Julianne and I went out for dinner tonight with friends from work and then headed back to our apartment for a nice quiet evening–or so I thought.
During the afternoon Julianne had gone for a long walk in the 26 degree semi-sunny hot day (with Katie) and she was looking like a cute but exhausted racoon by 8pm. Right now we’re working our way through season 1 of “The L-word” and I started an episode all the while thinking it highly unlikely that Julianne would make it through the entire episode without falling asleep.
Julianne stayed awake but by the time it was done she had more dark color under her eyes than Charlie Sheen after a ‘torpedo of Coke–err–Truth’ performance so she called it a night and headed to bed. I followed along and picked up “A Game of Thrones” which I’m re-reading for the fourth time as the HBO miniseries is supposed to be airing soon and I want to refresh the story and characters in my mind.
While Julianne drifted off to sleep I managed to tune out the normal cacaphony of scooters and cars and trucks and buses driving by, the incessant honking of scooters and cars and trucks and buses as they roar past the outer wall of our apartment complex . . . and was thoroughly enjoying my novel as Julianne slept–and then the ‘singing’ began.
I love singing. I have taken opera singing lessons with professional teachers back in Canada, and performed in many choirs, and semi-professional Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, etc.
But a Chinese man singing “Can Belto” (if you know what Bel Canto is you’ll get the pun) in the key of “O” is beyond my tolerance abilities.
I give him a few minutes to stop repeating over and over what appear to be fragments of some love ballad’s mangled melody . . . and he does stop–for all of a minute or so–and then continues.
The thing people outside of China need to know about Chinese apartments, especially the one I’m living in, is that sound-proofing materials are simply not used. Add to this that the design of the bedroom in my apartment has an ENTIRE WALL OF WINDOWS and a GLASS DOOR and you can begin to understand how sound carries insanely easily into the apartment’s interior.
I set my novel down on my night table, by this point Julianne is well and truly wide awake too, and groan. I get up and head out of the apartment to find Pavorotti’s demented cousin . . .
Stepping outside of the building and into the driveway area running along the compound’s wall I walk past the younger of our two gate guards talking on his cell phone. I wonder if he is the ‘singer’ but keep going to the gate itself to look around outside the wall to see if anyone else is outside the gate, drunk, and serenading all of Changsha to the best of his sad abilities . . . nobody is there.
The second older guard for our apartments is standing on the stairway leading to his little office by the gate and I look at him and mime singing with a microphone, point at my mouth, sing a few ‘na-na-na’ notes, point at my ear, and then at my apartment in the hopes that he’ll understand the question that I also say, “WHO IS SINGING???!”
I repeat this 3 times in as respectful but also as firm and disapproving a way as I can. On the third repetition he figures out what I’m saying and points at the younger guard who is about 20 feet away still on his cellphone.
The older guard (is an AWESOME GUY who has helped Julianne and I so much with problems in our apartment) begins laughing and I try not to be annoyed with him because he wasn’t the one singing. I point at the younger guard and say “STOP singing” and the older guard laughs again and says “Sorry, sorry, okay.”
(Again, he’s an awesome AWESOME guy. Burned out light bulb that needs a ladder to change it–he’s our man; toilet stops working–he’s the man; kitchen sink pipe leaking-he’s DA MAN!)
He says something to the younger guard in Chinese and the younger one assumes his typical smirk that he always seems to be wearing when Julianne and I see him.
I say “Stop singing” one more time and point at my ear and then to the apartments where I’m assuming EVERYONE else has been listening too. He nods, smirks, I give him a look, and then head back to my apartment.
Now if I could just find someone to talk to about the cats in heat that love to get up on the rooftops of the shacks that sit just behind our apartments . . .
One can only handle so much kitty-lovin’ each night!!!