Friday, 20 February 2015
Monstaville Book III. Chapter 2
“Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases.”
- Hippocrates (Aphorisms).
I kept a record of all the harassment I endured from the next-door neighbours (who are bigoted and racist in my opinion) between 25 January and 29 June 2008. I don’t know what to do with it! I can’t very well copy out the entire list here. Yet, one has to see the whole thing to appreciate what a nightmare this period was. Seeing is believing. Something happened practically every day save a break of about four weeks in May. I stood my ground.
As always, it all started completely out of the blue. The neighbours acquired a kitten around June or July 2007 and they started letting it out after a few months. He quickly realised that my garden is a hundred times more cat-friendly than his own! So, apart from climbing on the roof, he would spend each and every day in my garden, avoiding the boring one next door. My cat was none too happy about this, however! One day, he pulled the kitten down from the wall dividing the two gardens and I told him off. After that, Xianxian was positively depressed for a good couple of months. He just skulked around and put up with the intruder and I felt sorry for him. I probably ought to have just let him get on with it and define his territory. Once, I caught the ‘evil’ daughter (who had moved out) next door swinging a cardigan around trying to hit my cat with the zip by the low wall in my own garden! She couldn’t very easily pretend she was doing something else with it after noticing me watching her from the doorway, but she did try, which was funny to see. Eventually, as the cat next door grew older (about 8 months old), my cat took action and put a stop to the other one hanging around on his patch.
One day in October, I came across three small garden canes that someone had evidently thrown into my garden by the house. I had no idea why but I eventually recalled throwing a small garden cane to that very place myself just a few days earlier! If ever I find anything in the garden that needs to be thrown away or that needs to be kept somewhere else, I tend to throw it over to the area of the back door to pick up later. I believe it must be the case that someone next door had seen me throw the stick and assumed I was throwing it at their cute little kitten. In fact, their cat was nowhere in sight that afternoon, so there wasn’t even a slim chance of hitting it by accident. And, if he was not outside, then he must have been indoors. Perhaps someone saw me from an upstairs window and didn’t know that.
“Can't have dirty garbage!” - Spongebob Squarepants (Spongebob Squarepants, created by Stephen Hillenburg, Viacom International Inc.).
Well, I have a stack of garden canes and kept these ‘gifts’ in case they become useful one day. Shortly afterwards, I found a very battered man’s shoe in the front garden. Strange, I thought. I threw it in the bin. The following week, I found another battered shoe in the front garden AND a trainer (in good condition) in the back garden! WEIRD! They had been thrown there on the same day. I threw these in the bin after asking the Bengali neighbours on the other side if the trainer belonged to any of them. They said positively ‘no.’ That only left one family who could have been responsible, of course. Soon after, for a few weeks, I was finding empty cat food trays in the front garden, as well as an empty cat food box.
On 2 November, another battered shoe appeared in the front garden and I placed it on the pavement by my wall. The following day, I found that someone had picked it up and thrown it back into my garden! I kicked it through the hedge and it remained on the neighbours’ side, under the hedge, for about a week before disappearing. I opened the curtain a week later to find that a cigarette butt and an empty cat food tin had been thrown into the back garden. I had a brainwave! I threw the tin onto the flat roof of the neighbours’ kitchen (extension) at the back and I threw the cigarette butt onto their lawn. A few days later, another empty cat food tray in the front garden. This, I also threw onto their roof where, I might add, they could not easily retrieve it and would, therefore, have to see this and the other tin each time they looked out of an upstairs window at the back. Kind of feels like being dragged back to the Middle Ages when people threw rubbish in the streets from their windows and contributed to the Black Death in Europe.
"I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me Superman." - Homer Simpson.
Which reminds me of the time a friend and I performed some of our songs in Stratford years ago and dressed ourselves in whacky costumes for the occasion. I painted my face blue and wore a pair of green, transparent-rimmed shades (bought from Dorothy Perkins!) while my friend originally wanted to perform as the Black Death and covered his face in large black and purple sores using face paints. It was an innocent idea but I was shocked that he didn’t realise how offensive it might be taken in a place that had such a heavily black population! So, we argued about it. His artistic naïveté was perfectly justified, of course, and no one need have known that his look was that of a victim of the ‘Black’ Death. I was so horrified though that I had to talk him out of it, so he wore a mask he had also brought with him to cover it up. He still thinks I was being too sensitive. I just think it’s hilarious that he wanted to do the gig there in that guise.
