Screaming Whispers

My neighborhood is undergoing major construction. They’re renovating old condos and putting up new ones. The constant hums of backhoes and bulldozers pummeling down upon new territory has been a normal everyday occurrence. The loud beeping sounds from machines going into reverse has been forever embedded into my brain. It’s just a background noise now. Around around 4pm, it seems to simmer down because when I get home, it’s pretty peaceful. I hear kids playing on the street, the sounds of feet pounding the pavement by a passing runner or two and a few dogs barking here and there. That to me, is peaceful.

When I got home last night, it was a different story. I had lugged all of my things up the stairs and into my apartment. I went into my office where it overlooks another set of apartment buildings with their decks facing me. I sat down to finish up some things on the computer before making dinner for Madelene. A few moments later, I hear a woman screaming bloody murder. She was yelling on top of her lungs about something regarding a car. Everything else was muffled out, but still audible. It sounded as though she was running around the apartment screaming at her husband. It was then I heard objects crashing. When I opened my blinds, I saw large objects falling from the third floor of the building behind me.  The woman started throwing every single piece of furniture out of her apartment and onto the street below. It was getting dark out so I couldn’t make out exactly what was being thrown, but I knew it was large and wooden. I heard loud crashes of something that sounded similar to large planks - possibly a dining room table with chairs. It got worse.   Then I heard her go into the kitchen area breaking all sorts of glasses, whether they were plates, dining wear or fine china - this lady was doing it Greek style. Eventually the cops came and ended this domestic dispute.

Madelene had walked in the door from work greeting me with her cheery hellos, when I motioned my hand for her to come into the office and hear what’s going on. We were both shocked, because even though the cops were still there, things were still being tossed out of that apartment and onto the street. It was such a scene that nearly everyone in my building either had their windows opened or were nonchalantly walking outside to their cars getting nothing - just an excuse to hear the show from across the street. It’s funny to see how nosey most people really are. “Oh I mind my own business” - bullshit. Everyone was out there either walking their dogs, getting stuff from their cars or throwing away recyclables, as Madelene decided to do.

When Madelene came back inside, I was chuckling because every time we have an argument, I ‘scream whisper’. I know that sounds totally asinine, but when I yell, I whisper it. It’s like screaming with your teeth still together. (I guess that makes it more effective somehow.) I just don’t want other people knowing my business - especially with the busybodies in these parts. If Madelene yells at me, I just grit my teeth and say, “Lower your voice”, while whispering my angry “yell”. I guess when people are that angry, it really doesn’t matter who sees or hears it. Anger sort of takes away the conservativeness in many people and sets a stage for a ringside seat for every neighbor on your block to see.

So right now I’m sort of welcoming the lovely hums of the backhoes and bulldozers, as well as the loud beeping sounds from the machines that are always going into reverse. I wonder if they ever move forward. Hopefully the neighbors across the way did.