My Sleep Deprivation Chamber

Few things can turn us into screaming balls of hate like being kept from sleep. I know. This morning I called the industrious carpenters doing ceiling work on the apartment underneath me (at 7:12 am no less) a lot of horrible names before realizing I was totally awake and too angry to go back to sleep (not that they heard me over the noise of driving railroad spikes into my floor with sledgehammers). I don’t know what it looked like, but they had some machine that seemed to work by making shrieking noises and causing my entire place to shake . Even better than their horrible machines was the fact that they had developed the skill of shouting about the Dodgers over all the noise. This has been going on for a week and a half. You might think 7am isn’t very early, but when you’re on a 4am-11am sleep schedule, it’s the middle of the night, and it sucks.

As a survivor of college, prison, and city life, I’ve gotten pretty good at blocking out the sounds of keg stands, police sirens, hit and runs, people needing help, etc. I have a really good way of dealing with noisy neighbors. I own four 100 watt bass amps (attained for a total of $150 by conducting business with “friends” in the worst stages of drug addiction, just like my Residents collection) that get very loud when hooked in succession. I turn them all the way up, add in my Sears guitar and my busted 1979 flanger that makes everything sound like an air raid siren, put my hands over my ears, curl up in the fetal position, and torment all within a thirty block radius, Noriega style. 10 minutes usually does the trick. Even If the people don’t get the point, the police are usually on the scene in 20 minutes (unless you’re in Venice, then it’s 3 hours).

That works on the unwashed masses, but what about the blue collar assault team slowly disassembling my sanity? I contemplated firing a few warning shots through the floor, thinking that 3 quiet years in prison might let me catch up on my sleep, but the cursed whore of good judgment visited my head. I bitched to the landlord who, in classic landlord style, didn’t care. He didn’t like my ideas of retroactive rent reduction for lost sleep, being put up in a hotel until construction was over, or letting me trade my dingy shoe box apartment for a penthouse suite. The only thing I got on him are the 10pm -10am quiet hours I had signed into my lease. Legally I could call the police on the workers with a noise complaint. “Uh, yeah, there’s these guys, and they’re drinking and pounding on the walls. I think they’re armed with pipes and wrenches.” That call would probably only result in getting my ass kicked by the cops and the construction workers. We’ll see what happens. At least I have my landlord’s home number so I can remind him (and his family) how bad it sucks to get woken up in the middle of the night.