Forgive this entry its sloppiness, but I didn't sleep well last night. Not to give you one of those boring, "the basic layout of my apartment" lectures, but the basic layout of my apartment is this: big main room, small kitchen, small bathroom, small bedroom. Smalls kitchen and bedroom are close to each other and kitchen shares a back exit with my across the hall neighbours, two young women who wear a lot of makeup and order food in even more than I do. Anyway, these two young woman have very common blonde girl names that I'm always forgetting. Tracey and Steph, maybe. Jen and Carrie. Blanche and Farnsworth. Anyway, Donna and Dawna smoke on this shared landing, which is fine with me, I can't smell it anyway, but they use their smoke times to chat it up. This, too, would be fine, if they didn't take smoke/talk breaks at midnight when I'm trying to sleep.
Dream: Stop being disturbed by my neighbours' late-night yakkity yak.
Goal: Achievable. As problems go, this is a simple one. All I need to do is... wait, what do I need to do?
Plan: Use our tenuous bond as neighbours to come to a common understanding while fully appreciating each side of the issue (or just call the landlady, but I've got an entry to write, here). Some context:
Last night, I was just drifting off into my recurring dream where Paul Rudd and I are doing my taxes and he says, "This would be better if we didn't have pants on" and I agree and then we figure out I get this big refund (it's the best dream), but then I hear Karen and Nupur laughing and talking outside. This is not the first time. However, I'm usually able to overlook such a thing because they have never roused me from sleep with their chatting, so if I'm awake anyway when they start talking, I figure, I endure the noise for time it takes them to finish their cigarettes. Big deal, right?
But last night, they got onto an interesting topic that outlasted the time it took to finish their smoke (unless they kept lighting new ones off the old ones like the proverbial wizened old broad who "used to be a dance-ah!"). Kelly has a particularly loud laugh, and I think Shelley was doing that thing where you try to bring the volume of the room down by talking more quietly yourself, but it wasn't working. And somehow, when you can kind of hear what someone is saying, but not what they're saying, that's worse. Even though I wanted to shut out the noise, I found myself straining to hear what Joanne's mumbles were about.
Anyway, I got so irritated that I got up, stomped into the kitchen, and walked up to the door... and stood there. I contemplated my next move. I could open the door, blinking and disoriented in my filthy pajamas. I'd see them and say, "Sharon, Lois, I can hear you guys talking and I'm actually trying to sleep, so would you mind...". I could even yell from behind the closed door, "Hey guys, come on! Shut up!" Instead, though, I heard them hush as I stomped to the door. Without really thinking about it, I grabbed a dish towel, and crammed it under the door, like a stoned teen smoking pot trying to prevent the smell from seeping out. This was me pulling the pin on the grenade of goodwill. As I sleepily stuffed the towel under the door, I heard something like, "Oh... he's..." and then no more. Either my crummy towel had successfully blocked out the sound, or, more likely, Pip and Dobbers suddenly realized they were disturbing me, and went back inside.
I deceive myself and you, in turn, readers, because after that, I really have no plans to do anything. After I crawled back into my silent bedroom last night, and as I write this for you now, I had the same wonderful thought: what if that is all it takes?
I saw this movie the other night called The Descendants. I'm not giving anything away (you find out in the first minute of the film) when I reveal that the movie is about George Clooney dealing with his wife who is in a coma. These high emotional stakes make for all kinds of confrontation, yelling, screaming, punches in the face, etc. Clooney is a good actor, as is the young girl who played his teenage daughter who wore a different flimsy bikini in every shot which seemed distracting and inappropriate considering her mother's delicate condition. But the movie fell flat for me because in these emotional scenes, nobody spoke to each other the way they do in real life, no one talked as people actually talk. There was all this speech-making and tear holding-back and hand-wringing that all came across as phony baloney garbage. Life is not really in the pronouncements, as this movie suggests. When confronted with unfamiliar circumstances, you're not supposed to know what to do, what to say.
Unlike Clooney and his Oscar bait performance, I never know what to say in any disruption. I don't know what would happen if I were to open that door, make that phone call, stamp my feet a little louder. My neighbours are lovely girls who didn't realize I can hear them talking when they take smoke breaks together. I am a lovely boy who's not interested in turning this into a thing. Together we can co-exist, exchanging little more than hallway hellos. I have faith that they will keep it down from now on; that I will get some sleep. Why create drama where none exists, when life is hard enough? Here's to you, dear neighbours, whatever your names are. Enjoy your smoke, I'll enjoy my sleep.