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Living in a building of eight floors teaches you one thing above all: sound spreads in a very strange way.
Saturday morning.
I’m quiet in bed, and suddenly, I hear a deafening NOISE that seems to be coming from one corner of the room.
It stops after a few seconds.
Then it starts again, and this time it seems to come from the living room.
I go there, listening carefully, very carefully, and finally I have one certainty: it  comes from upstairs, exactly from the Bertaccini’s flat.

I hate them and I am happy to have a reason to quarrel.
Furious I leave my aparment, go up the stairs up to them but before I can knock on their door the noise, as if by magic, moves away.
Meanwhile the old maid who lives beside me opened her door, and now she’s looking at me curious as a cat.
Got a problem?” she asks, “I heard you open your door and I thought something might have happened”
People like her who say the expression “something happened” often mean “disgrace.”
She is an old and fat widow called by everyone in the building Nunziatina.

Aldo Moro Square (Latina): Where I grew up....Home Sweet Home. Photo by Alessio Casalvieri

 “No, nothing has happened” I answer crossing one’s finger (she is the classic Bird Of Ill Omen), “everithing is ok”
In an italian condominium the eyes that watch you are everywhere, especially behind your back.
And infact another neighbor, specifically the PENSIONER who lives in the flat next to my one, catches me in the act.
“What are you doing?” he roars to me with a tone of reproach, “Why you are crossing your fingers? Did you mean to say that talking to Nunziatina could bring you bad luck?”
Oh my god, no!” I respond, “Why do you think these kind of things?!”
He doesn’t answer me, and looking at both me and Nunziatina (who is obviously still not back in her apartment) questions: “Anyway, what ‘s wrong? I have heard you talking and I thought that something had Happened”
The pensioner is a curious conversationalist pretty aggressive, who would be able to keep me at the door for the rest of my life just to talk about his suppositions.
I’m frightened, so I decide to cut short immediately and confess: “I came out of my flat, because I heard a noise and wanted to understand where it came from”.

The aggressive Pensioner

Now the entire building has noticed me.
Directly from the sixth floor, enters the scene the woman who plays in the condominium the role of the “well informed“.
“The noise comes from the family on the first floor, they are restructuring their flat.”
“I don’t understand” I say to her, “why I can hear the noise in a such deafening way, if they are so far from us?”
This time it is the condominium administrator who answers the question, he arrives from the sixth floor.
‘It happens because the bricklayers are beating near the CAVITY WALL“.

It is a five people conversation: the administrator and the “well informed”, the pensioner, myself and the maid.

Attracted by the voices like sharks to blood, all the other owners come to us and ask: “What is happening? We heard you talking and we are alarmed”.
As the voices are now much higher than the noise, we are also achieved by the owner who is making the restructuring work.
“What is going on here?” asks the crowd.
Everyones look at me: “Mr. Roccia complained about the noise” they say.
“Really? and what would you have to say? ” he questions me.I am not intimidated and I answer: “In a condominium you can not do work on Saturday.”

“I know” says the administrator, “but in doing so the restructuration getting finished in a shorter time.”
The owner who lives on the first floor shares this stupid theory: “It is true. And also the most important thing to say, is that if the bricklayers work near the CAVITY WALL, is normal that we hear that noise!”
The entire building says “YES” nodding their heads, it’s logical, how can you discord when somebody talks about the cavity wall?

The administrator says: “From Monday nobody will no longer beat at that point, so you’ll not hear anything and you will be peaceful and serene.”
“Serene?!” exclaim the most alarmist of the widows group, “I don’t Know if it will be possible. Once the son of a person I know, has had a burst eardrum because of noises coming from CAvity wall“.

Nobody makes the case for a story so shamelessly invented.

Before he return in his apartment, the man of the first floor accuses me: “you have ruined my weekend!!”
Understanding that it is the end of the story, each one of the owners goes back to their own apartment.

When I rest alone I start to imagine me living in a villa, without other owners with whom to share noises.

But after I think better: living alone could be so boring!

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