Next, I found some bubble wrap on my apple tree, which is situated beside the dividing wall, and I’m sure as hell it didn’t grow! It had been wrapped over a branch; there was no wind to have carried it there. This takes us up to the middle of November. At the same time that all this was taking place, for a few weeks, my telephone rang three times without anyone on the other end answering. On 17 November, which was a Saturday, the neighbours played very loud music between 3 and 9 p.m. and loud tabla drums between 7.30 and 10.10 p.m. I myself played some loud music between 4 and 8 p.m. in response and, after that, I felt gravely depressed since the drumming during the previous stint had gone on till 1 and 2 a.m. culminating in my shouting at them through the wall because the thundering volume went right through my ear plugs, preventing me from getting to sleep. The chances were they would continue until late but, in fact, they stopped earlier, as I said. I was ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop,’ so to speak.
“Choose your friends carefully. Your enemies will choose you.” - Yassir Arafat.
OK, this is one record I kept. I should point out that prior to the incidents mentioned above, there had been almost complete silence next door for several months. The next one commences on 25 January 2008. Loud tabla drums and singing all evening on that Friday, the following day, and on the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I started a full-time job on 7 February and had been trying to change my sleeping pattern so I started going to bed at 11 p.m. I wore ear plugs but the (Asian) music would get louder and louder and there was also a lot of jumping around which shook my room! For the first few days, the music stopped around 11 p.m. or 12 a.m. From the Thursday onwards, however, it went on till around 2 a.m. I couldn’t sleep, and would take the ear plugs out at around 1.15 a.m. hoping it had stopped so I could sleep since the ear plugs themselves kept me awake. On the day I started the job, there was, again, singing and drumming. The drum was especially loud until about 10.30 a.m. Then the volume decreased enough for me to go to bed wearing ear plugs and I managed to get to sleep at some point.
The remainder of this record starts on 28 February 2008. One of the daughters had started coughing loudly right near the wall of my main room (where I also sleep) at the same time each evening (10.30 p.m.). After a few days of this, I started keeping a note since I had already established a record of the neighbours’ behaviour. Then, on Friday 29 February, two Asian boys stood outside the house shouting between approximately 8.05 and 8.15 p.m. The shouting included, ‘Do you want to fight with me motherfucker?’ a few times. I did consider going outside and confronting them but what would happen if there was a fight? I’d probably get done for hitting a minor, if that’s what they were. I didn’t look, but they sounded about 15 or 16 years of age. As for calling the police, they would have been long gone before they arrived. So, I simply ignored them. Best thing.
“Oh, barnacles!” - Spongebob Squarepants (Spongebob Squarepants, created by Stephen Hillenburg, Viacom International Inc.).
Not long after that a group of Asian men in a silver Mercedes parked up opposite my flat and looked in my direction for over an hour. No one got out of the car and no one even opened a door. My desk faces the window so I could see them although they could not have seen me. The guy in the passenger seat watched my flat the whole time and opened the window briefly, continuing to look in my direction. The driver spent much of the time talking loudly (I observed) and often throwing mock punches in the air as though recounting a story of having been in a fight. I viewed it as a probable threat but shrugged it off. They may have known I was at home but there was no guarantee that I had noticed them, even if it is well known to the neighbours that I spend most of my time in the front room. I refused to acknowledge the message although I did eventually realise that all this happened in reaction to me losing my temper and shouting ‘Fuck off’ a few times in the kitchen hoping they could hear the actual words through the wall. Not that I planned to resort to swearing at them on a regular basis since it did feel like I was turning into a savage myself!
It felt good to relieve the tension and deflect their negative intentions using my Word to convey the power of my spirit. It was a righteous assertion of my will. If they are unable to feel the power of my spirit through the love that I send to them, let them feel it through the sound of my voice. This is not something I have wanted to do but it feels so right because they do not respond to anything else. However, this is only ever a temporary measure which is designed to be more of a threat. It is a bluff, in fact. It is a warning that I could continue to take that course of action indefinitely when the truth of the matter is that I couldn’t live with myself if I lowered my vibration to such a crude level on a semi-permanent basis. In other words, it’s just not me. But it certainly is me to use this briefly as a warning and to hope they get the message!
“Isn't this great Squidward? It’s just the three of us. You, me, and this brick wall you built between us.” - Spongebob Squarepants (Spongebob Squarepants, created by Stephen Hillenburg, Viacom International Inc.).
