So far it’s been pretty cool living in a real NYC apartment. Sure there are sirens and for some reason the heaters have been on even on nice days and tend to wake us up with their smoldering and their insane catalog of noises, but it’s neat to be in the middle of the hustle and bustle. Life is a mixed bag, so obviously some things are much harder to keep up living in Astoria. Seeing friends is harder when most of them are an hour train ride away. Wearing any shoe that’s not uber-supportive is like playing with fire. And then there is the noise issue. Never before have I lived in apartment complex with real 9 - 5 working adults and children in elementary school and elderly people who shuffle about.
Never before have I worried so much about interrupting the afternoon naps or sleep schedules of others, or about generally infringing on their sound space. I have no concept of how thick the walls are, so my sound levels tend to be between like a mouse and, hmm, maybe one of the slightly quieter owls? I’m fairly good at keeping my noise contained, but unfortunately there is one huge obstacle: I’m currently writing a musical. Two days a week, Adam and I work on song composition and demo recording. Singing out gives me all the nerves. Not the “you’ve got a lotta nerve” kind, the nervous wreck kind. Here are just a few of the thoughts and feelings that I’ve had while recording singles.
- “Why is my voice so goddamn loud?!?” - I’ve been plagued by this one since elementary school. I would try my hardest to whisper at sleepovers when we were supposed to be asleep, but it would only take about five minutes for my pssts to build into a mighty roar that united my friends against me. I tried, I really did, but it couldn’t be helped. Now when recording I try desperately to manage the untethered belt that fights to escape my torso. On the bright side, it could facilitate a second career as an auctioneer! I’d just have to get good at tongue twisters first.
- “What if everyone in this building works the night shift?” - Sure, that might seem unlikely, but it wouldn’t have to be the whole building! What if the people in the apartments directly above and below and to the sides around me all work the night shift? That’s only like five apartments! That could be true, in which case I’m sure they’re all plotting my murder when the singing picks up around noon. Plus, the above and below apartments have access to my same fire escape. It’s only a matter of time, I should prepare my will.
- “What if the people near me have finicky babies?” - I’ve seen What To Expect When You’re Expecting, so I know how stressful babies are. They are like sleep tyrants! If I’m responsible for stirring these perfect angels when they finally settle down, I might as well be the demon whipping their parents over the fires of hell like in some old-timey illustration. It should be noted, those demon-things are always super unattractive, so this personification sucks for me on many levels.
- “What if I’m ‘that guy’?” - Ok, maybe no one is getting torn from their sleep, but what if lots of people hear me, and then they talk to each other about it, and I become that person who unites the neighbors who didn’t get along before, but now they do because they have mutual hatred. Hatred of me. I am a hate dumpster and everyone talks about it like a scene from a Mean Girls/isolation drama movie hybrid.
- “What if I’m being taped through the window to sell to some cringe-humor show because I’m a joke, and not in the way where I intend to make jokes, but rather in the way that this is all going to crash and burn and everyone will watch?” - This happens to people. And many people are cruel. This could happen to me.
- “What if some old, disgraced, fallen from stardom musical writer lives above me. And they start to listen in, and they decide that my idea is good, so they start recording our recording sessions, but then they also make all the songs slightly better, and then they use their connections to produce the better version of my musical and I’m shafted and sidelined forever like when the other guy wrote the musical Phantom and it was way better than Phantom of the Opera, sorry not sorry, but because the story was public domain in one country a more famous guy wrote Phantom of the Opera and funding was pulled from Phantom and now basically no one knows it and that sucks and that could be my life!”
Yes, it is a seriously upsetting but I think understandable thought spiral. Being a writer is scary. Putting your heart into something is hard. And singing as yourself when strangers can hear you but they really didn’t sign up for it? I sincerely believe that could be the plot of the next goosebump-inducing horror flick.
I’m shuddering already.