Convergence

Apartment life. Life ala compressed multiculturalism and noise.  People upstairs. People downstairs. People next door. Surround sound, surround smell, surround people 24/7. No man is an apartment unto himself.

Latin oompah music pumps my eardrums at all hours.  Asian Techno music throbs somewhere in the water pipes.  An unbalanced washing machine in the basement bangs against the wall or is it the churning dance music beat of the sixteen year old listening to Pit Bull in the next apartment? Fights, arguments, door slamming and door knocking. Sounds of silence  – No Vacancy here.

 The Filipino couple across the hall is fighting again.  The guy’s stuff is scattered all over the second floor hallway and in front of my door. He knocking, calling and crying. No one answers – for about four hours.

 The black girl in apartment C has just came home from work. She’s carrying her one year old son up the stairs. The boy’s father will be over on the weekend. He wishes she lived on the first floor. In a recently and easily overheard argument I heard him say to her “You never see the things I don’t do.” I knew at that point that things would not get better. I turn up Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem.

 On the weekends, the Brit school teacher in apartment B gets in his car to pick up his two-year old son. Otherwise, he has satellite TV and the nearby sports bar.

 The drunk in apartment C routinely stumbles through the hallway to get his social security check out of the mailbox. He will soon walk over to the same sports bar.

 A young Asian couple moved upstairs last weekend. For some reason they roam their bedroom all night long.  Their footsteps run across my ceiling putting out my dreams.

 Again tonight the hippie couple who live downstairs and two doors over sit outside by their clay chiminea. The smell of pot is becoming heavy in the air. No way to Teach Your Children.

I close my patio door to that dreamland wafting up and to the choking smoke coming from grilling Tecate chicken below me. I had wanted to sit outside on my small porch and enjoy the summer night but there is also a guy fixing his SUV in the parking lot.  The SUV rear-end is jacked up and so is Lil Wayne’s She Will. Stille nacht not.

 Tik Tok. In case you are wondering, I get up at 3:30 am in the morning and get ready for work. I catch the 5:04 train to the city. So, I go to bed at 8:15 pm. But tonight, like every other night, the Hispanic family downstairs decides to use their bathroom.  This is a problem because for the past year the fan, which toggles “On” with the light, makes a “grrrr” sound like its being forced to run against its electrical will. The “grrrr” sound continues through my neighbor’s shower and then some into my angst. Why don’t they get it fixed? No entiendo.  Maybe, there is so much other noise they can’t tell there is a problem.

 And, oh yeah, I had to stop using the building’s washer and dryer. I think someone uses Sackrete to wash their clothes. I now use a local laundry mat and that is a whole other reality series experience. I tell myself I get to meet new and interesting people.

 It’s Friday night and this is all I know:   Estoy muy cansado and I am rocking myself to sleep in the free world.

© Sally Paradise, 2011, All Rights Reserved

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