I recently moved to Central Square in Cambridge. The first couple weeks I slept on my futon mattress on the floor before I was able to move its accompanying frame. One evening, I went home and plopped down on the futon mattress right away. I was asleep at about 8pm.
I awoke to a nightmare. What am I doing? OK, someone’s arms are around my waist. I was confused. He’s Behind me. I was sitting up on my futon mattress. His hands are locked together. Josh is really strong. It’s fucking Josh. I tried to pry his hands apart. What is going on? I lunged forward and did a somersault. Josh ended up on top of me. Damn, he’s so fast, too! I wrestled in tenth grade. Why couldn’t I learn a single fucking move!? I never really learned any moves. My wrestling record was zero wins against two losses. Fuck! We tumbled around for a while, my coherence grew as the seconds went by. Josh flopped me on my back. Yes, I went to work today…I jammed my knee into his side. I was very tired…he’s tickling me. Again. Again? The tickling was like murder, enough anger at that point enabled me to slam him into the wall. That’s right, I came home and took a nap. Does he have to punch me in the kidney, in the KIDNEY, that hard? This is a friend, and roommate? So this is how I wake up? This is my new living situation.
When did I wake up? How long were you at it?
Well first I went in and started tugging at the mattress, shaking it back and forth, like craaaaazy man, yanking you up and down and you were…I mean just NOTHING. OUT. Then I took the pillow and slammed you in the face and NOTHING man. Nothing.
So what did it?
The tickling. Automatically. As soon as I touched your feet you were up and fighting right away. Like RIGHT AWAY.
Oh, yeah, I remember the tickling.
Yesterday morning I awoke to a loud clanging sound outside that I just dismissed as industrial or municipal so I went back to sleep. I awoke again about an hour later and peered out the window. I saw a woman about 50, who was possibly dressed for work on a nice summer morning in Cambridge. She was wearing white shorts and a blouse. She carried a bag with her.
So I said she was dressed for a nice summer morning, but it wasn’t nice- it was raining. And the repeated clanging noise I’d been hearing wasn’t industrial or municipal, it was the woman banging an empty plastic bottle against a chain link fence. Her hair and clothes were soaking wet. The empty-plastic-bottle-against-the-fence made a surprising amount of noise for a person banging a plastic bottle against a fence across the street. She seemed to be looking toward the house on the her side of the street as she banged. I assumed that she was desperately trying to get the attention of someone living in the house in front of her. She was banging so steadily. It was like bang bang bang bang bang bang all spaced out evenly, like a metronome. I held hope that she wasn’t quite insane- though it was obvious she was definitely not the best decision maker. I thought she could go about things differently, like cross over that chain link fence and walk to the front door, and ring or knock. I assumed she didn’t have a phone. I asked myself how she could have the courage to bang on a fence repeatedly, and loudly enough for a whole block to hear, while simultaneously being afraid to open the gate and walk to the door of the house. I went back to bed.
A while later I was up again and I heard the same rhythmic banging. Was the sound different this time? I looked out the window. It sure was a different sound. The plastic bottle was gone, and in its stead was a stick. In the hour or so that had passed since I saw her banging the fence with the bottle, she had moved from right to left across my field of vision, and down the sidewalk a bit. She was slapping a stick against a city parking sign. So no trying to get one’s attention, no poor decision-making, just pure insanity. Before conceding that, I was really rooting for her.
Shortly after seeing the woman banging the stick against the parking pole, my roommate Josh came into my room and asked me what was going on. He knew though, because he had the same view from his room. I stuck my face near the screen.
“Why are you doing that!!!?”
A YOUNG WOMAN’S VOICE IMMEDIATELY AFTER MY QUERY, PRESUMABLY FROM ANOTHER APARTMENT:
“Yeah, ALLLLL morning!”
INSANE WOMAN WHO HAS MUTED THE BANGING OF THE STICK AGAINST THE PARKING POLE SINCE THE PUBLIC OUTCRY, BUT IS NEVERTHELESS STILL HITTING IT AT THE SAME RHYTHM; LOOKING UP AT NOBODY IN PARTICULAR, HER HAIR AND CLOTHES SOAKING WET:
“It helps me.” tap tap tap. “It helps me.”