Last night, at the ungodly hour of 3:30 AM, I was thrown from the depths of a deep sleep and into full, entirely annoyed consciousness by what can only be described as the sound of an entire rock band belting out a song at top volume from the apartment next door.
My neighbour, the one who moved in recently and was spotted hauling an entire collection of guitars out of the back of a U-Haul van, seems to be of the “jobless aspiring musician” type. I’ve only ever spotted the scrawny, dark-haired guy in thick-rimmed glasses disappearing into his apartment on a handful of occasions, but the facts – the strains of guitar strumming filtering through the walls at all hours of the day, the smell of Kraft Dinner (which I imagine to be a staple food for the jobless aspiring musician type) filtering out from under his door at dinner time – seem to paint an accurate enough picture of his life. I’ve never really paid much attention to him though, because the scent of the Kraft Dinner never wafted from the hallway into my apartment (or, if it did, the smell of homemade bread drifting out from my own kitchen more than overpowered it), and the guitar strumming, while audible through the wall, was often almost enjoyable, and certainly constrained to normal waking hours.
But 3:30 AM is not generally considered a “normal waking hour”, and the noises making their way through the wall last night were of what sounded like not one, not two, but maybe five or six angrily wailing electric guitars accompanied by the kind of screeching voices that would make the average karaoke singer sound like a polished professional. And I lay there in bed, staring up at the dark ceiling, feeling disoriented at first (what time was it? Where was that noise coming from? Who in their right mind holds a band rehearsal or jam session that late on a Sunday night?) then irate, and then full-on furious.
I had made the mistake of glancing at the clock, and as soon as I realized that I’d need to be awake an all-too-short three hours later, the rest of the night was a write-off. I tossed. I turned. I stared into the blackness around me. And every time I came close to falling back asleep, I’d start to hear those guitars in my dreams and jolt fully awake again.
In the morning, I was a sleep-deprived zombie. I was so tired that I forgot to drink my morning coffee, which obviously did not help matters at all. I yawned my way through the afternoon. In the evening, as I sleepily hauled grocery bags down my building’s hallway, I spotted my neighbour, guitar slung casually over his shoulder, making his way into his apartment. And of course he didn’t look even the slightest bit sleepy.