The house behind my own is a group home for men and women with severe mental disabilities, and the backyard where residents often gather is just a shout from my bedroom window. But, I never think twice about it since I figure we are all on our way down that particular road and some are just farther along than others. I wasn’t too alarmed, then, when I was awakened this morning at 6:24. Frequently, I will be roused from my sleep by loud, and often angry, voices coming from over the fence.
I can’t say his was an angry voice, though; it was more one of agitated bewilderment made all the more agitating to me because he was holding forth in Spanish and, for the first hour or so, I was annoyed with myself for not understanding him. The words were like swarming bees, and the sound came and then went as he, himself, took off down the alley and doubled back.
Suddenly it came to me that maybe I would sound like that if those listening were not able to put meaning to my words. Next I thought about my writing and about how extraordinary it is that when I sit down to start I can find even one queen amid all that high-pitched whining.