I didn’t move to Iowa to share space with a 50-year-old man who seems to always be wearing the same pair of jorts. But I’m a light sleeper, and when next-door Larry wakes up with a coughing fit at 5 a.m., these thin walls and the yard of space that separates our beds don’t do much to dull the sound of his hacking.
Being the middle child of four means roommates — at least for the first decade of life or so. It means bunk beds and learning to sleep through snoring. So I was no stranger to sharing sleeping space when I got to college and met Kristy, random freshman year roomie who turned out to be the cookie-cutter crazy bitch of university lore. She had a habit of sleeping for only an hour each night and drinking a 12-pack of Diet Coke each day. Kristy was manic, shrill, and her boyfriend enjoyed getting ridiculously drunk and peeing all over our bathroom. I think the urine was the last straw.
Then I got Katie, who is The Best Roommate Ever (present tense because she still lets me sleep on her couch every other weekend). Katie and I bonded over Radiohead and Sufjan Stevens and the Food Network, and when we upgraded from 12′ x 12′ dorm room to apartment with kitchen she would make me butternut-squash risotto and brownies. Best Roommate Ever.
But I don’t know anything about Neighbor Larry, other than his penchant for denim fashion and current sore throat, and it’s creepy to hear a stranger sleeping (dear God, so thankful it’s just sleeping…) so near you. It’s creepy AND I feel guilty now about my habit of listening to Lil Wayne remixes after a long night at work. Larry doesn’t look like the type who enjoys being woken by “A Milli” at 1 in the morning (as opposed to the two people I know who would be ecstatic about this).
Barring sleeping on my living room air mattress to resolve this issue, I’ll probably just relocate my computer so Larry can sleep peacefully — without having to listen to my midnight snack of YouTube puppy videos. Anonymously slipping cough drops into his mailbox might also work.