Lately, I haven’t really been getting a lot of sleep. I’m normally a very heavy sleeper once I actually manage to pass out to sleep, but it’s the run-up to sleeping that I have trouble with. Normally, it takes me up to at least two extra hours to crash for bed, so any distractions or thoughts before then will most definitely keep me up for far longer.
I digress. This is a little exercise I got to writing, most definitely inspired by the problems I’ve been having with a very particular piece of machinery in my home. It’s short, yes, but it’s a good way to keep my typing fingers and my mind limber.
It wasn’t quite as noticeable during the day, when there was the noise from outside the window filtering in to make up for the silence in its presence. During the day, it would mostly be the sea breeze – or was that the wind, at this altitude? – sneaking its way through the window, bringing the noise from below and outside into her otherwise sterile, lonely room, seventeen floors up and perched precariously on a steep, modest hillside. There would be the cars below – or buses, by the roar of the exhaust fan, audible even at this height. In quieter moments like the afternoon, or before the rush hour, it would be sea birds that couldn’t be seen, or the faint rustling of kite feathers as they soared too close to her window and almost smacked headlong into the glass. Sometimes it’d be the dog barking, and part of her wishes the dratted DMC (deed of mutual covenant, how lovely and useful legal knowledge could be) would permit dogs because she would give an arm and a leg to have a sweetheart bounding through the halls.
This, of course, was of no concern as she lay there in the dark, breathing and trying to shut out the slowly echoing tinny noise that should not have been in a silent room. Or maybe it was precisely because of this silence that her mind was compensating with white noise? She tosses under the covers, careful not to dislodge the collection of stuffed toys congregated beside her pillow, trying not to be distracted by the sound of her own breathing. She would get used to this, this eerie silence that amplified every creak in the wood, every footstep from the floor above, the occasional shout that she could hear wafting in through somewhere, not the open window, not when the window wasn’t open to begin with…
And then of course when she’s about to settle in to a nice, cozy, warm, welcoming, dark sleep, having beaten her mind and the white noise into whimpering submission, the damned air conditioner finally stops throwing its petulant tantrum and whirrs to life, its noisy purring and breaking the silence. It wouldn’t be so bad if the stupid thing just quietly increased its fans intensity, but no, it had to spring to life out of nowhere like a particularly quiet explosion of wind, fans, and clacking machinery. She groans, lies back, and counts to a minute. Or was it five? Seven? Sixteen? Less? In the dark, at an obscene 2:30AM in the morning, she really didn’t care anymore. She just wanted to sleep so she could have enough energy to slack off at home!
With a groan, she rolls back onto her back, hands fumbling for her remote control. Quietness and strange, eerie white noise be damned, she’d rather take the strangle static noise in her head to make up for the complete lack of fans than this… intermittent… whatever.
That, and she was going to call the maintenance and see if there could be anything done to her air conditioner. Or go through the settings again. Anything for a good night’s worth of sleep.