Before I started working from home, I didn’t spend much time thinking about the normal everyday activities of my neighbours, let alone the whole neighbourhood. I didn’t realize how it would eventually affect my work and the outlandish plans I would devise to make the best of how others lives intertwined with mine on a daily basis.

Now I know – summer brings out the noise in people.

Before I go any further, I’ll admit I do live in a city that is known as an all season tourist destination. There is a large lake less than a minute from my home and it’s well known all over the continent for its great fishing. Every type of boat imaginable is out on this lake at any time of the day or night. I now like the canoes, kayaks and sailboats most of all, as they seem to be able to slip by without disturbing the peace. But the gas hogs? I mean the power boats – from the minute the ice is off the lake and the last fisherman has either taken his ice hut away on a trailer or left it to sink (illegally by the way) beneath the depths of the, at times, extremely rough water – a different type of person rears their head.

The streets that pass by the lake become a racetrack as what seem to be the same vehicles pass by hundreds of times a day, sometimes using their turn signals as they spot the closest liquor store but other times cutting across lanes and parking lots to get there as quickly as they can, throwing open their trunks so they can fill them with fresh purchases and at the last moment remembering they are still in their swimsuits and scrambling to find suitable clothing. All the while various genres of music are blasting out of their competing stereo systems and acquaintances are holding impromptu visits in the parking lot.

And what, you ask, does this have to do with working from home? Imagine a cold, snowy winter’s day. All sounds are muffled by the depth of the snow, the only audible sound being the occasional snowplow or snowblower as the men on every corner gather for their dose of gossip. It’s quiet, everyone in the neighbourhood is deep in their hibernation period, seeming to only step out of their homes when they have to, as they are rarely seen. The cats lounge by the window, watching the snowflakes fall and they too are lazy right along with the season.

Their ears perk up suddenly at the sound of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes! Wait! This is mid January!
Ahh…yes…that far off sound of snowmobiles cruising over the frozen waters of the lake…music to the ears of some, but annoying to most and a dent in the peace and quiet of a northern winter’s day for a person who is concentrating on their work at their desk in their home.

Fast forward to spring….buds pushing up out of the ground, sunny warm weather…and…renovation time! The whole neighbourhood becomes a mini city of Tim the Toolmen, power tools ever at the ready, chain saws attacking long forgotten limbs of trees, lawnmowers trimming the tiniest blade of grass as the enthusiasm of all grows to a peak, dreaming of the soon to be barbecues and summer evenings spent at the beach around the fire.

And then the dogs, the barking dogs…every hour on the hour. The children out of school, frustrated with boredom, screaming at their mothers as they pass by on the sidewalk. The motorcycles, hordes of motorcycles, most ridden by graying, overweight 50 somethings, reaching back in time for that dangerous thrill that they still remember from their Easy Rider days. Oh summer! My friend, the air conditioner, works long, overtime hours, keeping my house cool and blocking out the noise from all of the above. When not on the phone, my constantly playing music collection does the same. It brings a symphony of relaxation to the hectic noises trying to infiltrate my home.

Early September brings a breath of fresh air…the promise of the first day of school. It is 8:15 a.m. and my neighbour’s extremely noisy little boy is out by the street screaming – that is his normal tone of voice – and then the school bus screeches to a stop. As it roars off down the street, shaking from the audible cacophony within, silence descends over the homes, the streets and the lake.

Autumn, my favorite season, and I am back to work in my once again quiet neighbourhood. The turning leaves drift by the window, the light is diffused as the season slowly changes and all is peaceful again.



© Copyright 2011  All rights reserved.

images by Krystle Draper