Neighborhood Observations


A large shepherd stuck his head out the back window. The very old and equally small car lurched out of the intersection, at any given moment threatening to stall and die forever. The dog was thrilled. He glanced around at everything going on around him, his eyes bright and alert and his tongue out and flopping haphazardly. He probably had to stay in the back seat in order to give the car traction. It was not inconceivable that he could pull the tiny car if it did stall out.

The gray (once possibly blue) car continued on fretfully up the street and out of sight. A cardinal raced overhead and flitted into a nearby tree, no longer to be seen. A myriad of sparrows hipped and hopped about on rooftops, shrubs, and on powerlines above. A variety of birds, insects, and what-have-you chirped, croaked, and sang. They had no fear of mobilized shepherds.

A small gaggle of children overtook and ran and rode past, the ones on foot somehow going faster than those on bikes. A few minutes later it occurred again. It could have been the same children, or a matrix-level event. The cardinal and shepherd were nowhere to be seen.

An old woman was in a chair on her outdoor patio. A middle aged man and a woman were seated close by her. It was hard to tell if she could move, or if her eyes were tracking the world around her. The focus of the man and woman were completely on her, their lowered voices directed to her awkwardly angled head. Tended flowers in full bloom covered most of the small yard before them. An ugly low metal fence divided the property from the world.

Cars and trucks whirled down the street, generally going far too fast for the slow neighborhood. The uneven pavement caused larger trucks to make a sizeable racket that drowned out all other sound.

At night things quieted down. The animals and insects suppress themselves to light background chatter. Cars become infrequent and larger trucks all but disappear. Barring a weekend party, the people are indoors and left to themselves. Street lamps bounce their light about, sometimes blindingly so and in other places devoid such that you can actually see more than just the most brilliant stars and planets. Everywhere there are trees and hills; the horizon generally starts at about 20 degrees above the horizon.

In the morning, it all starts again. In summer, the birds start with the false dawn of the early hours, closer to when some of us go to bed as opposed to waken. Not too long after, the early human risers make even more noise with their cars and (sadly) large trucks, echoing their noise pollution into the dreams of those still sleeping.