Having lived in my own free-standing house for years, I have forgotten what it's like to live in an apartment setting. In Berkeley, No. 1 is living in a second-floor condo building with just a few other units. It's been very quiet here until just the other day when some noisy boys moved into the unit below. We think they're renters, mainly because they laugh really loud, and there are at least two of them. We envision them sitting on their beat-up sofa playing video games, and every time something exciting or surprising happens, they bellow or guffaw or make some sort of noise that rattles the upstairs window panes.
If the boys open their living room windows, which are directly below our living room windows, we can hear every single thing they say and every single laugh they belch out.
Last night at dinner, they cranked up their speaker system and blasted some crap music, so No. 1 jumped on the floor a few times, and that was that. This could go either way—good or bad. And if No. 1 ends up being their chemistry TA this next semester, God help them.
But just now, I was sitting in the now-finished living room (pictures later) with the windows open and the curtains waving slightly with the breeze, I heard some mumbling from the floor below. And then through all the open windows, I heard the beginnings of Moonlight Sonata. It was weak with more missed notes than you can imagine, but it was recognizable.
At first I thought one of these noisy boys I have been profiling had a surprising side, but it turns out this piano is in the apartment directly across the driveway, and with all the windows open in both buildings, it's as if the piano were just below.
The player has given up on Moonlight Sonata and moved on to piano snacks from Bach's Anna Magdalena book, and it's making for a very delightful afternoon.
It's a pity it isn't one of the boys playing because then we could decide not to hate them, and we can forgive them their bullish laugh. As it is, No. 1 is hoping they're undergrads and won't be here year round, maybe just one school year, and then some nice, quiet renter will take their place. Maybe one with a piano and an appreciation for Bach.