11 July 1999
You name a noise,
the guy in the room next to me is making it. It's 2 a.m., and he has
been at it for the better part of an hour now. In fact, I'd wager good
money that the body of the man in room 28 of the Hotel Pratic is emitting
every sound possible outside of actual speech.
with a prolonged session of rat-a-tat's, a queer sound that would start
off grouped into two long burbles, then repeat as a short burst, pause
for several seconds, then start in again with the double long burbles.
At first I thought it was some kind of weird Morse code. Then I realized
it was snoring. Oh, great, I thought. He's going to snore at me all night.
I wish he had merely kept it to snoring.
man in room 28 soon took to harumphing and clearing his throat. He took
to sniffling, snorting, and blowing his nose quite triumphantly and repeatedly.
He took to wheezing, hacking, and making little strangling sounds, rounded
out by a good stiff bout of coughing (which ended with the inevitable
hocking of lugies; this popular pas de duex was encored several
times throughout the evening). At one point engaged in a single, memorable
sneeze that I don't think the residents of this Paris neighborhood will
at a certain point, he grew weary of the nose and throat division and
began to explore the whole range of noises that upchucking afforded. First
came the wet, squelching streams of vomit, splatting against the aluminum
of what I can only assume is an identical copy of the tiny dustbin in
my own room. This was followed by a protracted session of systematic,
cyclical retching. Almost hypnotic. Almost rhythmic enough to lull me
back to sleep. But then he had to go and finish it with a staccato series
of irregular dry heaves. And just to be sure I was still awake, he ended
with one large, reverberating and somewhat relieved sounding
thought it couldn't get worse, eh?
it all off, running like a melodic theme throughout the freakish aria
that has become my evening's aural torture was his resounding, boisterous,
earth-shattering, powerful, positively monumental flatulence. We're talkin'
the sort of grandiose emission of noxious vapors that wakes up the neighbors
(case in point); that registers on the Richter scale; that causes flowers
to wilt. When this guy broke wind, it was a meteorological event.