Sunday, March 29, 2015


Saturday I woke up with menstrual cramps that turned out to be among the Top Ten worst I've ever had in my life. To achieve placement on this list, gotta cause pain enough to make me first break into a cold sweat (check), then gray out (check), and then throw up (check).

I hadn't had a period for 2 months, since late January, so I was kind of hoping that menopause was kicking in. Over the past 2 or so years, the blood flow has thinned out, the regularity has become mixed. In my teens and early 20s, I had an odd schedule -- regularly, but every 2 months rather than every month; late 20s, 30s, and 40s, up 'til the last couple of years, regularly every month. The Top Ten super-severe cramps, until yesterday, occurred almost exclusively in my teens/early 20s. There were a few bad months in the decades since then, but nothing that maybe four 200-mg Ibuprofen wouldn't fix, and certainly no graying out or throwing up.

Yesterday, The pain lasted from 5:55am through about 12:30pm. At least the cramps started when I was home, and on a day off. The VERY WORST happened during the summer in '86 or so, when I was waiting for a college shuttle bus to take me home from class. Almost passing out from the sudden onslaught of pain, I somehow made it to a bathroom stall in the nearby Art School building, where I huddled/crouched for over an hour, alternately shitting and vomiting, until I eventually willed myself back to the bus stop to get home.

So, Saturday was very nasty. I'm hoping that it's a Farewell Tour from my period, a flashback saying, "Hey, remember how things used to be?" before fading out forever. Unlike many women, I'm not going to miss my period and what it psychologically represents--the ability to have kids--at all. I never had many maternal urges. I thought a few times about how fun it would be to share certain movies or music with a kid, and I've enjoyed hanging out with kids (including my nephews) from about age 2 to age 10, listening to their thoughts, going to the pool, or, at the older end of that spectrum, watching their sports efforts, but... other than that, I'm certain that I've never felt any deep-seated desire to have kids whatsoever.

Believe it or not, the above was all a preface to what I really meant to say in the beginning! Because I was bedridden most of Saturday, I had no choice but to lie there all day and listen to the kids from the apartment 2 doors down. Off and on from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., the 3- and 4-year-olds of the neighbors were riding their trikes and running back and forth in front of my apartment landing, playing/banging in the stairwell that adjoins my apartment wall, shrieking at the top of their lungs.

In the few weeks since I've lived here, I've usually been at work, and so I've noticed the running-amok only from maybe 5pm to 7pm. Yesterday, though, when I was trapped at home: The craziness went on ALL DAY LONG. I still didn't want to say anything to the apartment manager -- still felt too new after only 2 months, didn't want to feel like I was being "mean to a poor family with kids who didn't have anywhere else to live." Yeah, well, when I woke up fresh Sunday morning from my previous day of suffering, the very first thought that came to me was: Take a moment to report those obnoxious bangers and shriekers who helped to make your day so miserable yesterday, and who have been obnoxious for the past month once warm weather arrived. I did report it, slipping a handwritten note through the office mail-slot since it was a Sunday.

Sunday, after waking up early pain-free and after writing the complaining note, I went into work for 5 hours, getting a ton of work done in the quiet... Got home around 5pm. Again, the kids were running up and down the landing, shrieking at the top of their lungs. I enter my apartment and, after about 10 minutes, hear a little kid screaming right outside my door. I open the door to see what's going on: The kid is PEEING right there in front of me! I try to say something nice, "Do you have to go to the bathroom?" (this as the puddle is forming at her feet), and then she runs off to her parents' apartment two doors down.

I immediately e-mailed my apartment manager with the latest pee-news: I dropped you a handwritten note this morning, but, wait, there's MORE!

I've lived in my new apartment for 2 months now. #1 noise problem is the 50-something black guy downstairs who's constantly yelling at his wife or yelling on the phone (I can't tell which, but the volume of his voice sounds like he's in my own apartment). #2 problem is the above-mentioned Hispanic family with 3 kids under the age of 4 who are running amok around the complex, but especially in front of my apartment. #3 is the loud (Anglo) biker whose comings and goings his motor announces.

I've rarely had to deal with any of these things before. In my over-30 years of living in apartments in Austin, I've only once lived next door to a black family (who were loud, but my lease was up only a month later and I'd already given notice), only once lived next door to a Hispanic family (single mother, drug-doing son; when she was at work, he'd have his friends over -- at one point, he and his friends got fucked up and started climbing on top of their duplex roof, which I called the police about). And I've never certainly never been around a biker who revs up obnoxiously loudly at 7:20 each morning and whose subsequent comings and goings we all get to revel in.

These aren't high-end apartments. Yet they're decent apartments. But why does the one black guy in the whole place have to be a stereotypically loud, angry black guy that I get stuck living above? Why does the one Hispanic family in the place have to be stereotypically stuffing 2 adults and 3 kids into one apartment, with the kids running around banging on MY walls (not anywhere near their own apartment)? And why the fuck is this biker revving his bike up 5 times a day?

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