The neighbours would have realised by this time, if not much earlier, that I was out at work all day. I often saw one of them on my way to work. There would have been no sound at all and my usual appearances in the garden to practice tai chi had been replaced by early morning efforts to get my brain focussed in this way (that is, it is not very effective for me at that time). For the following six weeks, the daughter’s ‘coughing’ was accompanied by the father’s equally false and excruciatingly loud ‘sneezes’ (very reminiscent of Pigsy except that this is a violently-loud, daily intensive). You can tell the difference between real sneezes and coughs and fake ones. The latter are very loud and aggressive, filled with evil hate. When they cough and sneeze naturally, it sounds and feels inoffensive. I have lived here for over a decade and there was never any other noticeable coughing at all). These occurred pretty much on a daily basis between 9.30 p.m. and midnight and, eventually, after about a month, at other times during the day as well. I was also finding broken garden canes in my back garden, as well as a few other things (such as a soggy ball of tissue), occasionally as well. I threw these items onto their roof like before. [Hereafter, the father is referred to as ‘Ha Chu,’ after a panda that was video’d during a sneezing fit, shown on YouTube, and as Keith Olberman, news anchorman for MSNBC in America, named him I think. There is also an amusing video of a baby panda sneezing, causing its gigantic mother, who is sitting in the corner of their compound in a zoo munching some food, to jump].
“Sometimes I sneeze so hard, I get my period a week early.” – Carmen Lynch.
Apart from playing some loud music for a couple of hours one day, I chose not to react at all, settling for keeping the record which somehow seemed to take the edge off the abuse. Also, it seemed absurd to get het up about childish people pretending to cough and sneeze, however loud it was. The destructive intent reached me psychically however and I had to shield myself from it somehow. It is quite amazing how a prolonged campaign of such noises can eventually take effect even if one appears to be doing a grand job of hardening one’s mind to keep it out and just refuse to pay any attention to it. Bit-by-bit, the amount of suppressed emotion must build up and lie in waiting somewhere, ready to pounce! All this sneezing and coughing was, I’m sure, inspired by the fact that the only loud noises they hear from me, generally, are the occasional sneeze! As though they were taking revenge on me for sneezing or trying to make a statement - namely, that if I can sneeze occasionally, they have every right to make whatever loud noise they want whenever they want, whether it comes naturally or with malicious intent. Doesn’t quite compute, but there you go. This is a mental asylum after all!
This went on beyond the six weeks previously mentioned, right up until the end of June. However, after six weeks I’d had enough! On 13 April Ha Chu’s ‘sneeze’ was the loudest yet and someone was knocking on my wall that night at 12.45 a.m. So, I felt compelled to start retaliating. Evidently, ignoring them was simply not working in my favour. More stuff was thrown into my garden on the following Tuesday and the fake coughing and sneezing continued day after day. With humour at first, I started playing ‘Light My Fire’ by The Doors repeatedly on the stereo when I came home for lunch. Doesn’t get much higher than this, baby!
I have a James Brown toy that dances and plays ‘I Feel Good’ for a few minutes at the press of a button. I was all set to start using that and a remote-controlled fart machine I had acquired regularly as I had done occasionally before. I also hit the punch-bag just once that evening. I was ready to let rip. And give them a taste of their own medicine. The following day, however, it appeared to be ‘all quiet on the Western Front’ and the Angel Card I picked said ‘Tenderness.’ So, I thought I would give them a chance to decide what they wanted to do. If they continued to be quiet, I would be quiet. If not, I would go ahead with my strategy for silencing them. Just after 9 p.m., there was some tapping on the wall followed by a few females laughing and then a loud cough. The laughter made me smile. Laughter I can handle! Laughter is cool! It was not genuine, however. You can’t win ‘em all. I laugh much more on my own than they ever do as a group. There was another loud ‘cough’ at 23.11 followed by an even louder one (by one of the daughters) and a loud knock on the wall at about 23.45. I decided to give them until Monday to sort themselves out. I pushed the spring back and held it down.
It was quiet the next day but the psychological assaults resumed on the day after that and went on nightly every day after that. They started turning their television up loudly late at night and continued to get a kick out of knocking on the wall with something. They hadn’t taken the hint, believing I was in a weak position I expect. So, when Monday arrived, I loosened the reins. What no one had anticipated was that I lost my temp job on that preceding Friday (with no notice). In addition to my original tactics, I started making banging noises of my own in the kitchen when I heard them next door (in their bathroom). I started wolf-whistling. Ha Chu made antagonistic noises while I did tai chi on that Monday and I sang a bit of ‘Light My Fire’ as I walked past him on the way home as he washed his car. They carried on; I had just gotten started. Naturally, they upped the stakes, banging on my wall late at night very loudly as I was trying to get to sleep. Even the mother joined in the coughing that Wednesday! By setting a poor example of human behaviour, one ignorant generation poisons the next...’It’s your duty to be as ignorant as possible!’ [Retrospective note: It has since occurred to me that the weird coughing campaign could have manifested as a result of their desire not to break the rules of their Muslim religion; that is, to attack in a way that can be misinterpreted (by their own subconscious) as being innocent. They need to feel justified to a sufficient degree to exercise power. Hence, they have also used screaming babies as weapons! Why else would they be right next to my bedroom wall between the midnight and 2 a.m. each night, out of the blue, during periods of harassment in other ways and after I have taken measures to try and persuade them to discontinue such callous behaviour?].
