Monday, April 17, 2006

Wee small hours of the morning, times two

Friday night I woke up at 4, went to the bathroom, and then couldn't fall asleep again. It was tragic - I was physically exhausted but after tossing and turning for an hour I finally got up and sat at the computer and didn't move for three hours.

It was a beautiful sunny spring day and so I made myself go outside, ran most of my Saturday morning errands in a daze, and finally attempted a nap in the afternoon. Why are naps always so appealing, until I actually take one? I always wake up feeling more dazed and disoriented than before, although a bit more physically rested.

I purposely stayed up later on Saturday night, thinking Sunday would be a good morning to sleep in (noisy upstairs neighbor having gone away for the weekend and so not around to wake me with her clomping.) I should never count on anything. At 4 am (a trend?) I woke to the sound of a woman moaning in the throes of passion. Now, I've lived in this building for 12 years and I've never heard that. And I don't think that nobody has ever had sex here (we've had a few married couples - oh, whatever, shut up.) I turned on my tv just enough to drown out the sound, setting the sleep timer to 15 minutes (too optimistic of me?), and fell asleep. Only to be woken again TWO MORE TIMES. I narrowed it down to my next door neighbor, whose footsteps I heard moving around after one bout of screams;he walks so heavily that the pictures and mirror I have hanging on my walls shake. Well, apparently he has other talents. Part of me felt happy for him - I've never seen him with a woman in the year he's lived here and this one seemed pretty happy to be with him - but the other, more dominant part, was just disturbed by having to listen to the fruit of his accomplishment. (I considered briefly that he was watching porn, and the woman's voice was from the video, but there was no background music so I discounted that.)

Finally I turned on the fan, which creates a decent amount of white noise, turned the tv on even louder, and went to sleep. Either it worked or she'd finally exhausted herself (or him.) I slept until 8:30, which felt deliciously deviant.

It's not exactly something I can complain about, is it? Without sounding old and cranky and jealous. What would I say, "Hey, congrats on scoring, there, buddy, but can you put a pillow over her head next time?" It just adds to my reasons for wanting to find another apartment. And, yet, how do I determine if another place is as noisy as this one? "Excuse me, how thick are the walls? Can I hear my neighbor having an orgasm?" My mother always taught me to turn on faucets when looking at a place, to gauge the water pressure, or to look at places when it's cold and rainy to see if they are well- heated and leak-proof. (The latter generally for suburban houses, not city apartments.) I don't think I can find a realtor who will show me apartments at 4 am just to check out the acoustics.


Blogger madabandon said...

The only advice I can give is that prewar apartment buildings, rather than brownstone buildings turned into apartments, are quieter.Also try and see if the apartment is carved out of a formerly-larger apartment; the new walls will not be as heavy. Newer buildings suck; walls are thin etc. Also, front apartments are obviously subject to street noise, but that can be preferable to the other types. When I lived in the slope I had a great apartment, but I lived above quite a pair of screamers, and it used to make me insane. I should have recorded them at least and used them in a piece.

1:35 PM  
Blogger medusa said...

Thanks for the pointers. I think you're right that this building was larger apartments turned into smaller ones - my landlady grew up here in my apartment the 40's and 50's and I can't imagine she and her parents and brothers lived in a one bedroom railroad!

My bedroom faces the street now and it does get noisy, but I've gotten somewhat used to it. (Court Street - so we're talking buses and garbage trucks and barking dogs tied to parking meters.) When I first moved in I had my bedroom in the back and could sleep with my windows open in the summer. I miss that, although the arrangement of the rooms is much better now.

6:27 AM  

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