It’s funny. Remember my 2 impassioned posts about my noisy neighbors? Those posts were some of the most viewed and most commented since I started blogging! Everyone had an opinion about it and everyone had something to say about it, from so many different angles. Well I guess it’s time for an update. Why post about this on Christmas Eve? Read on. Things haven’t really changed since I last posted about this. The noise level is still high: the talking still full volume, the singing still “operatic”, the screaming, the shouting, the everything. But a couple of weeks ago, there came a shift, of seismographic proportions.
Okay, I exaggerate. But I tell you, it was quite unexpected. One night, a couple of weeks ago, as I came home, I suddenly see their patriarch at our front door. He was this elder gentleman who walked with a cane, and he was at our front gate, and even from afar, I could already hear his stentorian baritone booming from a distance! My hackles were instantly raised, and I braced myself for fight, and I will not back down, not from this fight! In my head, I was like, “The nerve of him to charge to our front door, shouting at our yaya! I don’t care what his complaint is, after what we’ve endured, he simply has NO right!” So I parked the car and rushed down to see what the whole commotion was all about! As I charged forward, I got bewildered because amid the shouting, I swore I heard something that sounded vaguely like laughter. My walk slowed down considerably, my gait slowing down as my brain speeded up, trying to catch up, to what was actually happening. Then I realized, the old man was with their yaya, who was carrying a large dish. I may be slow, but I’m not stupid, so I then put 2 and 2 together and realized a more accurate interpretation of the events. Then, when the man saw me, he then tried to explain in English that his wife cooked a traditional Korean dish, and that he wanted to bring some over for us to try. I also realized that even as he was saying all this with a big smile, he was really talking decibels louder than I would even if I were raving mad! He obviously isn’t angry, he just sounds it. Apparently, the old man went to the house to bridge whatever gap, or more accurately, whatever chasm was rending the two households apart. I was rather stunned by the gesture, and all I could do was smile back and give my thanks. They quickly retreated back to their house, and that was that.
Then, a couple of days ago, they sent over a box of Krispy Kreme donuts as a Christmas token. And in return, I bought a box of my favorite sweets, Bearded Papa cream puffs, then had them sent over just a couple of minutes ago.
Like I said, despite the warming of relations between the warring clans (and cultures), nothing has changed, really. I still have to put on some music at night just to drown out their late-night noise, they still scream and shout (at least to me it sounds like screaming and shouting) even as they’re just talking at the dinner table, they still park badly on the curb, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. But I guess the point in all this, is this: What a world of difference a gesture of kindness makes. The dad bringing over some food doesn’t make the noise level any lower, it doesn’t make the shrieking any more tolerable, but it makes the source of all that noise a little bit more of what they actually are: human. Suddenly they’re no longer horned demons from another world, who’ve come to annoy us till we perish, deaf; they’re just like us, albeit much noisier, but they’re human beings, not monsters. I really appreciated what the old man did. It was very simple, but it sent a very clear message. That they mean no harm, and they’d do in whatever capacity, what it takes to repair any damage in the relations, without really promising anything in return.
So now, when the kids start screaming at each other at the top of their lungs in the dead of the night, instead of cursing them to the ninth circle of hell, I just write it off as, “kids will be kids.” I posted this on Christmas Eve because I think this is a good example of what Christmas can be. As much as I tried not to, I’ve been hating on the whole Christmas thing, this year being the year I saw the dark side of human nature the MOST. So I have a rather bleak view of humanity in general, coming into the season. So it’s nice to see, in whatever amount, that kindness still exists in the world. I’ll take it anywhere I can get it. So even if there are a hundred haters who would salivate at the thought of burning you at the stake, every now and then you’ll come across an elder Korean guy who would bring a warm home-cooked meal to your doorstep. It’s a sub-atomic glimmer of hope, but I’ll take it. It just drips irony that I should find hope in human nature in, of all places: my sworn enemy’s household.
So to Mr. opera singer with noisy kids, thank you. And Merry Christmas to you and your (noisy) family!