Some people were getting worried that I might be dead or experiencing bad times because I haven’t blogged since May, which is understandable. Back in 2014, a blogger I liked stopped blogging abruptly and I’ve always wondered what was up. Her sporadic tweets imply she’s still alive. (Or her murderer got her password!) I used to think it was kinda rude to drop off the face of the internet, but after taking my own sabbatical from blogging, I don’t think that anymore. It’s been refreshing to step away from the post button. I understand why someone might bounce without making a big deal out of it.
Anyway, I’m fine. I haven’t been blogging, but I’ve kept writing for my own personal pleasure. I’ve spent so many years writing things for public consumption that it’s been nice to write for myself for a while. I guess one could do both at the same time, but I don’t have the energy. And social media has gotten so toxic in the past few years that I’ve made a conscious effort to dial back my time spent online.
So, what happened this year?
I moved across town
In 2016, I moved back to Indiana from North Carolina in a bit of a rush (and thank goodness I did because the state government in NC is no longer categorized as a democracy by the Electoral Integrity Project). I got an apartment at the place I’d lived before, and I had to take what I got. What I got was the second noisiest apartment in the complex.
- The unit was next to the pool and grilling patio. The pool noise was tolerable, but the talking, shouting, and laughing from the patio was insufferable. It was worst on Friday and Saturday nights during the summer. I bought a pair of noise-cancelling headphones specifically so I could watch TV while my neighbors were out there yakking.
- The bedroom faced the walking trail, which had been restricted to usage during daylight the last time I lived there, but was now open 24 hours. Drunken people would serenade me at 3am as they stumbled home. A lot of strange noises came from the woods. A barred owl drove me crazy singing “I am the Walrus.” Koo-koo-cachoo! Koo-koo-cachoo-oo-oo!
- The parking lot was outside my bedroom window, so I’d hear car doors slamming and people talking on the way to their vehicles at all hours.
- The bedroom was also right by the recycling room, so I’d hear people slam the door loudly when dumping items. At least twice, someone stood there with a dozen boxes, opening and slamming the door after they broke down each one. MURDER, MURDER, MURDER!!!
- When the lawn crew used the leaf blowers once a week, I would hear them for at least 1-2 hours straight due to the position of my unit which was in direct sight of 50% of their work.
- I had an upstairs neighbor and a downstairs neighbor who made variable levels of noises depending on who was living there at the time. On Christmas night, the guy downstairs yelled, “Merry fucking Christmas!” loudly twice. I was tempted to scream, “Merry Christmas to you too!” but restrained myself because it was scary and I didn’t want to die.
- The plumbing was really loud, so when the woman upstairs took a shower every night at 7pm it was hard to hear the TV. When a guy moved in after her, I could hear him peeing at 2am, which he did basically every night. Awkward!
The only apartment that had it worse than me was the one downstairs because it was closer to the ruckus on the patio and also above the laundry room, so you could probably hear the washers and dryers rumbling down there.
When I lived in a different unit ten years ago, it was really quiet. I had to ask the guy downstairs to turn down his music once, and a crazy chick kept banging on my neighbor’s door at 1am one time, but that was it. And I lived there for three years. What they say about real estate is true; it’s all about location, location, location.
In September, I moved to an apartment on the south side of Indy so I’d be closer to my mom and my younger brother. I got a nicer place for the same amount of money because this is basically the redneck side of town. I enjoyed living in the Broad Ripple area in the late-aughts, but they’ve started building monster condos and parking garages up there and I’m so, so, over it. It’s no longer the quaint little place I loved ten years ago. And if I’m being honest, I’m at a stage in my life where I’d rather live close to the 24-hour grocery store than the cute little shops and brewpubs. But I do miss the Trader Joe’s.
I also no longer have to drive through downtown at night after visiting my mom, which is a relief. I didn’t drive through the parts of town where the murders happen, but I was traveling through the murder-adjacent areas and it made me a bit uneasy. Did I mention Indianapolis has a murder problem?
But it’s still noisy
As for the noise…unfortunately, it’s not much better here. Most of the noise problems at my old place were seasonal and went away in the winter. The problems here are year-round, if not individually as loud.
I knew children were noisy, but I was unaware that they emit high-pitched wails that penetrate sheet rock like a pick axe. There’s a child next door who screams her head off and it’s like listening to a smoke detector going off all day. I’ve nicknamed her Little Banshee. My biggest concern is that one day she will be in need of actual assistance and I will ignore her screams for help because it’s just another day in the neighborhood.