“I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice. Or amnesia. Anything, just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind.” - Laurie Halse Anderson.
In a dramatic turn of events, this campaign suddenly ceased after 26 April...when the woman upstairs started stomping around in shoes all the time after a whole year of silence. It was the following day that I overheard her reply in the street to the next door neighbours’ friend, Loudmouth, concerning my music which I had turned up loud to match theirs. I’ve written down that she said simply, ‘Oh, did he? OK then.’ Too brief and ambiguous to draw any conclusions really. Regardless, the ‘coughing’ and ‘sneezing’ and so forth ended abruptly and was directly followed by the woman upstairs (Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West, from the book/musical Wicked is as good as any resemblance. This is a retrospective nickname…bear with me) deciding to walk around wearing shoes every day. It could be just that, having heard I was playing loud music while she was out, she decided to care less about noise she made (evidently whether I was out or not though). I had myself disturbed her one evening by not taking my shoes off for a couple of minutes when I got home from work. I had not realised that she was home and I was tired and didn’t care if the neighbours next door had to put up with the noise. It is possible she was in bed. Anyway, ‘El Phaba’ began wearing shoes upstairs at various times but particularly late at night (11 p.m. to 12 a.m.) - every night without fail! She was off work for a spell so it could just have been a change in habits (or shoes again)...or all these things!
Once the work contract ended I decided just to endure the thundering coming from upstairs without comment. It also felt like an opportunity to show some love because there had been, or so I thought, such harmony between us and I was not prepared to spoil that...even if it was something of an illusion and I didn’t really know what was going on. After all, under these conditions, I have not really found it possible to demonstrate exemplary citizenry or set an example of unconditional love and compassion. “You can be a good neighbour only if you have good neighbours,” as Howard Koch observes.
On 6 June 2008, I made a loud ‘farting’ sound in response to Ha Chu’s loud ‘sneeze.’ And that was it. On that day, I wrote this in the record I was keeping: ‘Now, whenever they ‘attack,’ I get up and do something - take offensive action because it clears my mind, burns up the potential tension. Positive, dynamic energy - power - is released. Hit them back and harder is my motto at the moment. They wanna play - OK. Let them suffer. Also, you see, they attack, then you react - which leaves them with the anxiety whilst releasing yours.’ They got worse, and grew louder, with more knocking on the wall using a hard object. I hit back - hard. One of Ha Chu’s fake sneezes was so loud that it penetrated right into my nervous system and shook me and made the hairs on my arms stand on end!
For these few weeks when Retrograde Pluto returned to my natal Moon for the final time, I felt compelled to retaliate spontaneously each time they ‘coughed’ or ‘sneezed.’ I felt myself being propelled into action from a place deep within my unconscious and realised how I could hurt them without doing any actual damage. I felt more ruthless than I had ever felt in my life before. I was seriously up for war and felt capable of anything. In a wilder environment I would have been capable of killing my enemies without giving it a second thought. Emotion had taken over and my will thrust itself into the fray with my reason standing in the background, a lone figure pointing out what was acceptable and not acceptable. Expressing power was the order of the day...and retaliating with noise felt like child’s play.
"You haven't yet opened your heart fully, to life, to each moment. The peaceful warrior's way is not about invulnerability, but absolute vulnerability - to the world, to life, and to the Presence you felt. All along I've shown you by example that a warrior's life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is a warrior's sword; wherever it cuts, it gives life, not death." - Dan Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives).
