We’ve lived at our current apartment for 14 months now and rarely hear a peep from our neighbors when we are inside. Sometimes the upstairs neighbor is moving furniture, but other than that, nada.
This week, at 9 p.m. nightly, we are getting ready for bed in order to get up early. I don’t think I’ve gone to bed that early since elementary school. And at 9 p.m. promptly, our neighbor through the bedroom wall starts up his karaoke machine. He never goes past 10 p.m. though, so he’s still within the noise courtesy curfew.
Becky here: Actually, the karaoke began on Sunday around 4pm. Joel went out to run a few errands, and I laid down for a bit of a nap. Awakening me, this strange music of one person singing. I thought, this can’t last long; I’ll just lay here. Then, the accompaniment began without any singing. Again, I thought how long could this last. But then, bam, the 2 were added together, and I couldn’t ignore it any more. It lasted for at least the 2 hours Joel was gone, but when he got back, the singing was gone. Joel thought I was exaggerating. But then, when he heard it, he told me that I was right.
So Becky and I have spent some time listening to some god awful off key music. I’m pretty sure that’s why I spontaneously broke out with some Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” while driving to work with Becky yesterday. Honestly, we can’t really tell for sure what he’s singing through the muffled wall.
Every now and then, we spot the neighbor in question. He’s a familiar type. Mid-20s, Asian heritage, super quiet, never makes eye contact or a nod. So, pretty close to me at that age with neighbors. I want to crack a joke when I see him. “Do you take requests?” “Coming off pitchy, dawg.” Or just break out in a round of Unchained Melody.
Becky again: What if we hummed when he walked by? Would that be so terrible?
But I know my 20 year old self would be absolutely MORTIFIED if other people heard me singing in my apartment and made a comment, no matter how well intentioned. I like to imagine this is his only outlet after a long day at a shit job (because all 20 year olds start in crap jobs these days). This is his release from a life of introversion and self doubt. Even trying to approach him in a friendly way would probably squash that, and I would loathe any subtraction of personal expression from the world.
Instead, we smile, make some jokes with each other, and read into the night until we fall asleep. To each their own, and let your freak flag fly!