Thursday, June 24, 2010

some thoughts

I can hear laughter outside tonight. The next door neighbors to the north are having a party: an all-girl party as far as I can tell. The voices and laughter sound ebullient, and somehow pure. Bubbly. Genuinely happy. The laughter to the south from the other next door neighbors is also female and by contrast sounds harpy-ish. I love laughing sounds, but the southern laughter grates on my nerves.

I started thinking more about this and realized that if I didn't know anything about either neighbor, would I still feel the same?

For instance, I know that the southern lady never initiates a hello. She often looks sour, and tired. Her backyard is neglected, full of weeds and old furniture. The dogs bark a lot. By contrast, the northern neighbors like to garden, keep their yard up nicely, and live in a house with a front fence and gate that is handcrafted, like an art installation -  so I infer that they have values and a lifestyle that resemble mine more, and that I prefer.

If I'd never seen the southern lady or her yard, would I feel the same aversion to her laughter? How about if her sons didn't shoot their b-b guns all summer long? Or if they weren't generally noisy and, well, slovenly (at least on the outside)?

There's no doubt that the laughter sounds different. I do like hearing the girls laughing on the south side. I like the way it sounds, from the belly, genuinely mirthful. What would the northern lady's laughter sound like to me, if I knew nothing about her and was not informed visually by her surroundings and the way she chooses to keep it (express herself though it?) ??

Also interesting that there is 'warmth' from the north side neighbors, and a very distinct coolness from the south....

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