The Big Lebowski Redux

I slide the Big Lebowski VHS cassette into the player, which accepts and draws the tape into itself politely. I take pleasure at this perfect insert-tab-A-into-slot-B policy. I smile.

Earlier in the day, a great commotion took place in the field next to my home. He who owned the field had taken advantage of a lax new Ohio law that allows drilling for oil and gas in residential areas regardless of municipal law. So much for home rule.

Hence, a towering oil derrick stands erect in the otherwise pristine meadow approximately 500 feet from my television and VHS machine, the mechanical heads of which have begun to whir. The drilling operation is replete with wildcatters, klieg lights and stentorian diesel generators.

He who owned the field, ironically, died one week ago and is not present to see his Giant dream come to fruition. No matter. Contracts were in place and the show must indeed go on.

I fast forward through the “Coming Soon” segments and settle into the movie, trying to ignore the atrocious noise associated with the drilling. Surely when the clock strikes 10 p.m., it will stop per a local ordinance. On the little screen, The Dude takes a slug of his white Russian, leaving a creamy white residue around his mouth and mustache. I absentmindedly finger my pearl necklace.

Fortified myself with a bit of cheap Canadian, I call the cops to report the racket at quarter after ten. I am promptly told that nothing can be done by anyone.

Horse shit.

If Bunny Lebowski can charge $1,000 for performing fellatio, something can be effing done! I check my aggression then call Every. Single. Councilperson. As. Well. As. The. Mayor. At. Home. I swear. I implore. I espouse my disbelief, my indignation, my outrage.

Nothing is done.

The generators generate. The drill pounds relentlessly into the earth as I note that, above the Dude’s modest home bar, there hangs a photo of Richard Nixon frozen in the ejaculatory moment just before bowling ball hits bowling lane. I meet and admire Jesus and his tongue and admit to myself that I probably shouldn’t have allowed nine years to transpire before seeing this movie.

What is wrong with me?

The film concludes. I retire. In order to muffle the noise, I sandwich my head between pillows much in the same manner I did when my college roommate entertained gentlemen in the bunk below me some 20 odd years ago. Just as was the case then, the pillows are not much help. Hence, as Mother Earth endures ceaseless penetration throughout the night, I sleep alone and poorly, fractured dreams of Sam Eliot’s extraordinary mustache floating in my head.

Miraculously, at 7:01 a.m., the drilling stops and the beautiful quiet to which I am accustomed blooms. At 7:04 a.m., my husband returns home fresh off the midnight shift. I stumble down the stairs and into the kitchen. He beholds my dark circles and poor coloring while blinking quizzically.

“Life does not stop and start at your convenience,” I say, then turn to the absolution of the coffee pot.

The preceding program was brought to you by Naked Erin


  1. You must document! This cannot stand! I assume there are still some laws left in Ohio and that the “driling for oil in your backyard” law does not trump every single one of them. In other words, things like noise ordinances, ordinances about reasonable use of your home – i.e. because you can’t sleep in it you are denied its use, the destruction of property values etc. Unfortunately I also assume the police department are in this guy’s pocket as well. So they won’t be on your side since you are just a human being and not property or money.

    Wow, that sucks, all I can say is document with photos, times, tape recordings etc. Good luck.

  2. I think the Dude would understand your dilemma. Have you thought about selling the drillers a blow out preventer? They’re called RAM-BOPS. Turn the tables.

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