On what I learned from wind chimes

ID-10031267 These are wind chimes. I hate wind chimes. All wind chimes, not just these particular wind chimes. In fact I don’t know these wind chimes personally; I just got the picture from one of those free stock photo websites (see photo credit below! I would hate for the stock photography people to send me a letter saying I hadn’t credited their photo properly).

Anyway, the photo is here to illustrate my point: I hate wind chimes. I consider them an offense against nature. You may like wind chimes; I’m not saying you have to hate wind chimes to be my friend. I am just saying I hate wind chimes.  In fact the longer I look at this photo, the more agitated I get, so maybe the photo wasn’t a good idea.

Wind chimes are offensive because they are so intrusive. I’m trying to concentrate, or listen to the starlings (okay, maybe not the starlings), or watch the rain, and the wind chimes have to start yapping away. Really? Really?

Since I can’t control the wind chimes (although sometimes I think about taking a hatchet to the worst of them), I have learned to ignore them.  This wasn’t easy; it was sort of like learning to ignore someone who is repeatedly smacking you in the face.

In perfect seriousness, this was important because I work from home, and I can’t let distractions and frustrations stop me from doing my writing. If I waited for the perfect moment, when all the stars align and the wind chimes are silent, I’d never get any writing done.

So, I’m assuming that you may have some obnoxious distraction that you can’t control or at least not very well. And it occurred to me that you might find the steps I took to be helpful in your own situation, whether it is specifically wind chimes or something else:

1. I recognized that I was letting the aggravation affect me. When I stewed about the freakin’ obnoxious wind chimes, I got out of the groove of writing. Awareness! Yay!

2. I felt the frustration and accepted that it was legitimate. (What kind of jackasses hang wind chimes where they can annoy me the whole damned day?)

3. I admitted that though my complaint was legitimate, I wasn’t going to do anything to rid the universe of the wind chimes. The neighbor who has them is a jackass in other ways as well, so a simple, “Could I ask you to take down those wind chimes as they are so intrusive when I’m trying to work” would probably result in his hanging seven new wind chimes. Plus what about the neighbors on the other side, and the ones behind me, and then the new guys that move in? This is not a battle I want to undertake. And also, though it pains me to admit it, I guess they have a right to their stinkin’ wind chimes.

4. I recognized that this did not mean I was helpless. “Oh, woe is me! I am forced to listen to wind chimes all the damned day.” No. I did have options; I just didn’t like any of them.  When your options require you to change other people, your chances of success are low; when it’s yourself you have to change, it’s easier. Or at least under your control.

5. I distracted myself. For a couple of days, when I heard the wind chimes and had the surge of annoyance, I recognized it, asked myself if the annoyance was actually useful in any way whatsoever, and let it go. Yes, the wind chimes are annoying. Yes, the neighbor is a jackass. The end. I started turning my attention to something else as soon as the feeling of annoyance hit. “Yes, the wind chimes are obnoxious. I need to find the email address for that editor I want to pitch.” In other words, no dwelling.

6. Within a week or so, I could hear the wind chimes without wanting to burn my neighbor’s house down. Progress!

I hope you find that using a similar series of steps can help you deal with an annoyance you can’t otherwise get rid of.


Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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1 comment

  1. Oh man….that was awesome. I needed to read that right now. I hate hate hate wind chimes. And, yes, that stock picture agitated the hell out of me. I finally moved to a quiet apartment (or so I thought) and then it happened. Spring came….the neighbor across the driveway put her monstrosity of a clanging wind chime up. Then, the lady 2 doors down put hers up. I will NEVER understand why anybody would think that “random pieces of metal clanging together each and every time that there’s a small breeze” would be acceptable in an apartment setting. There….I’ve vented….and now I must close my windows before those wind chimes drive me completely insane. Great post….loved it.

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