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Turning Off a Neighbor’s Radio | Part 1

Philip Kalantzis Cope

It had been going on for months. At 6 a.m., every morning without fail, the Day of Rest included, we would be awoken by the morning’s news as presented by WABC at a volume that would stun a rock star. News, weather, traffic, sports, commercials. News, weather, traffic, sports, commercials. News, weather, traffic, sports, commercials…. And then, after about an hour, a silence so deep it was like being parachuted into a desert. The radio had been turned off. After that, it would return (at the same blistering volume) sporadically throughout the day.

Our bedroom, which is small, gives out onto an air shaft. My wife and I usually sleep with the window open, even if just a crack, to let in some air. It’s the original tenement window, and the glass is about as noise-resistant as a few sheets of newspaper. But even if we had one of those titanically thick, gas-filled windows they use in airport hotels so conveniently located they’re practically on the runway, nothing would have been enough to keep out the din of that radio.

But where was it coming from? It took a long time to discover. Our apartment overlooks a dank courtyard, and noise bounces around maddeningly. Once, in the middle of the night, I heard a woman’s voice — one of those brassy New York voices you hear less and less frequently — call out, I know you’re looking at me, you pervert! But there was no clue to what building she was in, let alone the location of her hapless peeping tom.
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