ONE-THOUSAND-ONE UNDER THUNDER

Aunty Entity Thunderdome

What if someone told you the sound of thunder is the sound of lightning?

Wait. What?

Being easily distracted, the question actually made me stop and count, ‘1001, 1002…’ as I let the proposition rumble around in my head for a minute. I know, I know – I should get out more, but I do find it curious how the two are distinct yet inexorably linked.

As 8 and 9-year old kids huddled under the willow tree we used as our clubhouse during thunder storms (duh!), I remember Tim pronouncing Thunder as Gods’ bowling alley. Made sense, except I knew they sold booze at our one and only bowling alley. Not only was it a sin, but even being seen near such a place was verboten. All that being true, why would the Almighty fraternize at such an establishment of debauchery?

Becky, far more literate than the rest of us countered with thunder being the Greek chariot wheels of Zeus. Not wanting to reenact any of the countless religious wars of yore as we waited for the rain to stop, I opted to split the vote and reported having heard thunder being Mother Nature going through her cupboards.

Seems whether it was cracking or the rolling kind, kids have been wrestling with thunder for a long time. The Hittites, the Celts, the Norse, the Mulungo and the Chinese all accorded Thunder a place in their respective lores long before Mad Max Rockatansky and Aunty Entity met underneath their epic dome of the same name. So what have we learned?

Morpheus and Neo

Lightning is to Thunder what Thunder is to ‘under’ – as in we’re all underneath it when it happens. Even Neo and Morpheus would nod at such clarity of definition when it comes to mapping such a complex causal and spatial set of relationships…but I digress.

Thunder doesn’t only occur in Nature. Having often been an apartment dweller, there’s a special god you pray to when your ‘good neighbor upstairs’ let’s you know he’s retiring and moving back to Kentucky. The fickle Wheel of Fate starts spinning havoc. Who are we going to be under? Will they be as cool (and quiet) as George? What if they have little kids? What if clogging is their answer to good heart health?

But alas, tenancy is not a democracy and neither my other neighbors nor I have a vote in who our landlord deigns suitable. So there was little else for us to do but light candles and wait under the uncertainty of what was coming. ‘1001, 1002…’

Enter Cheryl. And did she ever!

Moving is never fun so it wasn’t difficult to cut her some slack as she moved in. That being said, her technique of hurling boxes up three steps at a time thundered through the building for the better part of a Saturday left something to be desired. Houston?

Sunday was filled with listening to more stairway thunder and the added joy of hearing furniture protest as it was dragged from one place to another. And then, back again.  And again.  Bothersome? Yes. But she was still under the blanket of the ‘moving-in’ allowance.

Later that afternoon, I had the first opportunity of greeting her in the parking lot. “Hi, I’m Dan” All I was met with was a menacing glare. Maybe I should have showered that day but it was still a little weird…

‘1001, 1002…’

Monday moved into Tuesday and hammering joined the cacophony of stairwell thunder and perpetual furniture dragging. “That’s OK, she’s hanging pictures”. But then, after a week or two of all of this, another ugly specter joined the din. She was a yeller. Whomever was up there with her was getting an earful.

Stupid. STUPID. Get out!”

A few days later I tried again and she actually spoke. Progress, right?

Inside of 5-minutes, I wasn’t making head nor tails of whatever it was she was complaining about. Who was going through her trash? Who had broken into her apartment and used her oven? Who told her our landlord had no insurance, building code violations and a list of police reports? And who was she talking to when she was screaming ‘STUPID’?

No one.

Having had spent what I thought was a polite amount of time engaged in an increasingly left-footed attempt at being hospitable, I started making for the door to go up…she would not take the hint. Trying to politely wrap up the conversation three or four times, I was feeling a little trapped and very uncomfortable. I didn’t want to be rude, but come on…I was just saying ‘hi’.

Well Cheryl, good to have met you. See you round.”

Without waiting for her acknowledgment, I could still hear her talking as I went through the front door and up the stairs. Now I’m getting this odd premonition that something really wasn’t right as I continue to rationalize the whole ‘benefit of the doubt’ conversation in my head.

1001, 1002, 1003…”

Not my first time at the rodeo, I was reviewing every defuse technique I’d ever learned. I replayed the biblical advice of going to your neighbor before you ended up meeting them in a courtroom. But every time I was on the verge of going upstairs, something kept me from doing anything. Wait on this one. Consciously deciding to override my natural instincts to do something and listen to my inner wisdom to do nothing took a lot of work.

Adding to my internal pressurization was at night when things were getting progressively worse.

Now two or three weeks later, I’m getting woke up every hour-and-a-half by her screaming. And then, whatever she’d been yelling about was punctuated by her throwing things at the floor – big things. Not being up there to witness the details, I couldn’t tell if she was dropping a dead body from over her head or pulling down bookcases and their contents to meet the floor over our heads.

Now it’s 2:30 in the morning on a school night.

Now it’s 3:10…Night after night. I am no longer a happy camper.

