I count. Obsessively. Steps. Station stops. Train carriages. Luggage coming off the carousel. Don’t know where it comes from, or why I do it. I just do it. Nothing to worry about.
But now I’ve gotten into timing. In fairness, I’m not timing everything. Just how long it takes my neighbour to pee.
For those of you not familiar with the structure of the old udvar flats (flats built around a courtyard) in Hungary, flats share ventilation shafts. It runs floor to rooftop and often sits between buildings (as in my case). Most of the rooms with windows facing the shaft are loos, bathrooms, offices and in my case, all three.
I keep the window open. And for years, life has been great. Okay, so a couple of years ago, during the summer (queue open windows) someone in the next building got a girlfriend/boyfriend and were at it day and night but the relationship was short-lived. It only lasted a couple of weeks. And I wasn’t timing things then.
But about three weeks ago, someone new moved next door, kitty corner across the shaft (a whole 3 meters window to window, if that). Oftentimes I can only hear him talking. Occasionally I get a glimmer that there might be a second person living there. I think he spends a lot of time on the phone or on Skype. He’s Asian. And man does he have a problem.
He pees often, and for ages, with great sound effects that bounce around the shaft like a cat on speed. [His longest sigh of relief clocked in at 7.5 seconds.] I’ve been noting the times. Automatically. No clue why. Perhaps I see a court appearance in the future when one of the old nénis (aunties) in the building has had enough and gets her nephew to sort him out.
Today, a relatively short pee culminated in a screaming kung-fu body grunt that sounded like AIYEEEE HUFU GANGEEEEEE, whatever that might mean. It’s maddening. Frustrating. And just a tad too personal for my liking. And because he’s in the building next door, I don’t even get to glare at him. I feel cheated. Maybe I could turn it around though, and record him, and then sell it to a website that collects such sound effects – yes, there is one.
When he has to sit on the loo, he takes his phone with him and scrolls through the ring tones, catches up on his videos, and laughs at the good of it all. At least that’s what I imagine he’s doing – I’m tempted to buy a mirror on a stick. [BTW his long sitting was 17.8 minutes.]
When I happened across the Bertrand Russell’s interview from 1959 that I mentioned in a previous post, I so wanted to take his moral advice to heart.
The moral thing I should wish to say… I should say love is wise, hatred is foolish. In this world which is getting more closely and closely interconnected we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way and if we are to live together and not die together we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.”
I wonder though if he had any idea back then just how closely interconnected we would be. But I take his point. My ability to tolerate my peeing neighbour is vital to the continuation of his life.