I rent a flat in a new building at the edge of a social housing scheme. I enjoy my view of the tenements more than I probably should, but I like to keep in touch with fellow people’s realities. My terrace is the perfect vantage point for conducting first-hand social observation.
It was Friday yesterday, which is the day when it gets wild at the estate. I went to bed late, and at around three am, I observed a group of three hooded persons loitering at the pavement. In this cold. I was wondering whether they were loitering with intent. Then one of the hoodies detached himself from the group and proceeded to relieve himself against the tenement wall. He must have had a momentary identity crisis, believing himself to be a dog. Also, this very much explains the crumbling base of the house.
My building is normally very quiet, as it was probably constructed of actual bricks rather than prefabricated cardboard-style panels. Later in the night though, when I was trying and failing to fall asleep, I heard very curious sounds coming from the flat below mine. The flat is inhabited by a couple with children of any number. The man has drinking problems, or else there are other reasons that he can be seen stumbling around, occasionally trying to break in my flat when he confuses the floor.
What I heard from the flat was a peculiar mixture of howling and vomiting-like sounds, then sounds of heavy feet running, door banging and lift beeping. I had a hard time not to try to visualise what the matter was down there. I imagine the man had some milk in the pub which didn’t agree with him. Or he was having an epileptic seizure. Or maybe I was sleeping already and just dreaming it all.