As I write this, it’s 6:20 a.m. I realize that many—most?—members of the workforce are awake now, but being on a leave of absence, I have no incentive to be up at this hour. And hey, this is a medical leave of absence, and my seizure frequency increases when I don’t get enough sleep. (Seriously, it does. That’s not just an excuse.)
Yet another reason to hate my neighbour. My health is on the line here.
I like to think of myself as nice-ish and relatively openminded. Sure, there are people I don’t particularly like, but there are few I actively loathe.
I can honestly say, however, that there’s someone I’ve grown to despise. Someone I’ve met once. Someone I angrily think about as I try to doze off at night and when I abruptly wake up in the morning.
Our neighbour plays music unbelievably loudly, sometimes until 2:30 a.m. When I say unbelievably loudly, I mean to the point that I can Shazam it through the walls (which, incidentally, are too thick for pounding; I made this discovery when I got a nasty knuckle-bruising).
I half-wondered if I was being unreasonable until I saw others furiously beating on his door. This is something that is often tried and is always, of course, completely ineffective since he can’t hear attempts to get his attention over his blaring sound system. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that he takes mind-altering drugs, as he casually told me during our sole encounter.
The night before I bumped into him had been particularly bad. My mom was visiting from BC at the time. I suspect that when I had previously complained to her about the issue, she had assumed I was exaggerating; experiencing it for herself, she was outraged. “This isn’t OK,” she said. Around one a.m., we decided to make a noise complaint. The police never came, so I wrote a pleading note, a strategy that had been unsuccessful in the past, and put it through his mail slot.
I was locking the door the next morning when he emerged. I’ll admit that I was curious, albeit a little intimidated, to see him in the flesh: he had become this demonized enigma, the player of deafening top-ten pop songs. And there was much flesh, and indeed skin, to be seen: he was outfitted in flannel sleep shorts, an open bathrobe, and slippers, his belly and face sporting a similar length of mousey brown hair.
“Oh hey,” he greeted me. “Sorry about the noise. I’ve been experimenting with some new things that make me so out of my head that I have no idea what’s going on. Don’t worry, though, it’s probably a phase!”
He promised to keep it down then went back inside. I realized a second later that I had no idea why he had been out half-naked in the first place.
I hadn’t expected this middle-aged man to so freely and almost cheerfully explain that he had been keeping me up for weeks, and not just on Fridays and Saturdays, because of recreational drug use. I don’t know if his honesty was refreshing or frustrating. In any case, I have to give the guy credit: things did get better.
False hope is a horrible thing.
In the last week, he’s played incredibly loud music until two or three a.m. on two occasions. Around 5:50 this morning, my husband and I were awoken by Lulu’s 1967 hit “To Sir, with Love.” I could make out every single word. Every. Single. Word. I tried plugging my ears, but it didn’t help much; while my fingers muffled the sound, it wasn’t enough. After catching up on the news at six (thanks, neighbour, for choosing an oldies station with a decent news anchor), I got up and went to the living room to lie down on the couch. Since I could hear it there, too, I admitted defeat and downed an energy drink and a stale chocolate bar that I found in the back of the cupboard.
I then wrote another note.
If there’s a silver lining to all this—I’m working on being more positive, so I’ll make an effort to find one— it’s that the actions of my astonishingly inconsiderate “friend” next door have confirmed that I have way more seizures when I’m overtired.
I appreciate it, dude.