In resolving to put more energy into relationships this year, I now realize I should’ve specified what kind of relationships I meant—specifically not ones involving inanimate objects. I’m referring, of course, to the Pit, a giant excavation project outside my apartment window to which I’ve become rather disturbingly attached.
The Pit’s existed in its gaping holey glory since my roommate and I moved into our apartment, though it’d been relatively dormant at first. Then, without warning, came an onslaught of noise pollution. Jackhammering at 6AM. Cranes grinding through the afternoon. The midnight truck backing up in 30-second intervals as though it were backing up only to turn around and back up the way it came.
Roommate and I spent a year trying to figure out their schedule to no avail because they seemed to work whenever they pleased. Every day was a surprise, preventing us from becoming too complacent.
But we began to grow accustomed to the noise. Not tune it out—that was impossible—but grudgingly accept its imposition on our lives and sleep. The construction became a constant for me. When guests would come over to the apartment, I’d excitedly usher them to my window view of the Pit and introduce it like a second roommate.
Guest: That’s… horrible.
Me, gleefully: Isn’t it??
I’m sure my enthusiasm for a source of constant torment must’ve seemed inexplicable. But I mean, what was I supposed to do? Not acknowledge the Pit? It was practically my child, in that in a year’s time, I’d watched it mature, watched it grow up from a giant pit to… well, a giant pit. (It’s a universal law that construction projects don’t obey the constraints of time.)
Guest: You said it sometimes goes until 3AM? This has to be illegal.
The Pit: CRK-CRK-CRK-CRK-CRKCRKCRKCRKCRKCRKCRKCRK
Me: It probably is.
Guest: Have you tried complaining?
Me: On what basis? We’re students. We know no rights.
I’d meant “know” like “have,” but, in retrospect, the former was pretty accurate, too. Maybe we’d all assumed someone else would’ve complained by now if doing so would be effective, and because nothing had changed that meant there was no point in complaining. Besides, I assumed most of us wouldn’t confront anyone if there were an option of grumbling and waiting it out.
To my knowledge, there wasn’t an estimated project completion date, but I figured it’d naturally be when my roommate and I are long gone. I like to imagine that the excavation, like most of the existing university structures and institutions, subsists off student anguish and will only finish when it’s satiated.
The Pit: rrrrRRRRRRRRrrrrRRRRRrrrrRRRRRRR
Guest: What’re they constructing?
Me: Rumors are they’re building a new Marriott. A place to lodge out-of-town visitors to university football games.
Guest: So it’s only going to get louder, right, as they build their way up the stories and out of the pit?
The concept of the Pit as a finished building felt foreign because I’d known it as an unidentifiable hole in the ground for so long. The Pit, in its in-progress, interminable state had been a staple of my sophomore year, which otherwise would’ve been an entirely different (admittedly more restful) experience. The Pit was a conversation starter, a sympathy generator. A roommate bonder. Our child of sorts, specifically a particularly terrible baby. Just like a baby, it wrecked our sleep schedules, was indiscriminately shown off to others despite its ugliness, and would grow up to become utterly useless to us. And we couldn’t throw it away.
Ugh, the sentimentality. I blame it on the sleep deprivation.
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