Noisy Upstairs Neighbor - Thinkstock

‘1001, 1002, 1003, 1004…’

The whole formerly peaceful village that was our building was in an uproar. Every hallway conversation or moment in the laundry room was dominated by one topic. Thunderfoot. Like I had that rainy afternoon under the willow tree, I did my best to be sympathetic but not overplay my hand with my neighbors. Something kept telling me to keep a low profile. I didn’t want to be the latest guy in Chicago to have been shot in a neighborhood dispute. I don’t look good in an ambulance.

While Thunderfoot is not a nickname I’d want to earn, I did understand the pulp fiction efficiency of 3rd Floors’ new given moniker. She had zero respect for anyone so it wasn’t all that surprising to see others patience wearing thin with her.

In another few days, all of us had heard from someone about Marquee’s ordeals (3rd Floor across the hall from Cheryl) after having knocked on the Cheryl’s door in a plea for some quiet. Seems the next morning as Marquee went out her front door, there stood Cheryl in her own open doorway, hands on her hips and scowling silently. The vulgarities didn’t rain down on Marquee till she’d reached the first floor lobby.

Talk of calling the landlord or the police moved beyond just talk. Now the building next door was in on the act after Cheryl had broken out her screen window as she screamed out the window at them, hurling clothes down onto driveway below as she did. The cops started showing up but she’d only yell at them through her door. The landlord would show up; try to talk to her through the door and end up having an impromptu tenants meeting at the base of the stairs.

After a couple of days, Marquee had been forced into having to peek out her peephole to see if it was safe to go to work. At the end of the workday, she was calling one of us, someone in the building, so we could keep an ear out before she’d come up with groceries in the evening after work…things were quickly getting out of hand. But what could we really do?

And so on and so on…each day was getting marked with new opportunities to hit the MUTE button on the television in order to hear the newest version of bellowed obscenities punctuated by angry foot stomping. How could just one little woman be the source of that much anger? Was it hatred or something else? I felt for her floors.

Talk about Cheryl was really getting nasty. All kinds of embellishments started creeping into our hushed quick-speak with the neighbors. I started asking myself if I had waited too long…I really need to say something before this got ugly and people started marching to the windmill with torches blazing.

But again, my primal cave man parts said ‘hold’. I still didn’t understand the premonition, but I’d rolled with it thus far so I stayed alert but at parade-rest.

Waiting for the Thunder by finncom dot deviantart dot com

This past Saturday, paramedics, police and a social worker showed up and physically removed Cheryl from the apartment.

No one has seen hide nor hair of her since. I still don’t know all the details as factual, but the overarching theme seems to be of someone with severe and diagnosed mental health issues who defied both her doctors and her extended family. Now it makes sense.

There is nothing redeeming about any of this except maybe now Cheryl is getting the help she needs. And for me?

There really are times when it’s best to wait.  There are lots of wheels in motion we never see and not everything is mine to solve.  Not every slight is worth charging up the stairs to ‘make right’. Sometimes the best way to keep from getting struck by lightning is to stay under the thunder until the rain lets up. Stay dry this week.  We need you here.

Stay safe. Love deeper.

1001, 1002…

Until Then Dan

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FERNFIVEwPASSAGE TEXT

Maurice White via Saint Louis American

MAURICE WHITE

December 19, 1941 – February 4, 2016

Posted: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 10:30 pm

By Kenya Vaughn in the St. Louis American newspaper

“The world lost a rare breed of musical genius when Earth, Wind and Fire founder Maurice White died in his sleep from the effects of Parkinson’s disease on Thursday, February 4, 2016. He was 74 years old.

The gift of Earth, Wind and Fire goes far beyond the irresistible groove they’ve maintained for more than four decades. The music is a full-value production from start to finish at the grandest of scales. But their legacy goes far beyond the band’s intense, immediately identifiable sound.

EWF was as much a ministry as it was a band. They were soul music’s answer to the self-help movement – but laced in spirituality, through songs like “Devotion,” Keep Your Head To The Sky” and “Gratitude.”

White, along with his brothers Verdine and Fred White and the falsetto of Phillip Bailey, gave listeners the instant gratification of a groove that demanded a detour to the dance floor. But they also delivered a message rooted in spirit by consistently speaking of the power of love (for others and self) and giving homage to a higher power.

“With his brothers and bandmates of Earth, Wind and Fire, Maurice fused jazz, soul, funk and R&B into a quintessentially American sound that captured millions of fans around the world,” President Barack Obama posted on Facebook. “Their playlist is timeless, the one that still brings us together at birthdays and barbecues, weddings and family reunions.”
You can READ MORE ABOUT an artist who’s work meant to a struggling white kid in the cornfields of the Midwest and does to this day at:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/maurice-white-earth-wind-fire-singer-and-co-founder-dead-at-74-20160204; Another GOOD READ is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_White

Single Fern

Antonin Scalia by Chip Somodevilla - Getty Images

ANTONIN GREGORY SCALIA

March 11, 1936 – February 13, 2016

Posted FEB 14 2016, 9:47 AM ETby PETE WILLIAMS and ELIZABETH CHUCK of NBC News

“Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the bench’s ideological conservative known for his fiery comments in and out of the courtroom, has died. He was 79.

