His father, whose name was Aaron, named him Zachary because it was the name he would have liked to have. He was offering Zach the uncertainty of whether he would be called on first or last because with the family name being Adams, he had hated always being called on first regardless of whether the names were sorted by first or last. This led Zach to attaching characteristics to the different types of sorters.
The one sentence version of the sorter profiles said that a last-name sorter would be more pedantic than a first-name sorter who would be pushing a friendly familiarity that the random order person abhorred because it implied a favouritism that went against his notion of fairness. Zach never did find an archetype to assign to the reverse-order sorter.
“The digital world is pedantic! And who is getting bothered by the guy looking for a random to let him in? Fucking digital intercoms!” It did not feel like it was the right time to ask what his first name had to do with his getting woken up at 8:00 AM. and the story had its charm.
Alice, seated to the right of Zach, decided to continue with her tale of neighbourly sleep disturbances. As she starts her complaint, her eyebrows, symmetrical arches, trimmed and perfectly plucked, move closer together in a visual mood-setting preamble. About twice a year the neighbours will have a party that will go until 4:00 AM. “They are probably around 40 years-old, and here they are singing, shouting and making noise as if they were still students.” She wishes she had been the one with the guts to yell “Shut the fuck up!”
The first time I had heard the story I had countered with my old neighbours. Their parties were every three to four months. Some I would find out about when my neighbours complained. I thought the frequency was reasonable. Then again, I was able to sleep through it all and would only notice the parties if I was still awake after the alcohol increased the volume.
Today I go with the story of my first night on my first stop, Montpellier, of my tour of southern France. With the exception of one architectural monstrosity of a neighbourhood that is a failed attempt at marrying the modern with the Greek, I like the city.
I had chosen a weekday visit to get a feeling for everyday life, day and night, in the city. A few pints later and I am telling the bed in my hotel room that this is a vibrant place.
You don’t get a/c at these prices. I open the windows and close the shutters. I lay on the bed to unwind and start unbuttoning my shirt.
Two buttons and a few seconds (minutes?) of shut eyes later, I am wondering why the television is talking French; if I turn on a background noise, it has to be in English. It takes me three more buttons to work out that it is the neighbour’s TV flickering through the shutters.
I hear a child complaining it is too hot to sleep. The mother tells it too drink some water and go back to bed.
Sometime later (somehow, I have gotten myself under the sheet and my trousers are hanging off the back of the desk chair), I wake up to one side of a conversation about poor Lynn. “That is what you get when you get what you want.” Soap opera lives leading to small wisdoms.
I imagine a 1950’s style red-brick tenement building, as cleaned up by Hollywood, with laundry hanging across the courtyard, radio stations blaring, mamas gossiping through open windows. The village square laid out vertically. Who needs sheep? And no counting needed.
The bit about me telling the bed that Montpellier is a vibrant city reminds Barbara to ask about what happened at the party last Saturday.