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Scream crackered - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Scream crackered
Awful dreams last night, hidden behind a cut for the vivid of imagining, where I was watching a news report of a violent murder [this may have come from reading this story in the free papers late in the evening]. A punk had been stabbed to death, and in the dream the TV footage showed him dying, showed him gasping "I'm going to die", his throat 'cut' with horrible cartoonlike obviousness, a gaping hole where his neck would have been, blood all over him, while his girlfriend sobbed on his shoulder, and I wondered why if they'd had time to film this they hadn't managed to save him. There was a soundtrack of non-stop bloodcurdling screaming, and eventually I woke up and realised that there really was non-stop screaming from the wailing wean next door. It's clearly got a healthy pair of lungs on it, but I can only wonder what (if anything) is going on in its head -- not to mention the heads of its parents.

By the time I had to get up I could barely move for tiredness; cycling in felt like trying to swim through treacle, and I still can't shake the ache from behind my eyes. I'm supposed to be going up to my parents' on Friday night so we can visit my grandad (who's been ill recently) on Saturday, and at the moment I'm just dreaming of sleeping on the train to Loughborough, and then sleeping in my old bedroom, not really mine any more but still a comfortable bed in a dark, quiet room.

Even this office seems quite peaceful by comparison with the screaming room; even with the constant huffing, thumping, sighing, throwing-things-around, and clicking of executive desk-toys from the chap at the desk behind me. He probably finds me just as annoying, mind you. Yesterday I had an argument with him over a word -- a single word! -- in a consultant's report.

"I had to look up a word in that report," he shouted (he shouts everything), indignantly, waving the papers around. "'Consonant', it was. Consonant with. Had to look it up in a dictionary. I mean, right, bloody annoying, right, the way they have to prove they're more intelligent than us."

"Or maybe they just knew the word and it didn't occur to them that other people wouldn't know it," I said, gritting my teeth.

"'Consonant', as an adjective, I had to look it up in a dictionary, right? I mean, consonant, it's 21 letters of the alphabet, right? And it doesn't mean 'identical', they said it did, right there, but it doesn't mean that, RIGHT. I had to look it up, RIGHT?"

Right. The 'RIGHT' is just a tic. He hammers it on to the end of every other word, with an aggressive intonation, so it rhymes with "YoulookinforaFIGHT?"

I'm lookin for a fight.

"Where does it say that it means identical?"
"Here, right, where it says 'c.f. identical'."

I don't even know where he's looking, I don't know where on earth it would say that. I don't care.

"But 'c.f.' doesn't mean 'the same as'."
"Right, so, right, what does it mean then?"
"'Compare'. It's from the Latin." I hope he won't challenge me to explain, as I've temporarily forgotten what the actual Latin is, though a quick check later reminds me that it's confer. Fortunately by this time I've already overloaded his brain with new information, and he subsides into repetitive ranting, sotto voce (from the Latin for 'voicing stupid opinions'), about how he had to Actually Look It Up in a Dictionary.

I mean, give me credit, here. I refrained from saying "The guy who wrote this report has a doctorate, and works for a university, and perhaps, JUST PERHAPS, it's possible that he assumed he was writing for an audience of intelligent adults who had a good vocabulary, could infer meaning from context, and weren't so afraid of learning that they actively resented having to acquire any new knowledge."

I also refrained from shedding any blood.

Why hasn't the screaming in my head stopped yet?

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claerwen From: claerwen Date: April 27th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
"'Compare'. It's from the Latin."

Ha! Splendid. A victory for the side of Light. Plaudits, etc.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: April 27th, 2006 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe it's time to lead up to having a very gentle chat with the next-door-baby's parents. Waking up hearing the kid screaming is OTT.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 27th, 2006 03:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm waking up hearing the kid screaming regularly (or at least frequently). :-(

But I really just don't know how to go about having that chat. :-( If the kid is seriously ill or something (though he seemed healthy enough the one time we saw him properly) then the last thing they'll want is interfering neighbours asking them to keep the noise down, they're probably already worried sick themselves.

I can't believe that they're oblivious to the noise unless they're both deaf (and they showed no signs of it when we talked to them, though it's possible they just lip-read supernaturally well and/or have hearing aids that they take out at night...??!).

If they're already trying to calm him down in the night (entirely possible that I just can't hear that over the screaming) and failing then, again, my interfering is just going to make matters worse; and if they're ignoring the noise in some kind of don't-let-the-child-associate-temper-tantrums-with-getting-attention strategy, then any comment I make risks being taken as a Criticism of Parenting Methods. If I had kids of my own it'd sort of feel easier to look like I was offering the advice of experience or something, IYSWIM, but as far as they're concerned, I'm just the girl next door.

I keep going round and round this loop in my brain while everybody else says "Why don't you just move into the spare room?" -- I swear you'd be able to hear this kid from three doors down the street, the spare room will be no better, and the stress of trying to make it habitable at the moment would probably outweigh any slight reduction in noise.