Scalia was “a brilliant legal mind with a pugnacious style, incisive wit, and colorful opinions,” President Barack Obama said Saturday night. “He will no doubt be remembered as one of the most consequential judges and thinkers to serve on the Supreme Court.”

Scalia was found dead at a Texas ranch on Saturday morning when he did not appear for breakfast, the U.S. Marshals Service in Washington told The Associated Press…He and his wife, Maureen, have nine children.”

PHOTO: Antonin Scalia by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images on www.slate.com READ MORE ABOUT IT at: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/supreme-court-justice-antonin-scalia-79-has-died-officials-say-n518156

FernFive

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MTd4k

Martian starring Matt Damon

If you have been under some of the same rocks I’ve been, then get out and somehow, someway, see this movie. It was the best roller-coaster ride I’ve been on in a long,long time. Oddly enough, others agree.

READ ON: “The Martian is a 2015 American science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. The film is based on Andy Weir’s 2011 novel The Martian, which was adapted into a screenplay by Drew Goddard…It received several accolades, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay for Goddard. For his performance, Damon received several awards nominations, including the Academy Award for Best Actor, the BAFTA for Best Actor, the Critic’s Choice Award for Best Actor, and he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy.”

Dan

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SOURCES

Banner: Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.

Visit Eric at: http://www.ericephoto.com or http://ericephoto.wordpress.com/

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Aunty Entity (Tina Turner) in Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome – Source Oracle of Film (another WordPress blogger) : http://oracleoffilm.com/2015/04/20/mad-max-beyond-thunder-dome-the-review/; Morpheus and Neo from the Matrix – Secondary SOURCE Robert C – Milwaukee Area Technical Collage: http://guides.matc.edu/vmwaretips; Noisy Upstairs Neighbor (Thinkstock) SOURCE: http://blog.apartmentsearch.com/apartment-life-2/things-your-neighbors-might-be-doing/; Waiting for the Thunder by finncom – ©2013-2016 finncom: http://finncom.deviantart.com/art/Waiting-for-the-thunder-415313868; Martian: starring Matt Damon – http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2015/10/the-martian-interview-ridley-scott-matt-damon-on-the-existence-of-alien-life-video.html; Martian Source Text: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Martian_(film); Closing Pic – Patience by KKAY Global Radio: http://globalradiokkay.com/the-patience-to-wait-for-the-vision/

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Patience by KKAY Global Radio

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About dan4kent

Born and raised in the Midwest, Dan lives in the Chicagoland area. With a grown son from a previous marriage, he has since built a committed relationship of 32 years with his partner Rick, the Love of his Life. Having written his whole life, he blogs because he has to write…he can’t help it. Know the feeling? There’s ‘good‘ to be found in all of it. “If all I do is leave someone (or something) better than I found them, then I’ve done my part. Thanks for letting me grace your screen, if only for a little while.”
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5 Responses to ONE-THOUSAND-ONE UNDER THUNDER

  1. purplemary54 says:

    I feel badly for that woman, and I hope she does get the help and support she needs. Most of my time living in apartments was spent on upper floors and I was a teenager, so I hope that I was a good neighbor but suspect that I probably stomped a little more than necessary.

    Is it wrong that I feel worse about the passing of Maurice White than I do about Scalia? I feel for his family and friends, because they loved him, and I thank the Universe for allowing him to move on peacefully. But there’s a tiny little part of me that wants to sing a certain song from The Wizard of Oz. You know which one.

    • dan4kent says:

      Ding, Dong, etc., etc.? Just guessing here (but not really). I share your sentiment about Maurice. Both men had impacts on my life, but one was Joy. As to the other, I don’t speak ill of the dead. His family, like any family, are the ones I thought about. I noted the passing out of respect for the position. Which brings me to your post. I’ll be sounding off there in a moment.
      Always good to see you on my ‘door step’. Come anytime
      ;-Dan

      • purplemary54 says:

        I’m not sure I’ll be noting Scalia’s passing at all in my blog, mostly out of respect for those that loved him. I don’t want to speak ill of the dead, either, so I’m not really saying anything.

  2. This is a tough one. My sympathies go out to Marquee who seems to have borne the brunt of it. As the story unfolded, I wasn’t surprised that there was a mental health issue. I’m surprised that the owner missed it when talking to her. It sounds like it wasn’t hidden. In any case, like you said, hopefully she is getting help and you will get a “good” neighbor.

    • dan4kent says:

      Dear Ms. Kate. Thanks for your empathy. I’ll relay your sentiment to Marquee…she’s good people. Having emigrated from Haiti, she’s seen things I can’t even begin to wrap my head around. But there’s courage in her and she’s got a really nimble brain. She’ll be fine. No licorice or gumdrops in this to be sure. But True is True and it all matters. Glad you’re on the Planet.
      My best to You and Yours.
      Dan

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