If I did as much as them, I would win because there are more of them to suffer. When I hit them hard, I showed them that they have more to lose than me. They believe I am more vulnerable than they are so I had to teach them that they are more vulnerable. I was able to give them cause for concern. Sometimes, one needs to use a combination of tactics, at least temporarily. I actually have no idea which source of action has resulted in their current retreat. Sending them love has never worked in the past and I believe it is my aggression, my use of ‘force,’ which has deterred them from continuing their terror campaign. They know what I am capable of now (even though, between you and me, I just went a little crazy for a couple of weeks and have no intention of resuming such activities again!). It’s like boiling an egg: first demonstrating power and then turning the heat right down to simmer. Since things became manageable psychologically, since they are now wary, I have been afforded an opportunity to simply bless them. So this now has a measurable effect. If someone is wholly bent on destroying you and they believe they can get away with it, subtle methods may not work. But, if someone is open to backing off, then they can be encouraged by other methods. That’s my theory. In other words, sometimes what is needed is to go on the offensive, but only as a temporary measure. If it has little or no effect, abandon it; otherwise, you are simply adding to the conflict, not solving it.
Anyway, all of a sudden, as Pluto passed beyond my Moon again (very slowly of course), this fiery passion for war, this feeling of being ‘possessed,’ suddenly vanished into thin air! I could not have continued even if they persisted with the abuse. Fortunately, silence bloomed once again. It may have felt like a kind of death to my neighbours but it sure felt like the return of life to me. Peace has been restored and they have made it clear since then how much they hate me. As long as they do not initiate further psychological violence towards me, who cares? [Retrospective note 2009: I should point out that these experiences have been there as a process of bringing emotional issues from past lives to the surface – slowly, more and more, which is to be expected with Pluto. Finally, I have some tools, energy and divine assistance shifting and releasing what surfaces].
For a few years, I hosted mahjong sessions with the (Chinese) teacher and friends from my tai chi class here once in a while, usually on a Sunday afternoon. I noticed, oddly, that after these sessions, the neighbours would suddenly become very quiet for several weeks again. It is as though they feared ‘revenge attacks’ involving my friends. I can’t think of another explanation. I believe that their premise for behaving selfishly or aggressively is my isolation and independent status. Since social visits to my pad are seldom nowadays, I feel that they regard the situation as an opportunity they can’t resist. The temptation is too much. In their minds, there is nothing to justify holding back. So, they consider me to be in the most defenceless position. I am sure that’s how their minds work. Like, what is he going to do about it? They have demonstrated that they are prepared to involve menacing outsiders in their campaign to harass me. I feel, therefore, that my effective retaliation, while more ruthless than I would prefer it to have been, was necessary in the circumstances. It had to happen.
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” - Winston Churchill.
Sometime in May, I had started going through my journals and typing up the various entries. By the end of this period of ‘madness,’ I was learning important lessons from my earlier studies as I typed up my journal notes for this series of books. It coincided with me finally concluding that it was vital for me to commit myself to sending them love and light on a daily basis (which perhaps deters the demons feeding on their emotions and stirring them up!). Hence, the Conclusion in Book 1.
It is the middle of September now. There is still the occasional cough and sneeze by Ha Chu and youngest daughter, usually around the same time, as well as some knocking on the wall. I am content to bless them (verbally), however, which has the wonderful effect of shielding me not just from the destructive force being inflicted on me, albeit in a subtle (psychic) way but from any concerns that I might have about them launching a full-scale campaign again (which is perhaps what they are fond of threatening in this way). It is a kind of illusion, but an effective form of self-deception! It enables me to ‘believe,’ to ‘trust,’ in the reply that I give. Whilst, at this level of activity, I am almost completely immune to the negative vibrations, I realise that I would probably be in a pickle should they decide to up the pressure. Moreover, my primary protection at the moment is the fact that I am not being forced to go to bed early in order to get up on time to go to a job. So, this tactic is useful to me at the present time but it is not a universal remedy. Again, I feel that the very fact I have accomplished this stand-off is itself sending a message to the collective consciousness. It is a victory for individuality and for the Light, in truth; and, not in isolation since the imprint will remain in the ethers. [Retrospective note: I have since discovered that a magnetic charge is produced by Indigos, via their intense emotions in response to life experiences, which enters the Earth’s new grid, challenging the status quo and contributing to the creation of a blueprint for a new world].
Tip: Hit them hard and early. Take action to deter the enemy as early as possible before they grow confident. You can’t be too lenient because they think they can get away with it. They have to know that you mean business and what you’re capable of. Make them question their actions and make them feel insecure and uncertain about what they’re doing. It also helps them because they’re not getting started and won’t waste their time and energy on a campaign over several months. They won’t get carried away and then struggle to come to terms with the fact that they’ve lost.
You need to place yourself in a more powerful position that they are in, back them into a corner so that they have no choice but to stop attacking you. And, if you cannot achieve this through psychological dialogue or physical action, you know, it has to be on the battlefield that the attacker is fighting on. Adapt or die in other words!
“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow
brave by reflection. Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” - Thomas Paine.