“What comes across in these letters is a survivor who knew that to be a writer means discipline, indefatigable commitment, and passion for hard work.” — Adrienne Rich
Imagine the horror involved with actually having to live with a poltergeist. The Free Dictionary defines a poltergeist as a “ghost that manifests itself by noises, rappings, and the creation of disorder.”
What an understatement. To have a poltergeist in the home is to experience pandemonium so torrential that it is certain to drive you away, and that is only after it has brought you to your knees, brought you to the brink of despair so that you are rending the strands of your hair from your head. The noise is hateful, boisterous and excruciatingly LOUD, coming at all hours of the day and night so that madness is certain to set in. There is no reckoning with the disturbance as it proceeds to obliterate anything and everything you have ever cared for in your entire life. All the worse, the chances of getting rid of the hellish din is slim to none.
I should know, I’ve been living with one for the past year.
When I first discovered the fact, it came in the form of — well — imagine the sound of a logging truck whose straps have broken, where the entire load of logs go slamming, pounding into the road with a deafening roar, the reverberation echoing for miles. That is what the sound resembled on my ceiling one unsuspecting day. I was terrified. Torn from sleep in an instance, I thought I was having a heart attack, my heart beating brutally like it might burst from my chest.
From that point the noise never came to desist. Hour after hour, week after week, month after month, the pounding, the banging, the stomping, the soul-crushing scraping and clawing, the neverending chaos. I had no idea what to do. My life teetering on the edge, I contacted the managers; and they proceeded to blow me off as though I were some sort of a loon.
I knew I was going to have to leave, knowing that I would never be able to contend with such horror, the ongoing and incessant pounding and banging, often times sounding as though bar bells of great weight were being thrust directly into the floor. In bed my anxiety levels rose to inane levels, my heart pounding as never before. And the evil of the poltergeist — it has never come to cease to this day.
Then imagine the horror when the beligerent sounds of a little boy running back and forth across the ceiling began. Over and over again so that my nightmare, the terror, became that which would induce my assured insanity. I was losing my mind, the hateful tornado-like din forever pelting my ears. Altogether it was a chorus of noise that can be described as nothing less than demonic, torturing. I crammed ear plugs deep into the canals of my ears and I prayed — voraciously — to God and his beloved savior, but it was all to no avail: I was in Hell.
My lease is almost up and I will be vacating the premises at the end of March. The people who have caused all this terror in my life will get away scot-free and I will go away a damaged person.
As I came to learn, within a tiny apartment the size of that barely measuring the length/width of a parking space, a man and a woman had moved in with their baby and their son, including a small dog. That is four people and an animal all stuffed into this minuscule area.
The man worked nights where the lady had grown accustomed to working around this kind of schedule. And while this explanation may bear the mark of the need for compassion, the truth is not so beneficent. Both parents are possessed of hostile natures, the woman being currently investigated by the Child Protective Services. When they first moved in and the horror began, so utterly intolerable as it was, I thumped on the ceiling to let them know that a person was, in fact, living beneath them. I thought this might arise within the woman that innate nature that we all have, where we realize that the expression of courtesy is what separates us from the animals.
But I received no such courtesy. The woman, upon hearing my thumping, proceeded to smash and bang her vacuum into the floor with the kind of tantrum I have only seen in the movies, where some actor is allowed to thoroughly destroy the set, the aggression something frightening to behold. Think of Kylo Ren’s moment of searing anger:
To be honest, I believe Kylo Ren would be terrified of this woman. With her foreign accent she terrorizes her son in the room that is directly above mine, and with the ceiling so low, I can hear and feel everything the poor boy is going through. (What she may or may not understand is that because I am right there, I am enduring the abuse equally.) She screams and she cusses and she throws things and, weirdly enough, she never ever never ever stops stomping throughout the apartment. She marches around like an elephant of fury, with all the intents and purposes of a person bent on inflicting emotional and psychological terror.
And I was the one lucky enough to have them move in above me. The father is just as bad only, he is very tall and behaves in ways that resemble something of an angry mob type. He stomps and bangs, yells at his son (who I believe is only around eight or nine, and is never in school), and he produces noise inside the apartment that makes me feel like I’m living within the confines of a body shop, the ongoing grinding and banging.
The real horror, if can be possible, lay with the management, who ignore me like I’m disposable. I have complained and complained and complained, and called and called, and spoke with and spoke with, and nothing ever happens. I am ignored, which means the things management tells me, are all lies!
I don’t understand what karmic aspect of my life led me to this experience, but I must’ve done something because the problem is so bad that it makes me nauseated. I have medications now because of it all and I have to borrow additional anti-anxiety meds from a friend, all of which still don’t really help in light of how the noise is ongoing. It never stops. I am jittery nervous even as I go to make this post.
Heaven help me, I think I’m going to die.
I moved into a historical building that is two-hundred miles away from where I used to live, because I got a new job. While I’m happy about the job, the move itself is not it’s all cracked up to be. The building is in a horrid neighborhood and there was a shooting two days after I moved in. I was desperate to get situated and so I had to take what I could get.
