July 23, 2018

do we start with werewolf sounds or creaking door hinges?

It's almost time to install a state-of-the-art high-powered outdoor stereo system and download an expansive collection of weird sound effects.  We should start shopping for equipment.

There's a smallish, elongated field behind our back yard that our real estate agent told us, back when we bought the house, would never be built on because the owner had tried and tried to get the County perk tests to come back positive, but the land just wouldn't perk and it was basically useless.  "Enjoy the view," she said.  We don't sit back there, even though we have a deck and some deck furniture engaged in the hobby of growing moss, but if we did sit on the deck sometimes, we would have a lot of trees and tall grass as our landscape.

Except that now there are four houses there.  One of them is so close to our yard that we're going to be able to count the nasal hairs of the owners without using binoculars.  Not that we would ever use binoculars on neighbors.  (Seriously.  We wouldn't.  That's beyond even our level of weird.)

We don't understand how there can suddenly be four septic drain fields that work.  Somebody paid somebody to lie.  That's going to be pleasant.

The construction began about six months ago.  They were clearing very old, tall trees.  P.J. works at home and the house kept shaking every time a tree went BOOM and hit the ground.  After a few weeks, there was a sort of Mayan-looking temple in the middle of the field comprised of stacked-up full-sized trees.  We still don't know how the hell they removed all of that without fire and ancient ritual.

Then the grading equipment arrived.  P.J. had to listen to loud industrial equipment operating and guys shouting to each other because working with loud industrial equipment had rendered them all legally deaf.  And to the land surveyors and project managers and general contractors and bank appraisers tromping right past our house and along the outside of our fence.

The stream of people going by tapered because then they built a road going straight to the houses.  No more walking.

Since then, the various stages of house-building have provided their own range of noises.  Sometimes it's hammering that sounds like someone knocking on the door of one of the rooms in our house.  Sometimes there are saws that remind us of dental work and generators that shake the house as badly as the falling trees did.  Once we heard an elephant in the next-door neighbor's yard.  We were sitting in the living room together and heard the sound and looked at each other.  "Is there a circus up at the park this weekend?" I asked.  "No," P.J. said, shaking her head solemnly.  We continued looking at each other.  "Should we sell the house, then?" I asked.  We still don't know what sounded like an elephant.

They've finished roofing and windows and siding is going on this week.

The worst part is yet to come.  There are going to be people back there.  There are anxiety disorders to consider here; this isn't us being not-in-my-back-yard yuppies.  We aren't going to be able to walk by the windows in our kitchen or dining room, or down our hallway, without feeling like people are watching us.  Even if they're not weird and holding binoculars, even if they turn out to be the best possible neighbors a person can have, the psychology of it is going to ruin us.  And because we had the fence built (so Rose couldn't get to the front yard and the postal service would begin delivering packages again, after what happened to that mailman and the truck), there's nowhere to plant trees that could serve to obscure the view naturally. 

There is a road and there are going to be car sounds all around us now.

This is why I think it's only fair that we retaliate.  If we work now, by cover of night and before anyone occupies the houses, we could install underground runs of stereo wire to strategically placed, camouflaged speakers at the perimeter of the property back there.  The wiring would run back to our house, and we could play all kinds of carefully selected sounds, sometimes at 3:00 in the morning.  Animals.  Knocking.  Scritches.  Doors slowly opening.  Vases hitting the floor.  A well-executed plan of auditory torment might buy us some peace, even if that peace exists only in the times between when each house is sold and when new buyers move in.  Word would eventually get around.

This is superior to the smell campaign I wanted to mount, because that would involve actual trespassing.  And it's the only way I've been able to find thus far to look forward to the arrival of neighbors instead of losing sleep dreading it.


  1. Sometimes ya gotta fight fire with fire -- or in your case, noise with noise! I appreciate a devious, diabolical plan put into action! I hope you add in evil laughter as part of your cacophony of sound! And you've got to spread the word to potential buyers that the new houses were built on ancient burial grounds just to set the right mood. Or maybe you could tell them that on that plot of land in the early 1700's, settlers were massacred by some unseen, unknown force, and that you hear their cries at night and have seen apparitions of small children with looks of terror on their faces! Tell them that there's some large animal with glowing red eyes that roams outside your fenced in property during the wee hours and that it even scared several priests who came to exorcise the place and that the priests won't even accept your calls anymore! Tell them that you were only able to have your land de-demonized but that the priest who did it eventually died under mysterious but horrible circumstances! Or is that too much? (Sometimes it's really good to be a writer!) Good luck and I hope you scare the bejeezus out of potential neighbors before they move in! Please keep us posted with how it goes!

  2. This is all good, except that it would require social interaction. Maybe a forged neighborhood newsletter? I'm pretty good with Publisher. Now I'm thinking Nazgul cries ....