Prov. 27:15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
To me, the fact that God compares the annoying behavior of people to a continual dropping is an indicator to me that God understands just how close to insanity constant noise can drive someone.
This is exactly what my mother and I are going through!
At work, my desk is located by the office door. So, all day, I hear a sizeable KER-KLACK from the door closing.
When someone has to go to the bathroom--KER-KLACK. When someone has to leave to go to a meeting--KER-KLACK. When someone has to leave for the day--KER-KLACK.
For security purposes, our office requires a badge and swipe pad to enter; the swipe pad makes a BEEP sound when badge entry is approved. So all day, when someone comes into work--BEEP, KER-KLACK. When someone returns from the bathroom--BEEP, KER-KLACK. When someone returns from a meeting--BEEP, KER-KLACK.
Because the door requires a badge to enter, those who do not have a badge have to knock on the door; because I'm physically closest to the door, I'm usually the lucky candidate who has to stop working to answer it. So all day, when a business associate visits the office--KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK. When the mail lady comes--KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK. When someone is lost in the building and is trying to find a doctor's office--KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK.
The office is pretty small. All of our desks are in close proximity to one another. Sometimes, two and three coworkers are on the phone at the same time. One of my coworkers has a hearing problem, so she tends to talk a bit louder than most people when she's on the phone. This is all in addition to just the regular chit chat that goes on in the office. So throughout the day, it's BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH from various corners of the room.
We just hired a new employee. Nice girl, but she seems to have a fondness for high heels. The kitchenette, with its tile flooring, like the office door, is located near my desk. So every time this sweet girl goes into the kitchenette, its KLOCK, KLOCK, KLOCK, KLOCK, KLOCK from her high heels.
Oh goodness, I almost forgot about my boss' constant throat clearing. This woman owns a cat (or cats plural--I'm not sure). I don't know if it's the influx of cat hair/dander she's breathing in or what, but this woman is constantly clearing her throat--ERR-UM, ERR-UM, ERR-UM. I'm not exaggerating: One day, I watched the clock to see how often it happened and it was, literally, about every two minutes. ERR-UM...ERR-UM...ERR-UM...
So my entire day consists of a constant flow of BEEP, KER-KLACK, BEEP, KER-KLACK, KER-KLACK, KER-KLACK, KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK, KLOCK, KLOCK, KLOCK, KLOCK, ERR-UM...ERR-UM, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.
I'm thankful that my bosses are pretty cool about allowing me to listen to my ipod at work, which drowns out the noise a pinch, but barely.
Our living situation is no better. We live right next door to a church, which also has a school and a playground.
All day, every day, my mother (who is retired and taking online college courses) must endure a constant barrage of children's screams. Have you ever tried meditating and praying or doing school work with constant screaming going on around you? We can hear the screaming clearly even with the windows closed. So, even when the weather is nice and cool, we often have to keep the windows closed to minimize the noise a pinch. Fresh air is a rare treat in our apartment. We keep the windows closed and the air conditioner on almost around the clock just to make the situation barely bearable (we're not crazy about our electricity bill going up because of this either!). The screaming starts about 7am and doesn't end until about 7pm (since, after school, the playground is open to the public). On nights when the church has their mid-week services, the noise in the church's parking lot can continue up to 10pm (the city's noise ordinance actually forbids noise after 6pm).
One night, I was trying to sleep around 9pm and there were teenagers yelling in the church's parking lot, "COCKADOODLE-DOO!!!!" over and over and over again. I composed myself and called the church, actually intending to leave a message. When a woman answered the phone, I calmly said, "Hello, I live next door. There are people yelling in the parking lot and I have to wake up early for work tomorrow. Could you please have someone go into the parking lot and ask them to stop screaming." I purposely made sure my tone wasn't elevated or nasty as I totally adhere to the adage of one catching more flies with honey than with vinegar. The woman cut me off and said in a very abrupt tone, "I don't know what to tell you. We're having our family night services." To which, I replied, "So your family night services consist of people screaming in the parking lot?" She said, "Well, we're inside. We don't know what's going on outside. I don't know what to tell you."
I have to admit, I was quite shocked by the woman's tone and nonchalant attitude. This woman didn't know whether or not I was a Christian. If, indeed, evangelizing should be one of the Church's top priorities, this could've been a potential witnessing opportunity for this woman. I totally expected her to be kind and apologetic. We went back and forth like this for a few more seconds. Finally, I ended the conversation by saying, "Well, I think Christians should behave better than this!" and hanging up.
When the COCKADOODLE-DOO screaming continued a bit longer, my mother called the police. We think the police must've called the church because the screaming stopped shortly thereafter. But there's been more back and forth drama between us and them since then.
My mom cries and is depressed almost every day. She cries and prays and cries and prays that we'll have the money to move soon (we also have a lease which doesn't expire until February 2013! We figured we could break the lease if we have the money to move and can find a potential renter to take over the apartment).
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the road, located between our condo and the church. The road leads to a big, grassy open area behind our building complex. On weekends, during the day, we think sports activities go on there because there's a constant flow of traffic on this little road. Oddly enough, even at night, there's sometimes quite a bit of traffic on that little road. We're not sure what goes on back there at night, since there's nothing back there but an open, grassy area--Drug sales? Prostitution?
Oh, and how can I forget the helicopters?! Because government buildings and jobs dominate this area, there's quite a bit of helicopter traffic. One Saturday night--I'm not exaggerating--fleets of helicopters flew overhead, nonstop, for at least an hour! I closed my window and, thankfully, drifted off to sleep after an hour, so I don't know how long it continued after that.
So let's recap: At work, it's doors BEEP, KER-KLACKing, KER-KLACKing, high heels KLOCK, KLOCK, KLOCKing, my boss ERR-UMing, people BLAH, BLAH, BLAHing and KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCKing.
At home, it's kids screaming, cars zooming and whizzing by, helicopters chopping overhead and so on and so forth.
In the midst of all of this, my mother and I are trying to stay peaceful--you know, by the still waters. We're trying to keep our minds on abiding in Christ. But it's hard when you're dealing with a continual dropping. Needless to say, these things have done nothing to help my already frayed nerves and perhaps can account for my general grumpy demeanor.
We try to remain thankful, focusing on what do have rather than on what we don't have: We thankful we're not homeless, we're thankful that I'm not unemployed. We don't want to be like the ungrateful, murmuring, complaining Israelites; we know how much God HATES that!
One of the promises we're holding onto is Isaiah 32:18:
"And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places..."
We're praying to someday live in peace and quiet. What a beautiful thing! That's the one luxury I'm hoping to one day afford!
Twenty-first century technology has brought with it, much gain but also much pain. Much of the noise we must endure today didn't exist in biblical times. It's even given rise to a phenomenon called "noise sensitivity." God understands this. I'm trying to keep my mind focused on Christ and on dwelling by the still waters, but it's kinda hard with a constant BEEP, KER-KLACK, KLOCK, KLOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK, BLAH, BLAH, ERR-UM, SCREAM, SCREAM, ZOOM, ZOOM, WHIZ, WHIZ, CHOP, CHOP, COCKADOODLE-DOO going on around you.
We're trying. We're praying. We're believing. We're hoping.
In the meantime, I guess I'll have to keep cranking up the volume on my ipod.