Monday, September 29, 2008

Dog is My Co-Pilot

Without question, my "new" apartment is significantly less intense than the last: the police haven't been there once; no one is cooking meth (as far as I can smell); and rather than wearing a snowsuit to bed in the winter, I sometimes feel the need to prop open a window to cool the place down.

So in terms of safety and overall comfort, it's an improvement.

But that's not to say it's perfect; far from it. There was the bathroom incident, for starters. Or the fact that my landlady has a habit of letting herself in unannounced, and generally fails to properly finish necessary repairs.

And the last guy to live above me was a neurotic, heavy walker who seldom took off his shoes when he was home but often bounced on the hardwood floors at a pace Michael Phelps would be hard-pressed to match in an Olympic-sized pool.

He suffered from hearing loss, a problem he accounted for by turning his radio up to obnoxiously high decibels, his speakers just inches above the rotting hardwood that separated our abodes. In other words: I could generally sing along with his music, the tunes so clearly broadcast into my home office.

But he was a nice guy, actually, and when I once mentioned the loud music to him, he apologized profusely and generally (though not always) kept his music down. Which is to say: he put his speakers on a rug, so the sound was muffled. It was still audible, but at least it was nowhere near as distracting.

When he moved out, I was thrilled to discover his replacement was a light-walker: someone I could occasionally hear walking, but only in the same way it's impossible for anyone to entirely snuff out the sound of their steps on an old, creaky floor. His music is generally kept down; and though I can make out his television set when my apartment is silent, if I turn on something in my apartment, I don't hear his TV at all.

It was near bliss until I realized he had one great flaw — a disturbingly dark mark on an otherwise clear complexion.

He has a dog. A small, yippy thing that barked almost constantly the first couple weeks after he moved in. But rather than complain — either to him or my landlord — I chalked it up to anxiety with being in a new place and figured I'd give the pup some time.

And that seemed to work. The dog barked less and less, and in the past month or so I've heard it bark fairly regularly, but never at intervals as long or as pronounced as those first two weeks. In short: it was occasionally annoying, but the bouts of annoyance were generally short-lived.

Short-lived, anyway, until this past Friday. The dog was barking when I got home at 5:30 p.m., and barked off and on for the next two hours... at which point, the pace picked up and was a near-constant until well after 2:30 a.m.

It was around 1:45 that I finally called my landlady, something I've never done before (at least: never in regards to a neighbor). She could hear the dog barking through my phone, as though the pooch were inside my very apartment.

She was skeptical that it was coming from immediately above me, as that gentleman — as it turns out — actually has two dogs. This became apparent to me when she went upstairs (she lives in the basement, three stories removed — and on the opposite side of the building — from the sound) to make sure my neighbor was OK.

We'd theorized that either:

• He'd left his dogs alone for hours, and the yippie one was lonely and/or needed a potty break.
• He'd had a heart attack or some other major medical incident and needed help

When I heard her walk into his apartment, the yipping continued but was joined by a deep, guttural bark from a presumably much larger canine. I was terrified for a moment that she was going to be attacked but as the footsteps continued and I heard her shout for them to shut-up, I figured she was still in one piece.

So as the two dogs barked and I tossed and turned in my bed, my alarm primed for 5 a.m. and a 3-hour road trip on the horizon, I waited for the wail of a siren to come to my neighbor's aid.

But no such thing occurred. Rather than lying unconscious on his floor, he wasn't home. And hadn't been home. Instead, he'd left two dogs, one of them quite large, cramped up inside a one-bedroom city apartment, potentially all day. And most certainly all night. Maybe he checked in on them once; there was a 1/2 hour period of silence around 10 or 11 when I thought maybe he'd returned home.

But then the barking resumed, and I was no better off for the brief silence.

I was angry and irritated. Exhausted and anxious. It occurred to me to give up entirely and hit the road then, rather than waiting for sunrise. But I knew I'd fall asleep the moment I got behind the wheel, so instead I alternately packed my belongings for the trip; crashed exhausted into my bed; and then got up again when it became clear — once again — that I couldn't sleep through the barking.

This cycle continued for five hours, when at long last — around 2:30, maybe 3 — I heard the hallway stairs creak, followed by light footsteps on the floor above me.

The dog hushed, its owner (or possibly animal control) there at long last to end our misery.

5 comments:

Supafly Turbo Cyborg said...

The solution is obvious. You must start consuming large quantities of pure grain alcohol. Luck has it, I just started distilling my own stuff. Would you like some?

M@ said...

I'd want to kill that man. Kill him.

Pamela said...

I hope your landlord makes sure that doesn't happen again. (for the dogs sake, too.)

Stacy said...

Its been some time since we have heard from you- anywhere. Did the dogs attack you and eat you or are you on a holiday or something like that. Just a bit concerned.
(I would have let those dogs outside for a bit- cruel to leave them in an apartment for so long)

ds said...

nothing new, huh? well, I'll just have to imagine what thirdworst is doing. Lets see - fall. surely a camping trip. upcoming pictures. narrative about seasons changing. some kind of contrast between summer and an altered picture of a few leaves hanging onto a tree with screwed up lighting. maybe a kid wearing a new coat walking down a chicago street. and a picture of a spider in a web. then some insightful remark at the end about... I don't know, not being happy or something, but not actually saying that, just saying you're ok with that. yeah, and a vague post about visiting your family home (whereabouts I dare not mention) and talking to your cousins or nephews or something and another insightful thing about them and you and the universe.

Aw - I'm just fucking with you, thirdworst. Love ya. come on back. I'll write you some dumbshit poem about walking around and blah blah universal thoughts blah blah everyone alone etc...