We all have to deal with noise. Is it getting worse? Is there more noise than in the 50’s and 60’s? Leaf blowers, above all other gardening assistants, should be banned. Sweeping would improve our arm strength anyway.

      I am thankful for my blessings too but I am ticked off at my neighbors.

      Ron had a case last year where one neighbor poisoned his neighbors’ trees because they were blocking their view of the Bay. Having never really had a dispute with a neighbor, I couldn’t relate.

      But now I can.

      • Richard says:

        It is the proliferationof ever more cheap and powerful tools owned by expanding waistines that’s mostly to blame and the urge to use them. Raw manual application places you in a lower order.

        Would we have tolerated a blacksmith’s forge in the village?

        Perhaps you would be good enough to supply the name of the successful tree poison.

  7. wkkortas says:

    I would suggest perhaps sharing a Chardonnay (or perhaps a lower-tier Riesling would be better) with the offending canine, as drunk dogs tend to go very quiet, plus they tend to get all Foster Brooks-ish on the way there.

    • Cheri says:

      Yes. I remember when I was a small girl and went to horse camp in Oakdale, California. The older kids gave whiskey to the chickens. The image of chickens that couldn’t walk a straight line has stayed with me. Ha!

  8. ShimonZ says:

    “This morning, as I sat out to enjoyed…” I think you meant ‘enjoy’.
    For the last month and a half, my downstairs neighbor has been remodeling his home, and there is the near constant roar of heavy equipment as walls are destroyed to be replaced. I have been working with ear muffs for hearing protection. They lessen the volume, but noise remains noise, and it’s a real challenge. I send you my sympathy.

  9. shoreacres says:

    My downstairs neighbor has a beagle, which she walks regularly. They search for squirrels together, and since we have a lot of squirrels around, the baying of that hound goes on apace. I’ve suggested they leave the squirrels alone, but she tells me it’s the nature of a hound to hunt and bay. I tell her I understand that — which is why it should be in the nature of the hound’s human to control the dog. Sweet reasonableness goes only so far, of course.

    • Cheri says:

      Oh, that weak logic to explain noise intrusion. I recognize it immediately having listening to students’ excuses throughout the years. I call your neighbor’s “tangential reasoning,” whereby the answer to an obvious concern has little to do with the problem.

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