Saturday, November 1, 2008
"The inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind."
It began three weeks ago, commencing at seven thirty each morning. At least, one might offer, the men were on time for work, which is admirable.
They were accompanied by diggers and drills and tools to be used on the stretch of road that runs beside our apartment. Spouse is routinely awake and carrying out the chores of the day before the sun rises. I frequently favour fragments of a nap before Spouse goes to work and my day begins in earnest.
The workers were splitting the ground open, so it stands to reason that a degree of noise would ensue. But I hardly knew that walls could tremble so much, that glass could hum the way ours did when the machines plundered through the surface of the road.
Worst of all, no rhythm could be salvaged from the cacophony, no sequence that I could distinguish. I long ago discovered how to sleep even on nights when anxious dogs seek to disrupt the peace with howling and barking: I decipher the pattern- there is always one to be found- and fall in step with the uniformity.
Shrill sounds do not keep me from my sleep, but erratic peals and arbitrary commotion will destroy any chance of rest. Our apartment suffered the worst, I suspect, due to its proximity to the road.
Mercifully, as the days progressed the workers gradually edged along the street with their equipment, out of hearing range at least for me. They vanished altogether last week, taking with them their bulldozers and cables and cruel contraptions.
All was hushed, and it was welcomed.
But I was jarred with a jolt out of my dormancy yesterday morning, certain I had awoken to a catastrophe in the neighbourhood. It was shortly after dawn and the same fellows were there as though they had never left. And they were, to my complete bewilderment, hammering resolutely away at the very same spot they had just spent two weeks shattering and repairing, as though there were no other plot of land in all the world that needed to be mended.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 9:13 AM