I also sometimes hear thumping sounds against the wall next to my office, which is where that family’s kitchen is, but I’m not convinced they’re just chopping vegetables. I think a kid is throwing a ball against the wall. My only coping mechanism for that has been to blast Smells Like Teen Spirit as loud as my laptop speakers will let me. I was never that into Nirvana, but this child is making me appreciate grunge in a way I never did before.
The people who live below the screaming child use oxygen in their apartment, which I learned when I saw a sign on their door warning visitors not to use open flames. Now I’m paranoid about the building exploding. That’s what you get for being a good neighbor and hand delivering mail that got stuck in your box by mistake. I should have just dumped it in the outgoing mail slot.
As for my downstairs neighbor…one day I shall write about my downstairs neighbor when I no longer live above her. It will be a long, sad, entry. All I can say is that I’ve lived here for less than three months and I’ve already cried in front of the apartment manager.
On the plus side, I don’t have to walk by a swimming pool full of people every time I go to the grocery. Even my younger brother thought that was awkward and he’s a salesman who talks to people for a living. It made me anxious to have a crowd of people outside whenever I was coming and going. You’re always being watched. Like most people, I prefer to be watched surreptitiously by electronic devices that contain cameras and microphones, not by living, breathing people.
One time, I had to take the garbage out, but I was wearing sweats and t-shirt without a bra and I didn’t want to walk past a dozen people in swimsuits. But there was no way in hell I was dressing up to take out the damn garbage, so I had to wait until they’d all left after sunset.
Now I live at a place where the mail arrives by three o’clock! I don’t know why this makes me happy, but it does.
I am old (and not in an ironic way)
I turned 38 this year, and as my older brother put it, we’re no longer old young people, we’re young old people. True, true.
One of the annoying things about getting older is that there are more and more people who are younger than me. I checked, and the median age of the US population is 38, so literally half the country is younger than me at this point.
I’m encountering more and more professional situations where the people I’m seeking help from are younger than me, be it doctors or dentists or the lady at the Verizon store helping my mom switch her phone over from Sprint. (If my older brother is reading this, you owe me big time for that.) I have a bias that anyone who knows more than me should also be older than me. But now I’ve been around long enough that people younger than me have had time to become experts in their fields.
Sometimes, I will go to the Tumblr trending topics page just to discover what the kids these days are talking about and I don’t recognize half the topics.
The upside of being older is that I feel more confident and comfortable with who I am than I ever have before. And I don’t take half the shit I used to, which has been really empowering—and financially beneficial! I complained about slow service at The Olive Garden a few months ago and they gave me a $20 gift card. And when I got truly terrible service at a different restaurant a month before that, they gave us our meal for free. Then, when I was rude to the Starbucks barista who’d spent two minutes chatting to a guy in front of me before taking my order, she gave me a free drink! Being a bitch pays. Literally.
There are a few bands I discovered in the past year that I want to mention, in case they make it big, so I can rub it in that I found them first.
VHS Collection. I really love this band and hope they become massively successful. Their Spotify artist profile describes them as a distinct alt-rock, electronic, and disco-influenced sound. All I know is that I’ve listened to their song “Sign” almost 600 times according to last.fm, so I must really love it. I’m listening to it again right now and it never gets old. I’ve never listened to a song this much and not gotten sick of it. They released their first full-length album, Retrofuturism, a month ago and it did not disappoint.
The Band CAMINO. This band wrote a song called I Spend Too Much Time in My Room and I was like, “How did you get inside my head?” They also wrote a song that mentions the Berenstein/Berenstain Bears Conspiracy Theory, so you gotta’ love ’em for that.
Faouzia. This is an upcoming singer/songwriter from Manitoba. For some reason she took down the song that made me notice her on Spotify, Knock on My Door but someone posted it on YouTube. Thanks!
Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water. I would never have guessed I’d be in love with an Avril Lavigne song. I never connected with the punk, skater vibe, of her earlier music. But this song written about her battle with Lyme Disease really got to me because of my own experience with chronic illness. Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water
Those are the highlights of the past year. I don’t know if I’ll return to regular blogging or not. I do occasionally tweet, so you can follow me on Twitter at @jennettefulda if you don’t already. Twitter is a toxic hell hole in general, but I’m not really an Instagram person.
Thanks for reading! I’ll be back whenever.