My mum suggested pitching a tent in the garden. Maybe when the weather gets a bit warmer that wouldn't be a bad idea. :-/

Auughhhh. *bangs head on desk, decides to leave it there rather than getting up again*
hairyears From: hairyears Date: April 27th, 2006 04:11 pm (UTC) (Link)


As a schoolboy, I lived next to a family with a six month-old baby: loud crying, hours on end, without interruption and without any apparent intervention by the parents. Time went on, the baby developed: loud and bad-tempered screaming, hours on end.

Three years later, we hadn't had a single night - 8PM to 8 AM - without the screaming. Not audible screaming, I mean intrusive noise, loud enough that you need to raise your voice in conversation, loud enough that you can't listen to music without losing the high notes, loud enough to interrupt your homework and your sleep. Not one night in three years; the only peace was us going on holiday, or them going. I do not doubt that the noise continued without an uninterrupted night while we weren't there to hear it.

But that was Leicester in the early eighties. You didn't complain to or about an Indian family: social services would come for you, not them. Maybe, in a new century, a quiet word to your neighbours, and later to the council, will do you some good.

But if you do nothing and say nothing, this is your life for the next three years: disruptive and dysfunctional families do not improve without external stimulus.

cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: April 27th, 2006 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay, knowledge!

It's depressing. It's nasty to deliberately use communication you know someone won't get. But contrariwise we should be able to use any normal english word! I do understand his frustration -- when people constantly use technical language unknown to me it's frustrating. What's bad is that he makes it sound like their and even YOUR fault, how come?

And can't the guy use dictionary.com if he doesn't like dictionaries? Having to look a word up at all is a moment of joy for me, because they're often interesting and exciting and informative and beautiful, and in a real dictionary even greatly more so, because it must be arhcaic but still useful too!

Maybe he could configure his email client to have a consise tooltip stolen from dictionary.com appear whenever he hovers his mouse over a word, or perhaps, whenever he shouts.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 27th, 2006 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's nasty to deliberately use communication you know someone won't get.

Agreed, but I really don't think this was intended to be exclusive like that. It's consultant-speak, it's meant to sound formal -- it's just a question of register. Sometimes that sort of formality verges on the pompous, and maybe this was one of those times (or maybe not -- I didn't even blink at it when I read the document in question). And yes, it's a pain if you have to keep flipping to the dictionary because somebody's deliberately overutilising sesquipedalian vocabulary ;) -- though I expect to have to look up technical terms occasionally, and if the thing I'm reading is full of technical terms that I don't understand then it may be that it's just not the best place for me to start with whatever it is I'm trying to read about.

It's just I can't understand getting so resentful over being forced to learn one new word. It's not hard to look a word up in the dictionary. There are a gazillion online dictionaries, and of course this guy could use dictionary.com (and probably did, in the end), or the copy of Chambers we've got on the shelf over here, or, whatever.

Oh, I dunno. I have lots of intellectual insecurities, but surely if you're worried about people trying to look more intelligent than you, being aggressively resistent to learning is the surest way to make sure that they succeed?!

a consise tooltip

ITYM "concise". ;) (Now, don't go gettin' aggressive on my ass, right?)
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: April 27th, 2006 04:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, I don't think it was like that, either. I just always try sometimes too hard to see the other side. For that matter, sometimes consultantspeak does annoy me for no reason -- I know perfectly well what people mean by leverage and netnet, but I still grind my wheels internally reading them :)

overutilising sesquipedalian vocabulary

LOL. Actually, that annoys me -- for no good reason -- because my brain revolts against using "overutilising" where "overusing" or "over" would have meant the same thing, sorry :) We could have said "over sesquipedalianising" if you like verbing :)

It's just I can't understand getting so resentful over being forced to learn one new word.

Exactly!

And for that matter, if you guess from context you'll normally be right. Not always -- you need to check or you end with horrible misconceptions in your mind -- but enough to read the rest of the email first perhaps.

ITYM "concise". ;) (Now, don't go gettin' aggressive on my ass, right?)

LOL. Oops, my bad. I try to avoid it, but make quite a few typos, and for some reason my subconscious is ok with that, while revolting horribly at the idea that anyone might not *know* how to spell the word. Don't worry, I don't want anything to do with your ass.
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: April 27th, 2006 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

I have lots of intellectual insecurities,

Oh, I dunno. I have lots of intellectual insecurities, but surely if you're worried about people trying to look more intelligent than you, being aggressively resistent to learning is the surest way to make sure that they succeed?!

Yes, that is unfortunate. I can only imagine that sometimes we aren't consciously working out what's most likely to make us seem more intellegent, but letting our natural but unfortunate feelings of embarassment and resentment colour our actions counterproductively.
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