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sub specie aeternitatis

The Weeping of Grown Men

April 2, 2008

Our apartment, as I have mentioned before, is old and features insulation that seems to allow more noise in than it does keep out. Directly above our bedroom is the bedroom of one of our upstairs neighbors, a college girl. When we first moved in we noticed that we could hear the floor squeaking as she moved about the room. But besides this slight noise, we heard nothing more from her. A few months ago this changed as she started bringing her boyfriend home. The squeaking floors increased, but now the lower frequencies of her boyfriend’s voice drifted through the ceiling and into our ears. As the floor acts as an effective low pass filter, we could not make out the words that were being said but the tone of voice and the rhythm of his speech was left intact. What has been frustrating for me has been the fact that these two seem to come home around the same time every evening and that time coincides with the exact moments I seem to be just about to drift to sleep.

I have great difficulty falling asleep if I do not have quiet in my bedroom (just ask Alan about our freshman Arkansas Hall experience), but I have learned to cope by listening to music on my headphones while they chat away upstairs. But last night I was treated to a special treat: their first heated argument! The advantage of the raised voices was that where I could not make out individual words before, now I could pick out some words and even phrases as the boyfriend was getting ever more frustrated. From the little bit I could gather, it seems they had gone out somewhere and the boyfriend was upset by how she handled the situation, or something like that. We were thoroughly enjoying listening to their argument, trying to pick out what words we could. Suddenly, after around 10 or so minutes of argument, things got even funnier. The boyfriend started crying.

And this wasn’t small sniffles. This was full blown weeping. Stomping his feet, trying to say short phrases in between great heaving sobs. I thought his argumentative voice was loud, but his sobs were even louder. And the clearest sentence came through whilst he was balling: Why are you doing this to me?! then suddenly, he stomps out of the room and into the living room. I was hoping to see him fly down the stairs and out to his black Dodge pickup, but, alas, the girlfriend stopped him and whatever happened after that, we heard no more. I wish I had recorded it as it was all too amusing. Hopefully they will break up soon so I no longer have to listen to his grading voice keeping me awake at night. Next time, there is no way we aren’t going to be on a top floor apartment.