Aliens in Suburbia

Feel in the teeming heartbeat of all living things
Even through steel and concrete the energy sings
Strong as the roaring daylight caught in the leaves…

Gaia Consort Green

I can’t be the only one who feels the human world becoming more and more alien.

I was trimming off branches in the garden yesterday, preparatory to a de-fleaing (yes – our Girlie is officially a FleaBag) and realised that each tree has its own distinct personality.

Unlike most of the Plant Kingdom – which seems to have a group soul more often than not – trees are individuals.

One of the two Chinese Laurels, for example, is a right bugger when it comes time for a haircut. She complains bitterly the whole time, along with the Lemon Tree. I developed a stomach ache about ten minutes into the operation. I moved on to the WaterBessie and the other Chinese Laurel, who were most accommodating of my somewhat inept lopper-wielding.

Perhaps the reason we humans find it easier to talk to trees than to, say, a Stinging Nettle, is this very individuality. Trees have been around a lot longer than us, and I’m willing to bet they have wisdom we won’t attain in a thousand years.

So I’m sharing this piece of land with a bunch of rugged individuals, which is great.

At the other end of the spectrum lie the Aliens who call themselves my human neighbours.

On any weekend you can stand outside the house (or inside it, sometimes) and hear a discordance of sounds which grates fingernails down my spine.

I’m not a particularly grumpy child-hater, but the ululating wails of the young progeny on three sides of me can be most disturbing. I often want to yell Good Gods! Sacrifice the child properly! at the parents.

The vacant-headed giggles of adolescents flirting with one another is just as far from music to my ears. And as for the White Trash yelling obscenities at his family across the road – well, let’s not go there just now.

The whole cacophony, set against a background of simpering, wailing, utterly misogynistic female Rhythm and Blues ‘artists’ which forms the staple musical diet of my coloured neighbours, encourages me to believe that I am, in fact, a member of an alien species unaccountably finding herself hatched among humans.

Then again, at one in the morning when all I can hear are the songs of the Nightjar and the hustle of bugs, I can rethink that position.

Lovely Picture stolen from the Gaia Consort MySpace page


5 responses to “Aliens in Suburbia

  1. How I love the Waterbessie, Syzgium cordatum, with its scented fluffy flowers and purple berries so beloved by birds! In my garden I have the Dombeya or Wild Pear with double petalled pink flowers in spring. And such presence…Marya


  2. hi terri, i think you’re great, and it’s not my intention to attack you or anything here – i was just curious, and it may be that there are simply some cultural differences between the places that we live….but, do they really say “coloured” there, instead of like “people of color” or else not differentiating at all unless there is some specific reason? i mean, maybe people of color there are the only ones who listen to the music you were talking about, i don’t know… (oh, and i hear you about misogynistic blues music…its ubiquity has driven me to write a feminist blues song, which i could email to you if ya want some relief from patriarchy’s onslaught).i don’t know, i mean, ideally we refer to people’s general groupings using the language that they dictate (if they are allowed to do so). perhaps this is the accepted terminology there, and if so, that’s fine – just curious.oh, and while we’re on the subject of language – what does the term “white trash” mean to you? to me, i feel that there is definitely an abundance of despicable white people, due to the privilege this culture grants them/us, but the designation of “white” has often struck me as implying that all others are trash from the get go, and these few white ones are the exceptions from this normally noble and proud race of gods (or something like that).again, no belligerence intended from over here, as i – like all of us – have been taught to discriminate in such fucked up ways, and use language that is insulting due to context (previously calling “bad” things “gay” or “lame”, for instance, with all the attendant negative implications on people who are gay or who have disabilities).thought i’d ask, since it’s not often that we really talk about how we talk, ya know?


  3. There I go again, talking without considering the context!Oddly, Rube Vigor, I thought of this myself last night – the way I’d used ‘coloured’ for example, in this post.Here in South Africa we have some legacies from our past which assert themselves in our language. ‘Coloured’ is one of them.You see – or maybe not, but bear with me! – we distinguish many racial groups in good old post-Apartheid SA, just as we did in pre-Apartheid SA.Black people are Black people – usually Bantu -and White people are descendants of one or other European tribe which invaded a couple of hundred years ago. Indians are also, well, Indians.But people of ‘mixed race’ are called ‘Coloured’. That racial grouping is physically the most diverse, obviously, and makes a laughing stock of the whole idea of racial classification.*White Trash. Hmmm. I hear you about the superiority complex this phrase is coming from. Totally. I just despise this particular White neighbour so much that I always try to be as offensive as possible when referring to him. Slapping a stereotypical label on him is just one of the ways. But yes – people acting insane is endemic everywhere, and should not be measured against some god-standard of White Superiority.Last night I fell asleep between the loud yells and laughter of my Black neighbours having a family supper party, and the White neighbour’s totally offensive screed at his own family being shared with the street, and ending up giggling myself to sleep. Love,Terri in Joburg*= You notice, also, that we have no seperate word for the true indigenous people here, the KhoiSan.Nearly wiped out by both Bantu and Europeans, many of them have taken on the culture of ‘Coloureds’. Which is so sick, like most cultural behaviour. Artificial and deadly.


  4. thank you, terri, that’s really interesting. i’m sorry you have to be surrounded by negativity like that. civilized humans are so impossibly demented, that, as my partner said last night: “if you think you can really teach or change people…you must not ever leave your college campus.”it’s scary out there, and just as predatory in places of poverty, as it is in places steeped in safe yet fearless, friend.


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