The truth is, I’ve lived in this area of California before, and it was after I moved away that I learned some odd things about the geography. Where I used to live, the rents are very high; here the rents are reasonable. Here, though, the crime is high. The cultural shock is stunning. The racial mix is oppressive. Drug use is high. And so it’s strange that even with an MA, I was not able to find a job back in Sonoma that could pay the ridiculously high costs of living, yet here I am making better money, and I have access to affordable living.
Even stranger is that because I couldn’t afford a real home in Sonoma, which is a beautiful place to live for the rich, I was forced to live in less-than-desirable conditions, a room with three melted windows in a parking lot for a tire-changing shop, pictured here:
How odd is it that I should have to move to a place that is crawling with crime just so that I can have what seems to be something decent. The catch is, I will have to remain indoors as much as possible if I want to live. (A poster is hanging in the laundry area which concerns the recent murder of a man who just so happens to be a white male.)
My first week and I am thus exposed to the terrors of a neighborhood shooting, posters of dead men on the wall, and to enhance the matter, I witnessed with my own eyes a crazy man who for reasons unknown, jumped atop of this vehicle and began smashing the windshield with his foot. Luckily I was with others and together we were able to see the man apprehended, but I’m sure this will not complete the line of tales that will arise from my impending experience amid the environs of my latest domestic situation.
I’d finally gotten a half-way decent sleep last night, meaning that I was somewhat refreshed upon waking. I went out for some coffee and returned to plot breakfast. And can you imagine the sweet sound of birdsong, coursing on air, the fluttering of their wings as they shot, branch to branch, their lives so wrought with nature’s mystery of meaning? After eating I had business to attend to: the demons of student loan hell had been hunting me, looking to break my kneecaps or something. I had to try and plead, to beg for my life, since I hadn’t quite started making the money I thought higher education would bring.
I went to the grocery store later, to get some stuff for lunches. Don’t know why I felt agitated; possibly the medication, or the fact that I’d forgotten to bring the Red Box DvD with me for return. And I thought on the seasons past, when glittering stars would align while others, composing wondrous backgrounds, would shimmer soaring across the night sky, leaving behind their trailing streaks for me to wish upon. How did hope, and plans, and dreams, how did they feel so alive, thriving with vitality? When I got back, my neighbor asked if I could come over and help him with his computer. The guy’s a bit of an old fella, not too bright either, so you know how these things go; it was a pleasure to help.
The afternoon was spent slicing lettuce and fruit, listening to music on YouTube as I thought about the pending work week. Were the days really starting to blur into each other? After the troubles I’d gone through, and then making what life repairs I could, was it really the answer to all of my life questions, a full-time job? My how the clouds can gather, the plains below thick with their grasses and the mud, where the throng of life crawls like all those moments of confusion when you wonder as growing child, where am I going? Will everything be okay? I kept cutting the items at my cutting board until I realized I was done, and that I needed to make a decision as to what I should do afterwards, after my preparations for the work week were complete.
My place is so incredibly small that to complain is quite out of the question. I had thought to move when I had the chance but curiously enough, the chance never materialized. Eventually I had to come to terms with the fact that I live in a city where the wall between the rich and the poor towers, that there’s no way through. I know what side of the wall I’m on, and that’s okay. Life isn’t all about money. What I thought about doing, as I sat there, peering through the blinds of my one and only window, was confronting the man with the key to the chains. He keeps it bound up with all of his others, a ring of keys shiny and carefully guarded, for when he turns them fresh in their tumblers, he hopes with all of the power of his sardonic grin, that he won’t have to use them ever again.
Today I woke to the silence of my studio hovel, minutes before the alarm was to go off. I’m verging on the point with my job where the days are beginning to blur, the routine developing into a system of soul destruction.
I drove to work, looking for the car I’d seen the day before, because there was some woman looking at me strangely, pointedly, as though I were someone she knew.
At work I sauntered into my cubicle, the space seemingly growing smaller, and began the tasks I was hired to do.
At lunchtime I walked to the park, where the downtown elites mingled about, partaking of their lunches and generally looking well-paid, well-clothed. Two women were sitting close to the spot where I muscled down a homemade salad; I couldn’t finish the thing because I wasn’t hungry. I went to go lay down in the shade and noticed that the two women had moved as well, close to where I lay, and I could hear one of them laughing.
The afternoon passed in my cubicle with a dull feeling, as though my mind and body were bruised, and I thought I could imagine the roof opening wide to the whiplash of a tornado.
I had to get gas on the way home, and here the competition stimulated my senses, where others were vying for the same pump stand as I, as we, the three of us, pulled in from three different entry points of the station.
At home I faced the devastation, the reality of where I’m forced to live, because I’m one of those people who never quite achieved financial success; here, my junkie neighbor accosted me, because that’s the way he is, and it doesn’t matter that I’m not thrilled about the whole of the situation.
I forced myself to work on some things, though my neck started hurting for some stupid reason.
In bed I thought about some things, meaningful things like hope and desire, along with some less meaningful things like the purchase of a new laptop, all this before I wrote about my day and then went to sleep.
So now I’m saying goodnight to everyone and my fellow bloggers, and sweet dreams until we meet again…