Saturday, December 20, 2008


7.52 am Saturday
I am awake. I have been awake for the last hour and a half. I have been awake for the last hour and a half because my neighbors (whom I share a very thin wall with) have been playing gospel music very, very loudly for the last hour and a half. I had no intention to be up this early.

My eyes itch from the sunlight coming in through the window above my door. I have managed to block most of it with a strategically placed towel. It isn’t a problem most mornings as I generally sleep through sunrise without a problem. However, when I’m awoken against my will around that time, I have a tough time falling asleep again. I bury my head between my lumpy pillows to no respite. I pray, no pun intended, for a break in the barrage in order to doze off comfortably into the nether world of sleep once again. But honestly who am I kidding. No such luck. My head hurts from a combination of lack of sleep, the bone rattling music coming through the door that separates our respective domiciles, and my brains vehement denial to process this “music.”

My door at 6.30am

When I say gospel music I don’t mean down home, dance-inducing, clap-along spirituals. No. This is a smorgasbord of ill-produced songs in every major style (rock, pop, cumbia, ranchera, salsa, regular guitar-y religious chant, etc). It seems like a sampler they give out at the temple or something. All of course include many passages such as “God is the Path,” “I found the light in the Lord,” and my personal favorite, “Entregate al Senor,” meaning roughly “Give yourself to the Lord.” There is one in particular that grind my gears. It reminds me of an “Old McDonald had a farm”-esque campy rhythm but with the aforementioned lyrics and sentiment. I wish I could go back to sleep.

And its not that I mind the music so much. I mean, music is great. However, variety is the spice of life. And these people play the same 10 songs over and over and painfully over again. My ears ache at the sound of the crescendo beginning of the first song on the album. I’m all for religious freedom, but not at 6.30am on a Saturday.

Oddly enough the last few tracks on the album are DJ Flex’s (The artist known as Nigga around the world, except in the US for obvious reasons) “Baby, Te Quiero.” This Panamanian reggae artist is quite popular here, but how he got his song (and various remixes even including an a capella version) on this particular album will forever elude me. He must have one hell of a marketing team. It’s hilarious to me that the strictly religious stuff is played when the father is home, but as soon as he leaves, its “Baby, Te Quiero!!!” blasting for hours on end. Same song. On repeat. I think my ears are going to start bleeding soon.

And this has been happening for the last 7 days in a row. They also turn the music on at night, but that doesn’t bother me so much. It’s just a horrible way to be awoken, that’s all. So I resolve to fight back. During the week I don’t mind so much, because I can forget about setting my alarm clock and don’t have to worry, because sure as the sun will rise, the music is on at the crack of dawn. I don’t know what time the sun comes up around here, I have made a concerted effort to not know. But it must be pretty damn close to 6.30am judging by the weak sun rays filtering into my room when I am awoken by the music.

I fire up the old laptop, and turn on the awesome Logitech speakers I found on for 25 bucks, even though they retailed at Best Buy for 100 clams. I try to select from my 45 gigabyte library of tunes what I judge as the furthest cry apart from what they are listening to. I settle on a French duo called Justice (I know, I know, with a name like that it is a godsend.) Even better the tracks I play are off of their latest album, Cross, whose album art is a gigantic yellow catholic cross on a black blackground (pictured below.) It’s perfect. I feel justified to play their songs, righteous you might even say. The names are even right for the situation, with names such as Genesis (which was featured on a Cadillac commercial recently), Let there be light, Waters of Nazareth, Stress (what I’m feeling right now) and last but certainly not least, DVNO (which is sounded out phonetically in spanish sounds like “Divine.”

Justice´s album cover for Cross

I turn the music up, but just enough to drown out the noise from next door. Even though my european electronic music is pretty loud, it’s just nice to have something streaming in my ears that I chose, something I know and appreciate. I start to drift into a highly relaxed state of near unconsciousness. I can’t turn off their music, but I can damn sure drown it out.

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