Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Last week we had a few nights without power. Some of my friends would scoff. A few nights? Ha! Try 10 days. I would remind them that comparisons are odious. AND. My house is hotter and my street is louder so. There. Nanny nanny boo boo.

With no power we have no fans to sleep with. Fans are vital for two reasons. First, our apartment was apparently a Native American sweat lodge before the school repurposed it into a living space. The direct air from fans allows me to sleep without sweating so much I need an I.V. in the morning. Second, Delmas 75 is rowdy, loud, and proud. Outside our home there is a place to get smoothies (Hepatitis Delight, since the purity of the ice is questionable) and a place to get fritay (fried deliciousness), and a place to get grilled chicken with beans and rice. Three restaurants on one street corner, all of it 5-10 yards from where I lay my head. The second thing my fan does is drown out the noise, not just of the blenders or conversation, but also of the backfiring cars, stray whining dogs, and car radios playing the same kompa songs on repeat. Fans block this all out.

When we lost power I was not willing to sweat into my sheets all night long because I am a grown man. I shouldn't be wetting the bed in any capacity.

I moved out of my bed and into the kitchen, where I hoped it would be cooler. And it was. It also moved me towards the streets with its cacophony of urban living. I laid out on the cot, which I am too long for, and proceeded to toss and turn, a sticky sweaty mass hearing the sweet nighttime sounds of urban overcrowding. I noticed as I was trying to press myself into sleep that the motorcycles' engines raced louder, the trucks made more noise when hitting the speed bump out front, and every conversation sounded like a fight. The kompa music, which I really have a hard time listening to , was even more grating on my nerves. All of this noise pollution weighed on me for what seemed like hours, but if I am rational, something that seems totally unrealistic. In hindsight, it was probably 45 minutes. Then the real fun began. Someone, somewhere decided that now, in the middle of the night, was the time to drag metal down the street. So the oh-so-sonorous sound of metal scraping concrete- the industrial equivalent of nails on a chalkboard- became my lullaby. There is not enough time to write about the buzzing of mosquitos in my ears or the metal creaking of the cot when I shifted my weight.

But trust me, it was the loudest night ever.


  1. We have a king size bed waiting whenever you'd like to come :) Hang in there. Only a few more months and you'll be wishing you were back in Haiti.

  2. I nearly laughed when I read this - in recognition. I opened up Blogger to say I'm going to start praying for power so we have fans this week (maybe you shouldn't look at our forecast...). We're in for more of the same, I'm afraid, but I hope the rest of your week will be quieter.

  3. I advocate frequent use of the free ambient noise app for iPhone. No one can call you the next day, but if you don't sleep well, no one wants to, anyway.



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