Trying for an early night and failing – 2 March 2017
By Parson Thru
The parquet floor is unimpressed with the scattering of shoes and guitars. It has known better evenings – so have I.
The French window, opened for air, also admits the shouts of drinkers outside the Chinese shop.
Traffic, endlessly traversing the plaza since before the morning alarm, is heading home. It’s late.
I have another stab at sleep.
Later still. I push the window closed. The drinkers have gone. The graffiti’d shutters are down on the shop. Plastic bins stand in pairs along the street, awaiting the trucks and their attendants; first the orange bin, then, an hour later, the grey. Engines will scream; men will bellow; and bins will be hurled back against buildings and cars. All that is yet to come.
The neighbours are shouting just behind the paper-thin wall. It sounds like they’re in this room. I recognise their tone from conversations on the stairs. Hers, strong, commanding; I imagine her in tweeds, astride a tall hunter in her native Gloucestershire. His, deep, guttural and growling; a projection of Spanish conservatism.
It sounds like they are arguing. Probably conversation about friends visited this evening or family affairs. Normal speech. I recognise a few words – but not all, and I couldn’t follow anyway; my Spanish isn’t up to it.
I try earplugs, of course. The foam type. It makes no difference. I roll them tighter and try to push them further in. They just expand and let the noise through. I’m tuned into the sound. It becomes psychological.
I contemplate sleep deprivation as a terminal condition. It gives me an idea for the theme of the lesson I have to teach at eight-thirty. At least the students are Proficiency – above Advanced – more facilitation than teaching. The theme can be noisy neighbours. Little do I suspect that one of the group is busy organising his own trauma into a topic for the morning.
Finally, it’s quiet. The neighbours have moved to a different room. Perhaps to bed. It’s one-thirty. If I can settle before the first truck, I might sleep through the next one, too.