Saturday, September 18, 2010
The Shaman of Bushwick
My neighbor has decided that he's a rock star. His instrument of choice? The drums, of course. Lord. This is really harshing my mellow, people. I'm trying to be all peace and love. I'm trying to visualize butterflies and tulips bouncing off his drum set, but what keeps showing up in my mind's eye is a plethora of drumsticks protruding from each of his nine orifices. Fortunately for me, this guy's a partier extraordinaire, and wouldn't be caught dead at home on a Saturday night, so he should be leaving the building in...oh, about four hours. That's a LOT of butterflies. But heck - for all I know, the party's at his (read: our) place tonight. This could be bad. Really bad.
And he really is bad. I don't know much about this stuff, but I know bad drumming when I hear it. I suspect that he's practicing for his first drum solo, which, if it ever happens, will vacate any bar in a jiffy. What's a peaceful, silence-loving gal to do? What sharpened utensil shall I use to off the guy?
See, I have a personal policy about complaining to people with whom I'm in regular contact. I simply don't do it. Not because I'm a coward, and not because I don't want to harsh their mellow; indeed, there's nothing I'd like more. No, the reason I refrain from complaining is that it generally delivers the opposite effect of what I request. This is especially true here in Bushwick, where the average citizen has only recently escaped puberty. I've learned from experience that if I ask someone to turn down their music (hey, it was 4:00 in the morning, and the party had been going on since midnight!), they'll say sure! No problem, grandma. Then, as soon as I've waddled back into my cave and shut the door, the music is cranked a few decibels higher. And THEN you should see grandma stew. Hoo baby.
Never again. I'd rather blithely chew on nails and send out loving kindness missiles, than create a situation where I've rendered myself a moving target. As soon as you complain, it becomes personal. If you keep it to yourself, it's got nothing to do with you. Pound for pound, I'll choose the latter, every time. But BOY can I think of some things I'd like to do with those drumsticks.
On one late-night-early-morning, after I'd learned the above-mentioned lesson of not complaining, I was laying in bed, listening to my neighbors party down, pickling in my own juices. I was so filled with anger, resentment, and indignity that I thought I might blow a fuse. Every drunken twenty-something in Bushwick was laughing and screaming just outside my sacred door, and I was bitterly outraged at the violation. Since I had no better ideas, I began to breathe, slowly and deeply. I had no idea what I was doing, but it seemed the thing to do. I just kept at it, breathing from my navel, my anus, my knees, my big toes. No body part was left out; I breathed into every last one. And you know what happened?
I calmed my strangled heart. I peaced my muddled mind. Encouraged, I began to send peaceful, loving thoughts to the morons thumping against my door. I blessed them. I inhaled the chaos, and exhaled radiance. I did this for a long, long time. In my skylight I watched the morning break. It was utterly beautiful. I continued to breathe and send love. I finally slept, and when I awoke hours later, I prayed that each and every person to whom I had sent love would wake up with the worst hangover of their lives.
Hey, I know! I'll visualize my neighbor as a shaman, beating on his sacred drum. Oh, this is gonna be fun. Now I hope he decides to stay in tonight. I'm gonna bless the living crap out of the bastard.
Above: Hindu Morning Prayer, letters cut from the New Testament. 5.5" x 3.5", 2010.