Not until I moved into my current Attic living quarters did I realize what an amplifier and conduit that a simple blank space between floor and ceiling creates. I think that the opposite might have been the reason behind this empty space between the second and third floor; a buffer of noise perhaps. Or maybe I am being too generous, wanting to believe there was a reason. I mean afterall the landlords tell me that this three story house made of redwood was built well over 100+ years ago. At some point, the house was sectioned off into three rental units, two on the second floor, and the Attic on the third floor, leaving the ground floor for the owners.
From the street looking up, the Attic space doesn’t look so inviting, meaning it looks like it is a typical dark and low ceiling’ed affair. In fact, the Attic is a perfect example of not judging an Attic by its cover, like I almost did five years ago. Had it not been for the SO’s persistence and insistence of us keeping all of the appointments I had timestakenly made in advance of our quick trip to the Land of Education and Sun from the Land of Family and Snow to secure a place to live, we would have driven on by after the first hopeful look that became an You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me, Not Another Horrible Rental That Sounded So Wonderful on Craig’s List stare. Yep. The pedal would have been to the metal and our life that has been lived here in the Attic would not have been lived. Well hopefully we would have gone on to live a life, just not in this Attic.
Before I succumb to the pull of extolling the Attic’s many renovated glories and lovely quirky features, including the three natural light producing skylights and its numerous windows that open out and up in all four (N, S, E & W) directions, let me digress back to the topic I digressed from originally which is the Space. Yes, the Space between the second and third floor and as long as I am on the topic of OMG What a Renter is Privvy To That No Person Wants To Know About Their Neighbors rant, let me throw in the space on the landing where all three rental doors are located. When one stands in this small area, one can hear and smell what is going on in all three units. Lovely. No. Not really.
Because the Attic takes up the entire third floor, we are privileged to be privvy to the lives of both the second floor renters. Out of the three rentals, the SO and I have stayed the longest. We have seen a number of folks move in and stay for a while and then move out. Actually the apartment directly beneath our living room has proven to house the most transient of renters and the guy who lives there now is the fourth in the succession of renters. I have concluded that there is something about that particular unit that attracts socially inept and sometimes plain weirdos (not in the good weirdo sense if you receive my meaning). The current renter in that unit seemed to be inexplicably mind melded to me and my dissertation. Whenever I sat down and was actually writing, not just avoiding writing, he would turn his music up. Not every time but often enough that I wondered about Cosmic Jokesters. This is also the same renter who took it upon himself to kindly (he thought he was doing us a favor) to dry our bathroom area rugs with his bath towels. To clarify, we share a communal washer and dryer, he didn’t enter our Attic and swipe our bathroom rugs. But I am saying ewwww and ewwww again. The SO said ewwwww only once.
Thanks to the Space, I know things about my neighbors that I could have lived a lifetime without knowing and I live in denial over what they do or do not know about me and the SO. The Space amplifies regular speech to a Bose quality earbud volume that I have wished on many occasions that I could mute. Sudden noises, like coughing, sneezing, flatulence, crying or laughing are also heard in stereo quality. And odors all pile up in the Space and then sift up through the 100+ year-old floorboards. I know that the music loving rug drying man recently changed his brand of shampoo from a citrus fruit varietal to a coconut version. Yep. Cooking smells ~ some good some really good and some Open The Windows Bad, all are stockpiled in the Space and spill up into the Attic. What’s that saying ~ heat rises? Well as an Attic dweller I can also verify that sounds and smells follow the same upward direction.