Whilst Attempting to Nap

Drew Campbell

       I swear my neighbor’s aim in life is to deprive me of peace and quiet. My curtains have been yanked shut, so I can’t see which instrument is making the worst of the racket, but it sounds like a chainsaw. It sounds as if someone has had a chainsaw running for the last forty-five minutes, and I’m sure Mr. Perfect, schlepping the wretched thing around his crispy lawn, has a Grinch-like grin stretching from ear to ear. However, I know very well that my neighbor doesn’t own a chainsaw, but what he does own is a myriad of lawn care equipment from 1989 and each piece is equally loud and obnoxious. I know it’s “hipster” to own vintage cooking utensils and old clothes. Is it “hipster” to own vintage lawn care equipment? The answer is no. It’s not hip. It’s malicious. 
           Teeming with steam like a tea kettle, I stare at the ceiling, wiggling my toes in the attempt to calmly exercise the red-hot fervor that is boiling up inside me. I stare at the ceiling fan, the one I’ve assembled three times and disassembled twice. The fan was a poor purchase, as it is noisy in its own fashion, but I didn’t know this at the time of its purchase. I bought it because, while the faux walnut blades matched the hardwood floors, it was also conveniently on sale. Now I know why—it’s an utter nuisance. I wish I could pull it from the ceiling and fling it out the window. Maybe the blades, hopefully still spinning, would helicopter across the street and guillotine the neighbor, pruning his head clean off, grin and all. 
           No longer distracted by my ceiling fan fantasy, my eyes peer around the room. The room is dim, but I can still make out the silhouette of the dieffenbachia hanging from the corner bookshelf. I can tell that it’s wilted. I look to the spider plant in the small pot hanging next to it, and I can tell it’s thriving. I feel more like the wilted plant—slumped in a state of paralysis, fatigued, and in dire need of a drink. I worry about the other plants in the room, so I look to the chest of drawers sitting at the opposite corner. A freshly propagated monstera plant shoots out of a terracotta pot, its two large leaves reaching for the window. Next to it sits a somewhat smaller pot, ornated with random white lines. It’s holding a pothos. Its several vines pour over the rim of the pot, spilling onto the dresser. 
           I stare at each plant like a shepherd inspecting their flock. It’s rather therapeutic as it makes me feel like I’m in control of something. Then, suddenly, I remember the damned uproar occurring just outside my window. For a moment, it had become like white noise, but now it’s back, and I can see the smirk on the neighbor’s face again. My anger yanks me out of bed, and I open the curtains. I stare stupidly out the window, remembering that my neighbor left for vacation yesterday and that I had hired a local tree service to come this afternoon to cut down the old pin oak in the front yard. 

Contributor's Note

Drew Campbell is a senior in the Secondary English Language Arts program. He and his fiancé are still traveling, working toward the goal of camping in all fifty states. As an emendation to last year’s contributors’ notes, Drew has abandoned the practice of wearing socks with sandals; he now only wears Teva’s, the unprecedented, yet slightly unsightly (but nevertheless functional) lightweight quilted slip-on. Go buy a pair. 

Campbell_edited.jpg