susanna vagt
Shut your eyes and spin around three times in our apartment. You can still navigate your way around; if you've got your hearings, you've got your bearings.

Noise Band Practice! Or maybe it is just Band Practice. Every Thursday night, and sometimes on Sundays, we hear a lot of noise.

Directly behind our apartment is another apartment, so close it seems to have been poured into the back yard. Not a peep comes from this place, but beyond it is a playground. Most of the day you can hear it: young screams of delight, jingling swings, and a basketball spanking the pavement.

If you need to wake at 6:10 AM, don't bother setting your own alarm. My south-easterly neighbor is already doing it for you. Later in the day, strain your ears for the plaintive moans of a saxophone somewhere down the street. Of all the wind instruments, is the saxophone the most blustery? It takes singular resolve to learn something so strenuous and loud when you have the piccolo as an alternative. But as Charlie Dalton said in Dead Poet's Society, "the saxophone is more...sonorous." Be unashamed, dear neighbor. The meek may inherit the earth, but today that earth listens to you.

On the half hour comes the sigh of the 86 bus. And always the buzz of motorcycles and scooters.

The compass rose does not honor this direction. But you will, when NPR is heard on high.