Friday 31 December 2010

Losing Sleep

Earlier this year, I already wrote about my neighbours, and since then, the setting has changed a little:

Nesla and Murat have a baby, and I went to visit my youngest neighbour (born on the 15th of this month) the other day.
Little Dalia had to be brought into this world four weeks early by Cesarean cut, as her mum is physically handicapped with a displaced hip and so could not give birth naturally. She already has a full head of black hair and relatively large hands and feet, which makes Nesla think she'll grow rather tall, as opposed to herself (she reaches about chest-high to me).
I brought a small present for the young mother, thinking that everyone was most likely going to give her things for the baby, but who was thinking of HER? After all, it was she who'd had a rather difficult pregnancy and now, because she is breast-feeding, can not take her usual pain medication for the hip and so is not really at her best at the moment. She was so pleased and said that I was so far the only one who had thought of her, just like I had suspected. Since she looked (and probably was!) rather tired, I only stayed maybe 15 minutes.
So far, I have not heard Dalia crying, not once.

I wish the same was true about the downstairs neighbours next door, a family of five.

They have never been the quietest of people, but except for some summer nights when they sit out on their patio and talk and laugh until 2.00 am and I have to use earplugs if I want some sleep, they do not disturb me. On the contrary, I mostly know them as friendly and kind people; again, especially in connection with my husband's sudden death last year.

Last night was very different, though.
I went to sleep just before 11 pm, and woke up at around 2.30 am from shouting and door-slamming and people stomping about. It didn't take me long to identify the source of all that racket, as the voices of Mr. and Mrs. Downstairs-Neighbours are very characteristical (hers is deep and raucous, a typical chainsmoker's voice, while his tends to have a high pitch).
It sounded as if the entire family was involved in a MASSIVE shouting match. I couldn't (to my relief) make out any noises indicating physical violence, but the shouting and crying (of the daughter) was very upsetting.
As I do not speak Turkish, I didn't understand a word - I didn't need or want to, either, because what the fight was about is none of my business.

If I had their phone number, I would have rung, but as I don't have it and they are not listed in the directory, I thought about going over and politely ask them to keep the noise level down.
The temperature was about -2 Celsius, it was almost 3.00 in the morning, but I felt I couldn't listen to this any longer.
So I put on my dressing gown, a pair of thick woolly socks and my wellies, went downstairs, out of the door and stood in front of next door's entrance.
I admit I was scared - what if I had misinterpreted the situation, and Mr. Downstairs was running amok with a knife? Or someone would punch me in the face for intruding on them? Or Mrs. Downstairs would snarl at me, telling me to mind my own business, making me her neighbourly enemy?
While I was mustering up more courage, the argument died down. The kitchen window next to where I stood was open a little, and I could clearly hear that things were going quieter.
The coward in me felt relief; now I wouldn't have to ring and ask for silence at this time of the night.

So all I did was going back upstairs to my own flat, remove my wellies and socks and go back to bed. Of course, there was a lot of adrenalin in my blood, and it took me a long time to fall asleep again, but there really was silence now.

When I finally did manage to get back to sleep, I had a rather nice dream.
I was in a palace-like house that belonged to some relative of mine (no idea who the relative was supposed to be), invited for a family gathering, a kind of ball with people in beautiful costumes. I met a very charming English gentleman on the stairs leading up to the ballroom, and we were just trying to figure out how (if at all) the two of us were related, when my cat decided it was time for me to get up and give her breakfast, and, jumping on the bed, woke me.

I still wonder whether I am related to the charming gentleman...


  1. The fight must have been very upsetting, and frightening! What a good thing you had a lovely dream afterwards, and a pity that cats are no respecters of other people's slumbers. Happy (and quiet!) New Year.

  2. It was upsetting indeed, but last night everyone was very quiet, once the fireworks had stopped.
    Happy New Year to you, too!

  3. You are indeed brave, I would have just phoned the local police and asked them to have them quiet down, for all they know, it could have been a next door neighbor that phoned . . .

    Wishing you a wonderful 2011 and many more pleasant dreams!

  4. Thank you, Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes!
    Well, I did talk to Murat yesterday. Since the birth of the baby, they have moved their bedroom to the far end of the house, because it is the largest room with enough space for all the baby things. So, they heard nothing (as unbelievable as that may sound!). But Murat has known that family ever since he was a baby, and he assured me that, although they may be very noisy at times (don't I know that!), they are never violent (and it's true, it did not sound as if there was physical violence). He said that nobody would have attacked me had I gone and rung their doorbell.
    As for calling the police: my experience in the past is that they take so long to arrive that whatever fight or argument there was is long over by the time they arrive.

    All the best for 2011 for you, too!

  5. But even if the police arrive after the argument/fight, your neighbours would notice that other people are disturbed by their noise. And maybe this would stop them from doing it again.

  6. 12, you are right, but what I'll do is I am going to ask Murat for their phone number. Plus I am going to talk to Mrs. Can next time I see her (no point in talking to her husband, he does not understand enough German for such a conversation).

  7. Sorry to hear about the fight. Scary. But people are human. I'll bet alcohol was involved somehow. The dream sounded nice. I'm betting the charming gentleman was not related to you...but would like to be.

  8. Ah, Mark, my neighbours are strictly Muslim in that respect, they really do not drink alcohol (really!), mostly chai and mocca.
    As for the charming gentleman... well, he did put my mind at ease, being as charming as he was, and I wonder if he will ever feature in one of my dreams again :-)