Check in was easy; the smooth guy at the lobby, Brian, friendly. The location, just a few blocks from Central Park, is great.
The sound isolation between rooms is a joke, let me tell you. You can practically hear a pin dropped a few rooms across. When someone flips a coin, you can tell it's a quarter and landed heads; pay attention and you can probably tell how many times it turned in the air. Woosh, woosh, woosh, woosh, woosh. The woman from Room 718 just lost the bet so she’ll come with her husband and meet his friends for the game after all, even though she doesn’t really care for them, they're kinda lame, suburban, the only one she kinda likes is Cindy, Mark’s wife, she's really clever and funny, but you said she's not coming, so what's the point, I don't see why you like them so much. We can hear the husband roll his eyes and suppress a sigh. That's how bad the isolation is.
The nine-years-old boy from 712 keeps joyfully whistling parts of Vivaldi’s Summer; he saw a film where they played it and now it's stuck in his head. Somebody, different room, fires back, whistling the military tune from the theme of The Bridge on the River Kwai for a minute or so. The boy, 712, gets the memo and, for a while, all is silent, we only hear the heat pumps, and a small van down in the street that honks thrice at a cab. Then a Japanese guy in 702 bites into an apple and the woman from 718 lets out a loud fart and starts dropping some bombs. Splash! She had Italian for lunch, penne all’arrabiata, and two thirds of the tiramisu, by the sounds of it.
In the city that doesn't sleep we get 705 on the phone until the wee hours of the morning. He won’t register any interest in the loud complaints from the mattress in 702 that stop when 704 knocks on the wall seven times. We can all hear the resignation from the sweaty couple in 702 as they decide to call it a night.
705 doesn't care: he keeps yelling into his mobile phone, clutching it tightly. I can hear even the Indian accent of the guy at the other end of the line, probably short and a bit chubby, wearing a plaid shirt and corduroy pants, an architect, if I had to guess.
The architect is an old friend of 705 and the proud father of two boys, ages seven and ten, who like to play ball. He takes them often to the dog park in Union Square; the boys dream of having a dog of their own, but, for now, watching through the fence in the park other people's dogs smelling each other's butts and chasing sticks and balls will have to do. 705 and his wife have two large dogs of their own, a luxury in this place, but the architect hasn't thought of introducing them to his kids.
Hang on, here comes the lift again. It spat out four very drunk people. One of them is very pissed off but there's no telling why; the other three sound quite happy, the way they walk. They split into rooms 715 and 717 and go to bed without brushing their teeth.
Where was I? Oh, yeah: we've learned, from his conversation with the Indian guy, that 705's marriage is crumbling; his wife just came back from her business trip through Europe, where she had an affair with her boss. Barcelona! Paris! Florence! The sights! It must be tough to keep it together. I want to go give 705 a hug.
I also want to go set his two dogs on fire. Hush up! Sleep deprivation is no laughing matter.
The room is clean, as far as the eye and nose can tell. Also spacious, the ceiling very high, like a concert hall. I just started playing The Four Seasons. Ha. The windows are big and take in the sun that reflects from the building across 58th street. Has running water? The bedding is good, though the mattress a bit hard. Ask 702. Did I mention the noise problem?
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