Between the old air conditioner dying and a new one being installed, we’ve been living with the windows open. The outside world has tumbled in and our inside world has tumbled out.
The net effect feels something like your mother saying, “Get outside and stay there!”
With outdoor sounds now part of every hour, daylight or dark, even our morning routine has changed. We both stumble from bed and beeline to the bedroom window. I don’t know what either of us thinks may have changed during a few hours of sleep; but with hearing the wind, the cars, the sirens and assorted dogs, it seems our duty to check. No bodies, no animal carcasses, no limbs down.
Yep, looks the same as it did yesterday.
The low hum of traffic from the interstate, which isn’t necessarily close, wafts over the trees in the morning quiet. Walkers and runners at daybreak seem to pad softer and breathe easier than those later in the day.
By midmorning the sounds begin to perk up as mothers with baby joggers and strollers pass by, and older Russian ladies who have clustered in a nearby apartment complex take their daily constitutionals.
I even know that our neighbor had company the other day. I stepped outside to see if the outside was as stifling as it was inside, when I heard voices and laughter. All was well with the entire world for a moment, as he is a man who enjoys a full house.
The four pale turquoise eggs with brown spots in the nest that the purple house finch built in a fern on the front porch have finally hatched.
There’s no missing the yappy little things on the other side of the screen — cheep, cheep, cheep, chirp, chirp, chirp. “I’m on the phone, can you keep it down?” Cheep, cheep, cheep, chirp, chirp, chirp. Every time their mother flies away for food, I wonder if she’ll be back or take the day off so her nerves can recharge.
The guys on the corner are playing basketball. A gaggle of girls on bicycles sail down the middle of the street.
With the door to the patio open, a chipmunk skirting the perimeter of the house is in plain view. He’s the one that has been nibbling on the impatiens and chewing the new clematis. There is no “innocent until proven guilty” here. Disney may have thought you were cute, Chipper, but you won’t linger if you know what’s good for you.
They’re making progress on the fire station remodeling at the edge of the neighborhood. We can’t see it, but we can hear it. Echoes of debris sliding into dumpsters bounce off the house and the low vibrations of heavy machinery travel through the floor.
A train whistle blows every night not far from here, sometime before 11. A train at night is a pleasant melancholy. Sorry to have missed it all this time.
We’re getting two more estimates on a new air conditioner. Once it is installed we’ll close the windows, shut the doors, seal ourselves off and rid the house of this heavy humidity.
It almost seems a shame.
Lori Borgman is an Indianapolis columnist.