It's been roughly a year since we moved from Vienna to a picturesque village in one of Tyrol's many valleys. I am not a village-compatible person, I'm afraid. One year in, I have failed to start conversations with the folk, which I tell myself is because of corona - but I know the truth deep within. It's because it's almost impossible to "get in" to a Tyrolean village.
There are some bespoke customs, days, even daytimes you only understand when you've been "indoctrinated" with the folks' customs from very early on. Ways to speak, how to greet, whom to avoid, when to greet - every little piece of code the villagers are intrinsically aware of is a mountainous task to master for everyone looking in from the outside. Unspoken rules, rituals and customs rattle your everyday life, as you fail to grasp why the marching band is playing now at five am in front of your window. Why the children don their finest clothes, or who has mowed their lawn on a Sunday.
I don't mean to be condescending or disrespectful - it's just like being thrown in a jungle without knowing the rules, without knowing how things are done. And with a very little radius for gossip to travel, you know your fail to grasp the village concept may be living room gossip in a day or two.
However, what's been most difficult for me to adjust in village life is the noise. People think living in a village is quiet. It's not. I've lived in fucking London and Vienna - and both were considerable quieter than here. Why? Because a many bored village man with a job ending at lunch exercises their expensive toy in the afternoon - may it be a tractor, a window cleaner, a hydraulic hammer or electric scythe. Annoyed by the constant noise, I felt inspired to write a poem about it - as usual it's quite terrible, but I just love me some bad rhyming, so here goes nothing.
On The Pathetic Village Man With His Toy
On the pathetic village man with his toy,
Who deprives his neighbours of peace and joy.
The constant rattling, drilling and courtyard prattling
is renting the air,
As they pursue their projects without any care
Whether their neighbours may be going mad inside,
Even with closed windows there is nowhere to hide.
One polishes each stone of his pond for hours on end,
Next day the other one finds something to mend.
One blocks the road with his massive truck,
Without giving notice, so at home you are stuck.
One combs his grass in his drive,
Another one hammers from two until five.
One vacuums his vacuum
(for reasons only known to him),
Or decides to cut trenches down on a whim.
Another has three lawn-mowers,
For one just won’t do.
To make his lawn precisely cut, as if it were new.
Oh, what tools these village men have to play with around,
For their trees and their lawns, and their underground.
He may be a cliché, the bored village man,
With his two kids, his wife, and a minivan.
And you may even think of him funny,
And giggle a bit.
But I live in this village and have to endure his bullshit.
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