Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Simma Down Na

So someone decided to go medieval on my doorbell yesterday at 8:53 in the morning. Big mistake. But with the time it took me to fight to keep both eyes open long enough to not drift back into my sweet dreams, peel myself out of bed and prepare for the reciprocation of medievalness in the event that there wasn't a fire in the building, of course nobody was there when I got to the peephole.

Turns out it was our downstairs neighbor complaining about our supposedly dripping AC. After harassing my doorbell to no avail, he/she complained to the security guard.

I'm sure our landlord will find someone to come check out our AC soon enough and fix whatever dripping there may be. Until then, the fan will have to do. It's no biggie, really. But the only thing I could think of when I learned that someone was bitching about our AC was how we've put up with the dripping of someone else's AC from upstairs night-after-night since temperatures started flirting with the 30°C mark, and how it has never even occurred to me to complain.

I thought long and hard about the process of attaining this level of serenity as not to be bothered by the minor things that could drive some people crazy. Minor things like the rhythm created by falling droplets of dirty water hitting the AC that’s mounted on the window against which your bed is placed ― a rhythm that’s just slightly faster than your pulse and starts making you nervous once the lights are out because it resonates like the beat of the background music in the first kill scene of a horror movie, and throughout the course of the night bullies your heart rate into syncing with it.

The thing is, with a “Fortress” brand AC that’s at times as noisy as my washer on its 900-spin cycle, my upstairs neighbors’ ACs could’ve been popping out gobstoppers for all I know. It’s only when it occasionally quiets down that I manage to hear the soccer fans' uproar from the cha-chaan-teng across the street in the middle of the night.

Ironically, one of the first things I’d had trouble adjusting to when we first moved to Toronto was the deafening silence at night. The ticking of the clock in our living room would echo through the house and that would be the only sound we hear until the birds start chirping at dawn.

We have birds here in North Point too. One in particular has a distinctive call that sounds like a defective noise-maker and starts at precisely 4:07 every morning, as if to warn nocturnal creatures like me of the impending sunrise. We also have dogs, one of which must be the victim of serious neglect as it’s heard either whimpering or barking at any given time. Unfortunately, the surrounding buildings create such an echo in the area that I can’t make out where the cries are coming from.

I’m surprised that the familiar clacking of mahjong isn’t heard more often here, considering how local the residents are. More often I just hear my next-door neighbors conversing in Hokkien, and their toddler running around the apartment in her squeaky shoes (they like to leave their front door open to let air circulate). Then there's 1305 banging their metal gate close and sending shudders down everyone’s spine; 1304 coming home and giving verbal commands through the door to his wife inside to let him in instead of using keys or the doorbell; and occasionally, 1303 blasting Alan Tam’s hits from the 80’s on his stereo that sounds like it could be from the same era.

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