There are pros and there are cons to living in a Soviet-era building made out of, you guessed it, painted cement. An example of a pro: When I accidentally left the the kitchen sink both plugged and running, and it overflowed while I was cleaning the bathroom, and I didn’t realize it for about 15 minutes…though the flood was ankle deep throughout my kitchen and dining/living room, it didn’t seep down to the next apartment. Not one drop. We’re sealed in here tight.
The cons probably include things like ventilation, fire escape, and long-term viability, but frankly I’m not interested in any of those things. This isn’t my permanent home and those sound like the concerns of a homeowner. Ok, the fire escape thing should be a bit alarming but I always just plan to shimmy down the side of the building with my bedsheets tied together.
The con that concerns me most is that, apparently, cement block is an amazing conductor of sound. Sounds being made on the first floor flow freely through the cement like ripples in a pond right up to our fifth floor penthouse. And when I say penthouse, I mean exactly the same as all the other apartments except that we have to walk up 72 stairs to get here.
Those who have been lucky enough to sit in my living room know first hand that the Vietnamese family below us have a strong love for the karaoke. Sometimes they devote an entire Saturday (no exaggeration) to such classics as ‘Eye of the Tiger’, ‘You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling’ and anything by Shakira. They then do the same thing all day on Sunday, mixing in some strange, Asian opera music, and sometimes they repeat this cycle on random weekdays. Like today.
I can only imagine the volume within their apartment, because the volume in my apartment is HIGH. And despite the frequent use they get from their karaoke machine, they are NOT good singers. They are, in fact, horrible singers. Lovely people I’m sure, salt of the earth. But they are frighteningly terrible singers.
Normally I try to be tolerant and just kind of…block out the sounds of karaoke time. But today is a game day for Dave and a recovery day for me (my voice sounds like a sex-line operator, I’m not well) and I had to spend the bulk of it wearing earplugs (which can silence a Boeing 747 but merely muffle the painful singing) and trying to catch up on rest. I was too exhausted and unproficient in German to bother going and asking them to turn it down (they’re having so much FUN!) but I have resolved to exact my revenge. Since we have mere weeks left here, I hope to have an outrageously loud party soon before my departure, hopefully on a weeknight. And you know what might just make that party more fun? A karaoke machine. Any requests?