One hamburger, some cheesy noodles, and an entire pizza. That’s what it took to fill up all that empty space in me. I suppose I shouldn’t be so shocked; I left the house Friday after a 2 p.m. late lunch and didn’t eat another thing until Saturday post-blog. Still. Well over my daily calories. But damn! I needed it.
The sun doesn’t even have to be up for me to know it’s raining. I hear it. I did have to go out and see if the rain is gonna stick around and (say it with me) naturally it will. For days. In fact, it seems the only non-raining time in the next few days will be while I sleep. Ah, clear up all that noisy clatter of raindrops pounding on the windows so I can better hear the neighbors pounding on each other.
12:30 a.m. Door slam. Loud voices, a man and a woman. A child crying. More yelling. Heavy footsteps. Louder crying from the child. Something falls on the floor. More footsteps, more bickering. A second, louder, door slam. Honestly. Is the landlord advertising for noisy neighbors? Seems like it. The sound insulation in this building is pretty damned good. The only weak point is the ventilation system, which runs through the bathrooms in the building and happens to be installed right next to my bedroom. I hear the ghost of arguments from floors below me. Last night I think it was two floors down. Too distant to be directly below my apartment. But ever since I heard what I’m still sure was a domestic violence incident, my ears prick up for trouble. So despite my sleeping only six hours the night before, I lay awake in my room listening to the argument. Staying vigilant for anything that’s more than just a yelling match.
I’ve found no other word for it. The raised voices and slammed doors make my entire body tense up. Every new sound punctuation sets my nerves quivering. And I get angry, lying there listening to all the yelling and screaming. I think about going down, finding the right apartment, and screaming at them myself. I think about leaving notes in people’s mailboxes, telling them I can hear them all hours of the day and night and unless they shut the fuck up I’m calling the fucking cops on them. Thus far, I haven’t done either. Though I’m sorely tempted to do both.
I hate that I hate the yelling. I hate the way I tense up when I hear it. Hate the way I can go from sound slumber to hyper vigilance in .001 of a second when it starts up.
And yet it’s set my mind racing for a new theater script. One called ‘Noisy Neighbors’. One in which all the sound will come from off stage, and the actor(s) on stage react to what they hear with no words.
I see snippets of it in my head.
It could be very powerful.
What more can I do than turn the neighbors into art? I call myself an artist; isn’t that what artists do?
Another piece is there, too. A piece about a theater troupe. All the backstage stuff. Bickering, cattiness, infighting. I saw it on Friday night, as we were setting up. The lighting guys were bringing in a ladder to do their job, but some of the actors were rehearsing and the one dude couldn’t move even an inch for the lighting guys. Completely oblivious, and it had to be by choice because his shoulder was brushed with the ladder as it went up. Plus I’ve been hearing it write itself. The comments. The egos. All I’ve got to do is listen and write it down – The Last Minute Players are giving me this script by living it in front of me.
Although I’m not sure I could ever give them the final product to perform. It would be too obvious. And since I’m the type of writer who’ll slide in word for word what I’ve heard other people say, well, that tips it off. No matter how much someone denies remembering their nasty comments, when they see it in black and white, they recognize their own words. And damn, do they get pissed!
That probably hasn’t helped me with friends.
Yet it IS what a writer does. We draw from our experiences. Some of the things I’ve heard…I couldn’t imagine characters so crass. Plus, I’ve never thought I should feel bad if they feel bad reading their own words. Shouldn’t have said it, then.
….Yeah. If I ever do pen that piece, I can’t give it to the group. Too many people could get hurt, and that’s not what I want to do. I want to parody what I hear. Beef it up beyond cruel to funny. But you know how these things are, these group dynamics. Everyone really IS aware of these comments. You can’t shield yourself from them entirely. Either you overhear something, or there’s some ‘helpful’ person telling you what was said behind your back. Everyone sees the egos. Everyone hears the cattiness. I’m sure there’s been quite a few catty comments already launched my way. I’d expect several derogatory comments on my looks. My age, my face, my weight, the way I dress. The things I KNOW are my weak points. There may also be nasty comments on what I have given them of my true self: bits of information about my work. When asked what I do, I say I’m a writer and composer of music. When further pressed, I say as quick as I can, ‘Oh, I have a book out and some music on iTunes’ and then change the subject. Some people in my position would boast about their monthly numbers. Talk themselves up. I’m not that person. I do what I do. Some people like it. I’m not getting paid much. That’s my truth. Take it as you will.
I’m not quite sure how I feel about any of it. My work, my income, my circumstances. My age, my physical condition, my smoking. I’m a fluid piece of artwork, a flowing sculpture creating and remaking itself simultaneously.
Look at me. Aren’t I beautiful?