You can run into lots of interesting people in such a small city that’s so important to the country. For example, there’s a guy who keeps his girlfriend company at the flower shop just outside my door. He’s been to Atlanta once, he said. In 1996. As an Olympic boxer. The guy still retains his size and muscle, looking imposing standing around. I always make an effort to say hello and I hope he thinks kindly of me, I’d hate to think it was the other way.
The past week the apartment above mine here has been rocking. Music plays starting in the morning around 8am and continues until well after midnight. And occasionally this is accompanied by loud thumping. What’s going on up there? Another interesting neighbor I suppose.
Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard music coming from above. Usually there are faint piano sounds. Sometimes these are really basic, like someone practicing scales, and sometimes it’s more like someone rehearsing a piece. It’s always very quiet and I have to strain to hear it. Occasionally there is recorded music that sounds like it’s Arabic or Persian – it’s hard for me to tell.
But starting about a week ago activity increased. The music was louder and more frequent, often going the whole day and late into the night. And the aforementioned thumping started up. I’m not an expert in the region’s music, but it sounded like the same song over and over again. In between playings I’d sometimes hear people talking.
One night the music and thumping was especially loud. Dishes started rattling from all the thumping and it sounded like the ceiling was going to collapse. It was like living below an earthquake. So I went upstairs to see what was up.
I banged on the door trying to overshadow the music. It must have worked because the music stopped, the locks turned and the door swung open. I’m not sure what I was expecting to see behind it, but the sight surprised me.
When I opened the door I was greeted by something much larger and more intimidating than the boxer outside. A guy stepped out, about 6’5″ tall and with a lazy eye looking down at me, his mouth smiling. His shirt off, sweaty, out of breath and very muscular, it was a bit alarming, despite the big smile on his face. I don’t think I physically jumped back but in my mind I did.
I used my diplomatic tools to throw on a smile and speak first. “Do you speak English?”
“Hello. Hello. No English.” He reached out his large hand in a gesture of friendship to shake my hand. I took it.
Motioning to the ground with my other hand open and facing downward I said “It’s very loud.” Hopeful that I’d made my point, and relieved I’d managed to get to this point without physical harm I was bolstered a bit.
“Sorry. Sorry.” He offered his hand again, nodding, panting and still smiling. “Sorry.”
Nothing left to discuss at the moment, I bid him goodbye. He slipped back inside and I went back downstairs. The music resumed, but had quieted noticeably and the thunder seemed more distant too. “What was going on?” I was left to wonder.
I’ve made a few conjectures, but have no real evidence for my theories. From what I can make out, I think the guy above is a performer. Probably some kind of a dancer. I think he must have been practicing for an upcoming performance. Probably with a group, judging by the traffic up and down the stairs. The music has since subsided, so I assume that he’s done his thing and is back to learning piano.
I hope to run into him at some point and try to talk with him. Seems like an interesting person and if I’m right, I’d love to see him perform or something. Or at least satisfy my deepening curiosity. Like I said, you can meet a lot of interesting people in a place like this, and this person is particularly interesting