When Interruption Looms

posted in: Uncategorized | 41

June 28th, 2011


I’ve developed this habit of searching for life lessons. It seems to be useful when little nuggets of wisdom can be extracted, but sometimes I grasp and grasp and still end up with nothing good.


I’ve also found that there are a few of you smart folks out there that engage with me through these writings. So I guess I’m turning to you. Help me, please.


You all know my living set up by now. Well since last week, the highway right outside my place has been under construction. Except, it’s only during the hours of 2am-4am. Really.


And this isn’t your regular run-of-the-mill road work either. I’m talking 6 trucks and 3 concrete saws cutting lines in the highway. I’m not even sure the purpose. Now I realize that reading this doesn’t do any justice, but I have taken a  video if that would be worth uploading. It is absurdly loud. Concrete saws already have the highest shrill, but three of them going straight for 2-3 hours is just plain awful. Even with earplugs and music playing, it can still be heard. Truly, it’s that loud.


Slumber with a key won’t help me here. There is likely no relief. Just grit those teeth and bear it. That, and let my eardrums bleed. So what do you do what interruption looms? I can expect that from 2am-4am, I will be awoken and sleep will be unavailable. Judging from their slow pace, it’ll be a at least another week of this… The anticipation alone is enough to damn near kill a man.



Perhaps life is just randomly rewarding and randomly penalizing. I don’t know. But I’d at least like to try to get something out of these paragraphs of life. Thanks ahead of time for your thoughts and wisdom.


The above image is a snap I shot while in Colombia. Perhaps going shoeless is their way of being a bit more discreet in roadside maintenance.


41 Responses

  1. The bags under my eyes are getting bigger and bigger. It truly is unbearable, even with earplugs and a suffocating pillow. I really enjoy my sleep and I am getting very frustrated that they are ruining it. :)It’s time for the music… and the sleeping pills.

    “Perhaps life is just randomly rewarding and randomly penalizing.” I think this quote can also go along with the “when it rains it pours” saying. Right when the family has left and we have peace just you and me, they decide to re-do the highway! Sheeeeesh!

    Let’s drink 2 bottles of wine and see if that helps! 🙂

  2. Take it from two guys who – often to our own detriment – will find meaning in the the most insubstantial of situations (Where out of peanut butter?! What does it all mean!?), sometimes it don’t mean a thing.

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes construction is just f’ing annoying.

    When we were doing an extended volunteer stint in Quito, we lived right below an apartment full of midnight soccer fans, high heel wearing teenage girls and drink-til-you-puke partiers. We would get home emotionally drained and just CRAVE sleep. Alas, no rest for the weary. It was awful. But it passed. And now it verges on humorous.

    Remember the words of the prophet Woody Allen: Tragedy + Time = Comedy.

    In the short term, wine and ambien.

    • > WE’RE out of peanut butter.

      I misspelled a word! What does it mean? 🙂

    • Caanan your wisdom is perfect. Your peanut butter bit reminded me of a situation I found myself in when I actually ran out of peanut butter in Nicaragua on a remote beach with little food options…

      What does it all mean?!!!

      I appreciate you are on the same page as me here.

  3. In Brazil, the most bizarre loud things happen at the most inopportune times. We have gone on “staycations” to hotels that we can’t afford–the kind diplomats and dignitaries stay during the week. (Serendipitously, hotel prices crash during the weekend).

    Sometimes the life of a radical has hiccups–the Suburb doesn’t like pseudo-BoHo–but you persevere. Sometimes you bow out, go to a hotel for a little honeymoon, sleep well, and stay under the radar.


    Let’s go to Claire’s in Cedros some morning when you’ve survived your Great Drilling.

    • Somehow we managed through the night… I’m hoping it will soon pass. The anxiety of knowing the noise is coming is rough, but its nothing like the relief of 4am rolling around!

      Oh, and I think a run up to Claire’s sounds good.

  4. Jackie Rose (@letssitoutside)

    Let the noise overwhelm and trust that it will pass.

    That is something my meditation teacher, @HarshadaWagner, told me one night when I wrote to him in a panic. I had just endured a seventh operation on my arm and as I settled down to sleep, I felt the pain in my wrist begin to build. Anticipating it worsening, I reached out to Harshada and asked him what to do. The line above was his response.

    It was scary. I was kind of pissed at Harshada for a bit but I knew he was right, that it would pass…and it did!

    You can choose to fight for a few hours when the noise comes or you can choose to go with it, to be open to it and maybe even dance to it. You can also choose to sleep somewhere else for a few nights!

    Hope this helped.

    • Jackie, this is a gem! I actually tried doing this the first night, and honestly I was close to finding peace. But then the sounds stop, and I’d find relief only to have it all start up again.

