I think I’ve prematurely turned into a cranky old bachelor. Even my sister thinks so. But the thing is, I love quiet. My next-door neighbour even asked me once if I’m ever home, because she never hears me. She was shocked to learn that I’m home a lot because I work here.
About 10 years ago when I would work at home, I would always have the radio on CBC. It was never too loud, but it was always on nonetheless. Now I can’t even stand having that. And if there’s one thing that drives me to distraction and makes me fume, it’s hearing my neighbours.
For instance, there’s the single mom and her three kids down the hall. She lets them use the hallway as some kind of playground, and that bugs me to no end. But that’s not all. They have a pet bird of some kind. I never hear that damned featured creature when they’re home, but when they’re out, it never shuts up. You can even hear it in the hallway one storey down. You can have a cat in this building but not a dog; I assume that’s because a dog tends to be noisier than a cat. However, chirpy birds shouldn’t be allowed either, in my not so humble opinion.
And then there’s the guy who lives in the apartment directly below me. Fortunately, he works in Europe and lives downstairs a total of maybe three months a year. But he’s one of the loudest men I’ve ever met. He just happens to be the kind of guy who has a booming voice and the most irritating dumb-ass laughter. Furthermore, he has a knack for surrounding himself with loud things: a cuckoo clock; a VW van which I’ve come to call the Mobile Blender; a pitoune (a different one each time he’s in town but one that invariably has a shrill voice since that’s obviously how he likes them), and so on. He’s also a musician and, when he’s living downstairs, he uses his apartment as a rehearsing studio. But probably what gets to me the most is that I can set my watch based on his habits. I have no problem with someone having a ritual of jerking off every afternoon between 3:00 and 5:00. I just don’t want to hear the slapping and moaning.
For me, not making too much noise is not only a case of liking silence; I also see it as a courtesy towards the other people who live in this building. So I think that’s why I get so shirty when other people don’t extend the same courtesy to me.