We've had a faulty fire alarm for years that often shreds the peace, clanging away at all hours for no good reason, the fired brigade wailing to the rescue, then stomping and shouting, more clanging as the dammed alarm is tested, thus sleep can never be regular. For the last few weeks there's been an ultra-sonic whine ringing thru the nights like tinnitus of the collective head, it's source unfathomable and me ready to run amok with an axe, it's piercing my brain like an ice-pick. We've got jackhammers throbbing thu.out the days while they renovate the crumbling towers, and the garbage trucks trundle and crash, the cleaners clatter and smash, for my flat is near the dumpsters. Ambulences and police sirens scream at the ongoing Estate emergencies and every fortnight the dreaded lawn-mower brigade shows up to tear away at any wayward blade of grass, machine-grinding from Hell, all the gardens chopped to bits whether they need pruning or not for this army of contractors wants the easy money the Estate provides, vegetation and resting invalids be dammed.
Then there's my next door neighbours, Cursula and Bawl, whose constant bickering pierces my lounge-room wall, him berating her slovenly existence, her whingeing defence of her leprous honour, then their reconciliation with bad musical duets that grate on my nerves, him on guitar and her on tink-plink piano, and their lovie-dovie smooching that churns my guts, ending in a crscendo of sexual bellowing, as if a rhino is mounting a hippopotamus. Because she's filled her flat with garbage and junk that's stacked to the ceiling, any of her fellow drug-fucked friends that come visiting can't fit in so she holds her moronic soirees outside, in front of my door, and for hours I have to listen to inane trivia, "gee, if you put a photo of Kylie Minogue and Dolly Parton next to each other, you'd swear they were sisters." I scream thru the door, "try photos of Cursula and King Cong next to each other!"
More hours of saccharine compliments upon her filthy lifestyle, "Wow Cursula, you managed to bake a sludge cake using dirty dishes, that's clever!" till I have to bite my tongue and handcuff myself to my bed or otherwise I'm going to run out there with a baseball bat and knock her teeth down her throat. I've begged her to desist, she just moos like the cow she is and carries on chewing the cud, there's no explaining the waste of space that drug abusers create.
On the other side of me I've got Eric the Viking Beserker, howling hideously at the nights, cursing every passer-by, and climbing thru his window every 7 minutes, the window shudders open then screeches closed, over and over, he's lost his front door key again. The other day he pissed his pants as he clambered thru, a trail of noxious yellow running down the wall and across the footpath. The gay couple down the other end of the verandah shreiked outrage at the sight of it, they have a cleanliness fetish, Tony the Tooth Fairy is forever hosing down the concrete while his obnoxious paramour, Dravid the Undertaker, drunk as a punk 24/7, yells abuse at the heavens, "it's those dole bludgers, those pensioners, they make the bloody mess, they won't work, they own nothing, THEY OWN NOTHING...!", this last repeated like a mantra, all he owns is a black Bat-mobile, big deal.
The main path that cuts thru the whole Estate runs past my front door and I get all the marauding mobs in my face, drunken louts yahooing, Abbos shattering beer bottles, ICE-zombies shouting murder, domestic quarrels weeping and begging at 3am like restless ghosts from the ancient cemetary buried under the foundations of Northcott Compound. Stolen cars are set alight and exploded in the carpark, furniture is tossed from 21st floor balconies and zombies drag trash from the garbage dump in the twilight of dawn, Cursula in the vanguard, broken furniture scraped and banged thru her door just when I'm finally falling asleep. All this noise swells up into a tsunami of caterwauling, a symphony of cacophony, an 1812 overture of angst and recrimination, and I'm swept away, down into a whirlpool of sonic vibrations, my quantum consciousness dissolved, madness filling the void.
All of which brings me to the cute story about Northcott. Some years ago, after a hard night-shift in the House of the Dying, I was trying to sleep when the most god-awful machine thumping threw me from my bed. So loud the walls shuddered and my nerve-ends frayed and exploded. I rushed outside to find a fifty-something moron pushing a pneumatic machine that sprays water, he's swishing trash and leaves from the footpath, ripping up the peace worse than a jack-hammer. I scream over the racket for him to turn the machine off, it's giving me a nervous breakdown, is a terrible waste of water and hasn't he ever heard of a broom. He just looked at me vacant-brained and kept waving his water-wand at a few twigs and cigarette butts.
I yelled and yelled but he was impervious to my admonishments, grunting "it's my job, fuck off!" An ancient old man in a dressing gown hung over the 4th floor balcony and yelled, "yeah, stop the noise, turn that bloody machine off!" I felt somewhat vindicated so I kept squawking, "turn that fucking hell-macine off!" The thump/whine noise increased in pitch the louder I yelled, my brains felt like they were shredding out my arse and the mentally challenged cleaner carried on oblivious, spray spray, thump, thump. I went over the edge and grabbed at the cumbersome machine, wrestling to the death with it like it was some invading Dalek, heavy as an armoured tank, in my rage I flipped it over onto it's side, the thump-thump whining dwindling to a wheezing gasp. The retarded cleaner's face swelled with outrage, he adveanced upon me waving his water-wand and sprayed me head to toe with dirty water till I was drenched and sqeaking like a drowned rat.
I spluttered fury and ran back into my flat and for the second time in my life I rang the cops, I had gone into meltdown and wasn't thinking clearly. Within 7 minutes a matching pair of pigs showed up, as if spewed from a conveyor belt, the usual blonde female with a pony-tail chewing gum, the fat male behind her scowling over her shoulder. She asked me what the big emergency was and I told her how I'd been assaulted by the moronic cleaner with a spray device. They went over to the retard and questioned him, him jabbering away and pointing at his precious machine as if it was a sacred relic I'd desecrated.
They marched back to me peering from my doorway and growled, "look mate, what's your problem? He says you attacked his machine!" "We have enough noise around here, the garbage trucks, the fire alarms, without that moron adding to it with a ridiculous machine from Hell!" "Mate, I've got garbage trucks out front of my place, that's city life for you, we all have to put up with it, he's only doing his job." "The noise here is out of control, there's a lot of old, sick people here who can't stand it and that moron has to add to it with a bullshit piece of make-work, an unneccesary job they've thrown to a retard to give him something to do, like why can't he use a broom?" "Mate, he's only doing his job! And if you keep it up we'll drag YOU away!" "Gee, thanks for all your help, remind me not to call the police again when there's trouble!"
I slammed the door in their grumpy red-faces and prayed they wouldn't take the issue further. I could be murdered with a chain-saw and I won't ever consider ringing the cops, they're useless. I must say, that retarded cleaner ran off and never did come back with his infernal machine, the front-office must have got wind of the affair and told him to desist, so flipping out can get results but it's a pity I have to suffer madness to get 7 minutes of peace.
When I was a young man I fled to the Himalaya mountains looking for a cave where I could meditate in peace and find some kind of enlightenment. But in the deepest jungle and highest crag someone always found me, a grass-cutter or goatherd, a curious cop or zealous tourist, there was no getting away from humanity, anywhere. In my old age I've discovered my apartment can be like a mountain cave, if I discourage most people from visiting me, can keep it reasonably quiet, I can meditate and contemplate the mystery of the Universe and my existence in peace, it's like a monastic cell.
But society hates a drop-out, they drag you into the bumptious world willing or not, and I go screaming. Somehow I'll just have to switch that scream over to my all-soothing mantra, instead of "fuck, fuck, fuck!" it wil have to be"AUM, AUM, AUM" or otherwise I will go mad and there'll be a new Surry Hills massacre at Northcott. Not so cute.