I’m in love with a disembodied voice.

If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I’ve had a few unfortunate experiences with neighbours here in the past.

There was the passionate yet clearly mentally unstable girl next door, whose daily 3am fights with her boyfriend – complete with screaming, crying, throwing things, and slamming doors – were inevitably followed by mind-blowingly expressive make-up sex. There’s nothing worse than being kept awake half the night by yelling and tantrums, except for being forced to listen to someone have noisy sex about 30cm from your ear with only a wall that might as well be a piece of cardboard in between you and them.

Then there was the girl who was generally an ideal neighbour apart from the fact that she had the most irritating alarm clock in the entire world.

She was eventually replaced by an older couple, who were great neighbours until the point when they either adopted a newborn baby or started babysitting regularly. Oh dear lord, I actually wanted to kill someone. I had a similar experience on my recent flight back to Korea, when I was trying to sleep – already pretty much impossible when you’re upright and cramped with your knees somewhere around your ears, air conditioning sucking the moisture out of your sinuses, and an engine roaring beneath you. Throw in a baby that WON’T STOP SCREAMING, and you’ve got my very own personal living hell. Honestly, I swear, if people must have babies for whatever incomprehensible reason I will never get, there should be rules about where you can and can’t bring them until they’re… trained, or whatever. At the very least, they should have a special soundproofed section for shrieking infants at the back of the plane, so that the people who chose this life can enjoy the screaming while those of us who chose a child-free existence can enjoy the benefits of our decision.

I am a fairly laid-back and tolerant person, I really am. It’s just that noises get to me, and there are few noises that can get right into my brain and under my skin and drive me totally insane quite like a screaming child. As I sat/lay there in my uncomfortable plane seat, gripping the armrests with such fury and irritation that my fingertips went numb, sheer exhaustion giving way to blind rage, it seemed that the screaming was the only thing that existed and would ever exist in my whole world. I actually screamed, myself, at one point. Not a big loud scary scream that would’ve caused mass panic, of course, because only fecking babies are allowed to do that. I had a little airline pillow pressed over my face at the time, anyway, so all anyone would’ve heard was an agonised, tortured little howl, muffled by the pillow and drowned out by the devil child 3 rows in front. Then I cried.

It occurred to me that it’s extremely unfair that smokers aren’t allowed to smoke on planes any more even if they’re using the best vape pen available on the market, for the sake of non-smoking passengers who are obviously entitled to have made their choice not to inhale smoke into their lungs, and should not be put in a situation where they have no way of avoiding it… and yet screaming babies are entirely permissible, and to hell with you, person who chose a peaceful, scream-free existence, ’cause babies are cute and innocent, and you should just smile politely and endure the torture. Not only that, but you can’t have a feckin’ cigarette to help you cope with it, so just kindly sit there quietly going out of your mind for 12 hours.

Wait, hang on. I got sidetracked – I wasn’t actually talking about the plane thing, I was talking about the neighbour baby that made me a sleep-deprived zombie at work for two weeks before it mysteriously disappeared. I think my eventual demented yells of “ARRRRRRRGHHHHHH!!!! Will you shut that f***in’ thing up, I am LOSING MY MIND!!!!”, while probably not understood word for word, may have had some effect. I presume they moved. Don’t judge me. This building is not an appropriate place to keep noisy animals, sound systems, or babies. It is inconsiderate and unfair.

Anyway, life here in apartment 303 has been ridiculously quiet and peaceful since then. I can hear the crickets chirping outside at night, and the birds singing in the morning. When I go to sleep, the world is silent, and I am not dragged brutally from my slumber by fighting, sex, or manic shrieking of any description. It is as the life of a quiet single person should be.

Last week, then, a new guy moved in next door.

He does not scream. He does not slam doors. He does not seem to have a girlfriend either for yelling or passionate love-making purposes. And I think I love him.

Because he’s so quiet? Oh, no, not at all. In fact, he has woken me up on a couple of mornings. But this is noise pollution I can get on board with.

I implore you to click here and listen.

Yes, my new neighbour likes to sing in the shower. But he doesn’t just sing, he SINGS. I occasionally sing along to some upbeat music when I’m showering before going out for the night. But it’s nothing compared to the boy next door. He puts on a full-scale performance in there, with the radio and the shower as his backing vocals. Sometimes he’s fabulous, and I have to fight the urge to break into spontaneous applause. He did a lil’ blues number on Friday night when we were apparently both getting ready for our respective nights out at the same time, and his voice went so husky and passionate and wild that I found myself abandoning my washing in favour of playing air-bass and thrashing my head around, completely caught up in the moment. I so nearly cheered when the song ended.

Oh yes, the boy likes to sing. His performance can be hit-and-miss, but his enthusiasm more than compensates for the weaker vocal moments. I don’t even care when I wake up at 7am because he’s belting out a tune in the shower. He is possibly the first man to ever wake me up in the morning and have me smiling before I’ve even had a sip of coffee or a cigarette. Oh good grief, I am falling for The Disembodied Voice In The Shower.  In my head, he is about 35-40 years old, somewhere over 6′ tall, with messy hair and the body of a rugby player. He is fluent in French, enjoys poetry and board games, knows how to cook, and lists his favourite pastime as cuddling together under a blanket on a deserted beach at night, while sharing Irish coffee from a flask and gazing at the stars.

I live in fear of accidentally meeting him in the hallway. For once, I am enjoying having a noisy neighbour. Reality had better not come and rob me of my fantasy.

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4 thoughts on “I’m in love with a disembodied voice.

  1. Thanks for that Hayley. He’s not a bad performer. As for the screaming infants – I believe, as humans, we are meant to find the sound of screaming babies distressing. But I’m sure we weren’t meant to whiz them around miles high in the sky in metal cylinders. Once again I am reminded of the desirability of breast feeding. Nothing plugs and quietens their little screaming maws to better effect.

  2. I can sympathize – we were trapped on a train at Chuseok with 3 of them at once and it was highly irritating – although, in our case, only lasted for 60 minutes. Your next-door crooner sounds great! If he does turn out to be that French-speaking rugby player, it may be time to drop a casual invitation to your closest noraebang…

  3. Amanda Cranford says:

    Amen for the topic of babies!!!!! While I understand some people choose to procreate and all that nonsense, others of us have chosen to live a baby-free life. That’s right, I chose going out, drinking, smoking, and then coming home to silence over screaming babies. So, why must I be tortured with them every place I go???? And who the hell thought making squeaky shoes for toddlers was a good idea? That person needs to be dragged into the street and beaten. Now, your neighbor. I could handle that as well. It’s better than my last apartment. My neighbor woke me up at 7am everyday while he was in the shower, too. He wasn’t singing, no. He was hacking up spit from the very depths of Moria. The joys of living in Korea.

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