The Construction Men cometh — at about 7 a.m. each day — to bulldoze and bang their way through my morning dreams. I try to ignore them. I hug the pillows to my ears and throw the covers over my head in an effort to cling to my sleep.
But these Nazis of Noise, these Demons of Din, these Creators of Cacophony are too strong for me. Eventually I surrender, abandon my bed, stand upright and prepare to greet the day.
And then, it is quiet. They’ve gone away.
Perhaps to search for a bite of breakfast or to catch Good Morning America. How kind of them to ensure I would not oversleep.
I’ve tried to outwit them. I’ve set the alarm for dawn, forsaken my morning coffee, showered, dressed and waited triumphantly. And waited and waited and waited… They never arrive.
Maybe this is the morning they’re working for someone else; or driving their children to school; or taking their dogs to the vet. I’ll never know. But, I enjoy my day of peace until I collapse exhausted into bed at 7 p.m. — my consequence for attempting to outwit them. And I sleep, lulled into a false sense of complacency -– until the morning, when it begins again.
I step out of the shower, and there they are, carrying lumber back and forth outside the bathroom window. I retreat to the bedroom to dress, and they hold their morning meeting outside the bedroom window. I take a business call on the phone in the living room, and they drive the bulldozer to that window, abandon it and leave it running.
Their trucks hum and roar; their hammers tap-tap-tap; their saws whirr; their drills grind; their cellphones ring and ring, each with a different melody. Their delivery men arrive with supplies, and they stand so close to each other that Velcro could not unite them more, but they scream at the top of their lungs in conversation.
Their wives show up, their children appear, the neighbors stop by to admire their work, other of their clients drive in and out all day. The noise is deafening, and I am frazzled, so I meditate and practice my mantras: “Shut up, I hate you, go away.” Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat.
And then, it dawns on me. Someone is paying them to do this to me. Who have I offended so much that they hate me and have now fiendishly plotted to take their sweet revenge? Or could it be just an elaborate Candid Camera set-up? Or maybe, it’s bad karma — a fitting payback for a previous lifetime spent littering the world with bad rap music, perhaps. I shudder as I realize that I, who have now learned to detest noise so passionately, will most likely spend my next incarnation as a deaf mute.
Without warning, once again, it is quiet. I test my hearing to make sure I have not already become impaired. But the neighbor’s rooster is screeching and my cat is whining. All is right with the world.
I venture outside cautiously and am struck by how quickly progress is being made on the property. Soon the house will be beautiful. Soon my nemeses will be gone for good. And much like Buddhist monks, Christian mystics and Simon & Garfunkel, I, too, have learned to love the Sounds of Silence.