      But I will choose to dance with it 🙂

  5. Monica Schrock

    oh geez! That’s awful. 🙁

    In college, I lived in a dorm and they were building a new dorm RIGHT NEXT DOOR to my room. They started at about 3 am and went all day.

    I bought this noise machine and turned the rain setting up really loud, it doubled as my alarm clock. It helped a lot.

    Hope you guys get a good night sleep soon!

    Monica a.k.a. Low Impact Betty

    • Good call on the white noise idea. I used to enjoy the rain sounds. We used a fan last night, right next to our heads. Coupled with earplugs and music readily available, we just may weather this storm. Now I just need a life lesson here 🙂

  6. Todd | Channelingmyself

    Hi Dave,

    You don’t have many choices that I can see. Either you have to deal with it till the work is done, stay somewhere else, or possibly change your sleeping habits till the work is done.

    I work midnights so I know what you are going through. This kind of thing happens during the day all the time and I constantly am being woke up. Now I just walk around like a zombie, guess I’m getting used to it.

    The good news is that you are probably being physically and mentally prepared for a bundle of joy in the future 🙂 Ah yes all those night time feedings. Haha just messing with you.

  7. I don’t know that I’m going to be much help. I’m a “loud noise” sleeper.

    Every night I have a ritual. I make sure ALL little lights are turned off. Even if it’s just a little blue button on a cell phone or computer – I cover it up with a shirt or blanket. I like my room to be as dark as possible. Call me a bat. I like it.

    The second thing I do is I turn on a “white noise for deep sleep” loop on my iTunes. It’s obnoxious. Really. But I’ve found if I don’t – I can lay in my bed for hours, with too many thoughts, and I won’t get much sleep at all.

    The white noise is really loud. Terribly loud. So much so that sometimes a family member will wake up in an adjacent room due to the noise. But it works wonders for me. It keeps me sleeping – well and deep.

    That’s just how I sleep. It doesn’t work for everyone.

    • Crazy how your white noise is peace for you, but agony for others. I wonder if there is someone out there that enjoys the road construction sounds. Perhaps it reminds them of a family member they love or the good ole days of construction. Am I reaching here?

      • Hhhm, that would certainly be rather interesting. And yes, you’re reaching.

        Did you just call my sweet white noise agony? 😉

        • Hahah. Thanks for holding me down. I’d hate to get too far ahead of myself.

          I’m just saying some family members of yours must take it as agony… oh and yes. Me too. But then again, I can sleep anytime anywhere. Just keep away the concrete saws!

  8. Hey David,

    I see it as a blessing.

    You could be able to write awesome posts like this from 2am-4am if you’re awake enough.

    Then timestamp it to publish whenever.

    Then you could sleep in a couple of hours to offset that and it wouldn’t be so bad!

    But yeah…that’s Caltrans for you.

    • Okay Matt, I’ll dedicate my next post to you if it happens to be done between 2am-4am!

  9. Philipp Knoll

    Hey David,

    We had a similar experience a few years back. In our case it was not as loud but than on the other hand it lasted a whole summer. We were not able to open any window all summer long for the noise and the dirt in the air.

    Embrace the moment and make the most out of it – somewhere else. Really – take an unscheduled trip to somewhere quite. Spend a week in the mountains, take a roadtrip or get a plane ticket and discover Europe.

    Thanks for the fun way of linking to my site!

    • Philipp, I think a trip to Europe is just the right thing to do! 🙂

      I’m not sure I’d be so patient with a summer of closed windows and noisy construction. As much as I enjoy working and building, I really enjoy the break from it all!

  10. Baker Lawley

    Hey David, sounds like you’re having fun out there!

    Man, sometimes things just don’t mean much. I think a lot about how we have amnesia for selected things we have to live through–for me, I hate being stuck in traffic (which happens a lot, something I’m trying to redesign my life to avoid), and we live through winters where it gets to -40 degrees pretty often. But in both cases, once we’re through it, we kind of forget it. With the traffic, it goes away about one minute after I walk in the door. And in the summer, it seems unfathomable that it was actually -40. We have amnesia for the horrible things, if we’re lucky.

    So, while this may suck for this week, you probably won’t remember it next year, next month, next week.

    Of course, this doesn’t help you sleep tonight… May I suggest whiskey for that?

    • Baker, I’m from Chicago so your words resonate with me well. I was always amazed at how we complained in the summer and then again in the winter. Over and over.

      Perhaps this is a reminder that life isn’t that serious and soon my amnesia will take care of the rest! 🙂

      A wise man once told me a Woody Allen quote (see above): Tragedy + Time = Comedy

      As for some whiskey, you know that’s right!

