Living in a big city in Asia, I’ve gotten used to a certain amount of noise all the time. When you live in an apartment complex, you expect to hear more – horns honking, traffic down below, your neighbors chopping up their vegetables for lunch (yes, you can really hear this one – they use cleavers and chop everything). But even in a big city in a foreign country, there are “rules”.
One rule that is just kind of expected is that from about lunchtime (noon-one) until 2:30 in the afternoon, people are taking a rest. Whether or not you really are resting is not the point – things have to quiet down. Phone calls don’t happen as frequently, construction crews are expected to stop making noise, and small businesses may even “close down” during this time (this can even apply to banks – we’ve made the mistake of going to a bank at one in the afternoon only to find that only one employee has to work during this time, making for very long lines).
However, I do not know the rule for the evening. Overall, people here are staying up later than we are and waking up later than we are. I think this is partially because it is so hot here (just like Houston) that if you want to have fun outside, you have to wait until the sun goes down. Dinner isn’t usually served until 6:30 or 7. This means that the typical child will not go to bed until 9:30 or 10 PM. I often smile to myself when we are coming inside to start Macy’s bedtime routine – bath, books, teeth brushing – around 7:45 or so, and they are just taking their kids for an after dinner playtime. To each his own.
So tonight when the construction began around 3 PM, I couldn’t complain. I knew the rules – “rest” time was over. So when it woke Macy up and made her a little cranky this afternoon, I tried not to blame the construction crew.
But when it was 8 PM and they were still going strong, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. Macy is not afraid of a lot of things – running off without looking back to make sure I am still behind her, climbing anything that will get her a little higher off the ground, or meeting new people – but she does not like loud noises. (It actually makes me feel a little bit better that she does at least have one fear in her). So when the drilling/hammering starts, she jumps in my arms and says, “Mommy, I scared.”
By 8:05, she was done with bathtime and we were about to start reading books. Still drilling. I told myself that I would wait until 8:15 before I did anything.
8:10 – Read through a couple of short books. Still hammering.
8:15 – I thought maybe they had stopped. Nope. I pick Macy up in her pj’s and wet hair, throw my keys into my pocket and go downstairs to talk to the guard. Fortunately, my favorite guard is working – he seems to have a lot of authority and likes to say hello to Macy. Nice guy. I ask him when the construction should stop. If there is a “rule”, I want to know before I allow myself to start feeling frustrated. He tells me they should have stopped already. He reaches for his walkie-talkie. I feel better. We go back upstairs.
8:20 – Back upstairs on the couch with a few more books to go. The drilling starts back up again. I really, really do not want to go back downstairs. Macy is saying, “Shu shu (uncle), tell them stop.” She’s referring to the nice guard.
8:25 – Still drilling. I’ve decided that if we’re still going at 8:30, I’m gonna have to go back downstairs.
8:29 – Hammering. I’m about to get off the couch and take Macy back downstairs to talk to the guard.
8:30 – No noise. I take Macy to brush her teeth. I say a little prayer that we are done for the night.
8:40 – Still no noise. Macy is in her own bed.
Whew. Thank you Jesus. 🙂