Thursday, November 02, 2006

love thy view

For all the things about TheShanty that make me cringe on a daily basis, there is one thing about my home that is guaranteed to bring me a smile.

The view from my kitchen window.

If I am doing what I am supposed to be doing on a every day (thing like cooking and washing dishes), I am blessed with several opportunities to gaze at a small patch of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, Angel Island, and one of the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. I love it. Even if there are power lines criss-crossing through it. This view (and it's much better in person) makes attacking the never ending dish pile a much more bearable chore.

As beautiful as my tiny little window to the world is, between where I stand at the sink, and where the view is, lies my neighbor's house. I have to put blinders on to create a sightline past the neighbor's yard to enjoy this wonderful sight. One wrong tilt of the head and I have an entirely different experience--from looking at something wonderous and everchanging, to peering into the set of Sanford & Son.

Two summers ago, this next door neighbor built a nice redwood deck in his yard so that I could watch all of his compadres stand around the bar-b-que drinking Coronas, staring at grilling cow parts while waiting for juices to form.

Actually, I didn't mind that. The neighbors are a lively, but decent bunch, so it was actually entertaining and educational. I could prattle about the kitchen, and at the same time do some people watching, eavesdrop, brush up on my spanish....and hey, I could even still watch the fog roll in, too.

Last winter however, when the weather started to turn, NeighborGuy put up a blue tent-thingy. I'm not sure what you call it. It's not just a tarp, and it's too craptastic to deserve the title of gazebo or cabana. Canopy? Whatever. In the photo above, it's actually set up in the foreground. As you can see, it does not obstruct my beloved view.
But it is blue.
It is very very blue. It's a very "man made" plastic friggin' shade of blue, and it was totally clashing with the template of the sunsets and the changing foliage. I hated the blue-ness of it for a very long time.

In addition to my hating the blue-thingy, I hated what became of the porch once he installed it. Bar-b-que season ended, and as the fiesta season came to a close, the unused contents of NeighborGuy's livingroom started oozing out onto the porch to live under his tent-thingy. Old rocking horses, a broken sit and spin, a stair master, throw rugs draped over railings, and more...all were there for the entire season. And all winter long, I was grinding my teeth to a smooth surface watching all the family's unneccessaries get soggier and soggier.

By spring....well, somehow by spring I had finally taught myself how to look out the window and not look downward, but only outward so that my gaze went over the crap and the blue-thingy, and all I saw was my beautiful view. Learning to do this saved me a trip to the dentist and a case of tmj.

See? I rose above. I made it work.

And as a reward for my silent patience, after winter ended, the next spring the NeighborGuy bought a little trailer so he could haul all of that rain damaged crap to the dump. Weekend by weekend the crap went away, the redwood deck was refinished, the grill made reappeared, as did his amigos y familia and the cases of Corona.

Then last this past summer came to a close. About 5 feeks ago, it started feeling like Fall was in the air. I watched from my sudsy little perch as NeighborGuy took down the ugly ass blue-thingy to replace it with a much nicer canvas white-thingy. Ahaa! Another reward for my zenful acceptance! An improvement! "The white blends in so much better," I thought to myself as I watched it being raised, "It doesn't clash! It matches the clouds!"

Well, yes it does, but.....

The damn thing is several feet taller at the center point that its predecessor.

And it is. Right. In. The middle. Of my view.
My. View.
The one and only thing about my house that makes me smile. (To add insult to injury sometime later in the week, a bright red Elmo appeared on his rooftop to keep the matchbox cars company, I guess. Lovely. I just adore seeing outcast toys while I make my morning brew).

Seeing know way to "gaze above" my irritation as I had previously, I decided to talk to NeighborGuy about it. You see, this white-thingy has an adjustable height. I can see the little clicky widgets on the support poles (how can I miss those detials, I am forced to look at the thing 18 million times a day). NeighborGuy has the white-thingy jacked up to it's highest possible notch (of course), which seems completely unneccessary, given that he is 5'7" and the Mrs. is 5'2" and well, they aren't really using it for much more than storing crap again this winter, are they?? I mean, a whole new batch of crap is already oozing outside as I type this.

