Wake-up call

Blog | The Hill

Seattle summers are hotter than hell in my apartment. Built in the 1950’s, this little abode of mine is not equipped with central air… nor a dishwasher, microwave or laundry in unit for that matter. But that’s not the point. Anyways, staying cool becomes a full-time job, so from June to October my balcony door remains permanently open. As a result, the sounds of the city waft into my apartment alongside the breeze. At night, I sleep with earplugs to combat the noise. However, even the durability of silicone earplugs can’t block out what I heard last night.

A little past 2am, I woke in a panic to the alarming sound of incessant gagging. Heart racing but not fully coherent, I bolted upright, not quite sure what was happening. I ripped out one earplug and craned to listen. Over and over came the continued gagging, obnoxiously and inconsiderately loud. The gagging was then followed by the straining sound of someone struggling to hock a thick, phlegmy, loogie. Finally, as a grand finale to end the charade, came a violent splatter of vomit hitting the pavement.

By this point, I’m experiencing a mix of emotions. I’m furious by the rude awakening, yet slightly concerned for the person in question and also just downright curious to see what is happening. So, I get out of bed and tiptoe to my window, peering through the blinds like a Peeping Tom. A man, staggering and clearly drunk, if not also high, is examining the remains of his stomach, now emptied in the back alley. Holding a bottle of brown booze, he tips it back in his mouth and continues walking. He chuckles, very pleased with himself. I on the other hand am not.