Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Insomniac, Hong Kong

Earplugs, my (possible) salvation
People are kept up at night by different things.  Some people spend time in bed tossing and turning, unable to cope with the sheer horror of man's inhumanity to man.  Some people are driven to greatness by a creative drive that forces them to stay awake, writing wonderful music or discovering amazing mathematical theorums (which are usually not quite short enough to write in the margins of books) or figuring out the secrets of life, the universe and everything.

I'm kept awake by the dripping of water from the air conditioning unit above us, and when that incessant tap tap tapping isn't driving me up the wall, and there isn't a taxi driver twelve floors below, apparently asleep and leaning on his horn, and the incredible unreliable lift isn't clanking up and down past us, then it appears it's that special, magical time of the evening ... when a pair of yappy dogs just beneath us decide to have their own shouting competition, and then it's yap-yap-yap-yap until the dehumidifier in our bathroom decides to rev up to jet turbine speed again.

But what can I do?  I absolutely love having a non-mouldy bathroom, and I don't like living in the suburbs, and I've chosen a flat where the correct way to plumb air conditioning units is to attach a pipe and hope the water magically vanishes into mid-air, rather than following gravity's advice.  With these sort of lifestyle choices, there's no way in good conscience for me to complain about any of those noises.

But dogs?  Yapping dogs?  What did I do to deserve this?  Was I a bad person in a past life, and this is karma catching up with me?  And if they're dogs, surely that's dogma?  Damn, religion is difficult.

Luckily, I don't have to get involved in religious schisms about whether the barking of midget canines / the dripping of ill-configured air conditioners / the hissing of summer lawns are the word of God, or Joni Mitchell.  Well, not unless I really want to.  That's because I have a girlfriend.

And I'm not suggesting that religious nuts who worship minature dauschaunds or divine the history of the future from the shape of water droplets falling on the pavement are losers because they don't have girlfriends, or social lives, or that they're in any way like the tin-foil hat wearing paranoiacs of the far-right/left conspiracy fringe.

No, it's because my girlfriend has gone and bought me a pair of ear plugs.

Which probably means I'll be up half the night, wondering why they're not fully efficacious in keeping the noise out, and then trying to figure out why I can hear TVB more clearly when it's on in somebody else's apartment than on my own television.


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