Ok. So. As I was saying. The tent went up 5 weeks ago. I digressed backin to grinding my teeth for about 2 weeks until I could find a nice way to talk to NeighborGuy. Once I got myself ready to play nice, I waited to catch NeighborGuy outside. I very nicely spoke of my dilemma, and he replies, "Oh...I'll tell you what I'll do for you! I'll lower it a bit, and everything will be okay." I was relieved to have him be so accommodating. We've already had a Hatfields+McCoys encounter over all of those empty Coronas filling up MY garbage can because he'd already filled BOTH of our recylcing bins, and was left not having anywhere to put my own garbage.

Well, he made that promise to lower the white-thingy 3 weeks ago, and the white-thingy still has not been lowered. I don't remember who the hell I said this to this past week, but every single time I have to go to the kitchen sink now (which happens MANY times a day) it get a full body twitch that feels absolutely cancer inducing.

I've been thinking I actyually need to invite the NeighborGuy over into my kitchen so he can look out the window for himself. I've even been tempted to just print out the two photos above and caption it with "before" and "after" and maybe toss in a "WTF??!" and leave it taped to his door. But I'm trying to get calm and nice-nice again so I can just casually ask him about it again the next time I bump into him outside.

This morning I woke up to the sound of rain. I just couldn't wait to drag my arse to the kitchen (sarcasm!), and look out the window to see all of NeighborGuy's wet soggy crap. I went to fill the kettle and that's when I saw this (try to ignore the down comforter left out in the rain--look at the sagging white-thingy!!!):

Maybe mother nature is going to go to bat for me.

edited to add: since writing this, my neighbor has already pushed the sagging puddles up from underneath with a broom to make the water run off, but noow he's gone to work, and I'm doing a rain dance so it will fill up again before he comes home.

Now, what is this I was saying about NaBloPoMo and writing stuff of substance?

Well, here's the thing with all of this. Very recently (liiiiiike as recently as my recent "break up" with my dance company/choreographer), I was told I was passive aggressive.

This was absoulutely news to me. You see, I don't believe I am passive aggressive at all. If you ask me, when I get pissed, I think I'm just flat out aggressive.

I've spent a couple of sessions "on the couch," and man...I am very proud of myself when I am able to think before I speak when it comes to anger. I pat myself on the head. It doesn't happen often. I truly am more inclinded to blow up.

So If I'm doing anything at all that might smack of passivity, it might be my chilling out for a minute (some times so many minutes it equates to days), so that I can find a way to express my (still angry) feelings more rationally and with luuuuv (hear the birds tweeting yet?).

Seriously. I think I am one of the least emotionally passive people I know (and I'm dying to hear from those of you who know me in the flesh if you think differently--here's your free ticket to ride--have at it).

But dancing around the kitchen today watching NeighborGuys tent fall down instead of talking to him has kinda got me wondering now. Maybe I am passive aggressive??? I dunno. I'd rather do the rain dance than pop an ativan over the white-thingy. And I'd rather do the dance than make myself sick over it, too.
(tweet tweet).


Anonymous said...

I can totally see not wanting to create a stir over this and waiting until you can deal with it reasonably. Otherwise you're just asking for trouble and MORE view blockage in my opinion.

jodi said...

No, that is not passive aggressive. Passive aggressive would be doing something to deliberately irritate the neighbour in order to get back at him.

M-H said...

You know, where I live you could complain to the council - at least about the Blur Thingy, and probably about the White Tower. Let's hope it collapses under its own weight before he gets back.

You don't strike me as p/a, and I have a good nose for these things. :)

M-H said...

That's BLUE thingy...

Anonymous said...

I don't think you're passive/aggressive either. Whoever told you that is projecting. (My ex is the king of p/a, and he told me that I was once, and I almost fell down laughing. He took it back.) You were very staightforward about the white thing, not p/a at all. I hope he lowers it, it would drive me nuts, too!

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I had all sorts of insights and reflective thoughts while reading your post, but now that I've reached the end all I can think is "It's raining there and the sun is shining here!!!"

ps I'd never have descibed you as passive-agressive.

Anonymous said...

No Bon, you're not passive aggressive. I am. I'd not have spoken to the guy, just figured out a way to sabotage the thing, either undoing its moorings in some way, so that the next wind takes it away. That or figure out a way to burn the thing to the ground.

Nice spinning wheel, I'll get started on the repair ASAP.