There is a man who wails in the evening. He wails for hours at a time. It’s not every night but it’s often enough that I started thinking that he must be doing a kind of ritual.
At first, I was curious. Then it got a bit annoying. Even though he lives in another building, I could clearly hear him from the kitchen and the bathroom. I wondered what would happen if I shouted, ‘Shut up! Some of us are trying to relax here!’
It wasn’t the way to go, though. In London, people have been verbally abused and physically attacked for telling others off. And at least this wailing man has a decent voice. It would have been really grating otherwise.
I eventually asked my flat mate Aoife about it. She smiled knowingly.
‘The wailing man? Yes, I hear him. I think he has a mental problem and his mother looks after him. Last year, they had the window open and I could hear him all the time.’
‘Oh, your room is on that side of the building!’ I exclaimed. ‘It would have driven you nuts.’
Aoife said, ‘I went over twice to ask them to close the window. I’m sorry about the kid but all I wanted was for them to close the window. Eventually, I called the Council and someone came to speak to the family. Since then, the window has been closed.’