  11. So in college I had a roommate who snored for 3 years, and not having much patience for certain sounds, snoring being high on that list, I can really sympathize with you on this one.

    I like Baker’s advice that the bad things aren’t really that memorable tomorrow, but as for today, I might use it as an opportunity to shake things up.

    Now, those really are probably the hardest 2 hours to plan to be awake for because its just far enough from staying up late and just too early for waking up for, but something can certainly be said for experiencing the world at different times.

    I’ve read countless stories of people talking of the serenity of the early hours of the morning (lot of people talk about writing in these hours)

    So maybe if you can’t sleep, don’t. Mix it up. Experience a knew perspective of the night.


    • Chris, in theory, I’d like to try your advice on experiencing a new perspective of the night. However, by 4am I am itching for sleep. Then again, I’ve found that a loud fan, some music and earplugs can do the trick. So for now, I sleep again!

  12. I have no life lesson to offer here. Except that I feel your pain. They have been working on the highway right outside our window since we moved in 16 months ago. They’re not always here working, but they leave their stuff everywhere. It’s an eyesore and when they do show up it’s an ear sore and there’s never any rhyme or reason to it. And I don’t know that they’re even doing. I have seen only the tiniest bit of progress towards maybe widening the highway?

    My life lesson to offer is that fixing road that aren’t broken is a stupid way for the govt to create jobs. Can’t they find something quiet and pointless for people to do?

  13. There has been a great deal of wisdom shared here. What a fabulous group of cool people who have gathered here in this circle of your blog! Love it!

    So, some ideas…

    *Meg could lead you both in some relaxing 2 a.m. yoga sessions
    *Go to bed earlier and then get up at 2 a.m. like you planned it. (I have been doing this often except at around 3:30. I get A LOT done)
    *Find out where the guy who is in charge of the decision to do road work at 2 a.m. lives and blast some rock tunes outside his house. :0
    *Realize that it just is, as others have said. Acceptance of what is…is a gift.

    And I happen to like the wine idea the best!!

    • I agree with Liane! You have an awesome community here and something that I definitely want on my blog. 🙂 So, I will check out all the links of your friends since the way you link things in your entries is really nice. And thanks for mentioning me and I like my word ‘out’. 😀

      OK. Advice… It reminds me of that one commercial with the same thing. That commercial makes me laugh. So just try to shrug it off as something funny. Funny haha.

      You COULD try insulating your place more to sort of sound proof it? I’m thinking mattresses around the wall? I’m not sure exactly because I’m not a sound engineer and my musician days are over but that’s what bands do with their practice rooms to minimize the noise for neighbors. So maybe it would minimize outside noise too?

      And taking a trip is a great excuse to travel. Go for it!! You’re almost bohemian! 😉

    • Liane, thanks for the good ideas! I think the work has finally finished, but I am almost interested to see what I can get done now that the challenge has presented itself.

      And Janet, I am glad we have such a great crew of people connecting around here. You know my heart well! Any excuse to travel!

  14. Maybe you should work or write during those hours. Then take and afternoon siesta. Maybe resistance will only make it worse. I’ve read that most writers and artists have their strongest creative moments from 11pm -6am. Maybe it’s a gift? 😉

    • Marlee, you present a good challenge! I just may have to see what I can do during those hours. But oh the sleep is so sweet too!

  15. Laura M. | smash your t.v. and have adventures

    I’m late coming to this post, and I haven’t read the other comments, but have you thought about sleeping with soft, soothing music? Some nights, I plug my headphones in my ears and fall asleep to Air. It’s the only album I’ve fallen asleep to in the past ten years, and I never tire of it.

    Another way is to shift your mindset. Welcome the interruption. Allow the noise to lull you to sleep or use the period of awakeness to write and be creative.

    Fortunately, I’m hard of hearing. So loud noises don’t really wake me up. 😀

    • Laura M. | smash your t.v. and have adventures

      Gah. I forgot to close the link.

    • Laura, with that sort of linking, I am certain to click it! 🙂

      The music thing is a good one. Somehow the whirring fan has been good to sleep to, so that helps. But I’m all for finding new music too! 🙂

  16. That really sucks. I know what it’s like to be regularly woken up in the middle of the night like this. I was awakened in the middle of the night from an alarm going off in a coffee shop across the street every night for about a week. It’s annoying and frustrating. I couldn’t do much about it though.

    Some options would be to take sleeping pills and hope that those keep you under. Another would be to go to bed early and just be awake for those hours. I’ve done that before. It’s not the greatest plan, but still works for the most part.

    You could also consider talking to the construction team and let them know how disruptive they are.

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