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Enter: The Snorer

"When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions."
-William Shakespeare, Hamlet

So, first all my friends flee the country, getting spread to the four winds and leaving me on my own. Then...

It's amazing how one seemingly minor thing, never before even considered a problem, can color and sour your life so quickly. For example, the introduction of Glen, a rotund effeminate Australian hair-dresser, with more than a passing resemblance to Vincent D'Onofrio as Private Gomer Pyle in Full Metal Jacket. He also has a respitory problem that gives him an inhuman snore.

Glen is the worst snorer I've ever heard. It rattles the entire bed so I can't get to sleep. It sounds like trucks downshifting on the highway, like tectonic plates grinding against each other, like dinosaurs munching on their prey. It's not regular, either. He's got this wheezy gasping intake of air that remind one of what it must have felt like to be one of the three little pigs, listening to the big bad wolf outside their house. Then, there's a pause, a silent space of about ten seconds where he goes so long without breathe that you'd start to worry about him if you didn't want him to stop breathing permanently. The hopeful wait is finally ended when the breath is let loose into something especially damaging and awful: a long percussive series of growling explosions like an organic shotgun blast, like the bastard child of a T. Rex mated with a string of firecrackers.

On top of that, Glen had a bit of a smelling problem. To be precise, he had considerable B.O. combined with a tendency to put on incompatible deodorant, lotion, cologne, and shampoo, all of which combined into a miasma of odd smells. Since my bunk was above his (I can't precisely say I slept above him), the complicated mix of odors would waft up around the sides of the bed the moment he went to bed.

He was one of those blest with the wonderful ability to fall asleep the instant his head hit the pillow. And, as a perfect example of Murphy's Law in action, as the loudest sleeper in existence he is also the first in bed. Within five minutes of his entrance into the room, after applying layers of cloying lotion and climbing into bed, it would start. Not even earplugs and my pillow wrapped around my head were enough to drown him out; the sound was just conducted right through the frame of our bunk-bed. For awhile, I seriously considered trying to mute him with my pillow the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest way: holding it over his face until he stopped squirming. But in the end I didn't. Too many witnesses, and people would instantly know it was me. It had the stamp of my particular brand of perversity and short temper.

Hejira seemed the only response: a flight from an undesirable place.

To put it simply, I left the room. First, it was a temporary thing; sleeping in the Cave on the couch or in the T.V. room. But then my anger at Glen started building towards a crescendo. The more days I spent outside of my own bed, getting to bed late because I had to wait for the Cave or the T.V. room to empty, getting up late to work without having had enough sleep, the more concerned I felt that I was going to explode at Glen any moment, either start harassing him about his snoring, or, more likely, start screaming abuse and profanity at him.

Perhaps my biggest concern was, if I were to snap and start hurling abuse at him, it would probably include fair amounts of garden variety profanity (fucking asshole prick bastard shit-head), and probably a sprinkling of profanity specifically geared for him, packed with everything nasty I could think of for him: "filthy little malodorous snoring faggot!" which would give me a reputation for being a homophobe--something I don't consider myself.

This is the worst thing about the era of political correctness: it has made it impossible to use certain epithets without them being taken as the root cause of your "hate." It's now impossible for people to consider your dislike for someone as legimiate and rational if you abuse them with anything but the most general language. "Asshole," "fuckwit," "motherfucker," "son of a bitch," these terms are all technically okay, but call someone sexually or racially loaded, and you've now become a prejudiced ignorant racist.

All the most effective ways of expressing your dislike for someone have become verboten. Which is crap. Just because you use an effective piece of profanity that you know is going to wound someone horribly doesn't mean that you hate them for ill-begotten reasons.

It's depressing for those of us who came by our misanthropy the old-fashioned way: by meeting people and talking to them.

So, rather than have this confrontation that could be dangerous to my reputation as an easy-going accepting guy (which I probably never had in the first place), I did the passive-aggressive thing. I moved out. Went downstairs to a new room where a space had just opened up. I think I made the right decision, but it irritates me that I was forced to abandon the room that had been my home for three months and had a lot of good memories of my Room K friends. But it was either that, or throwing myself at Glen, wrapping my hands around his neck, and squeezing until my palms met.


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This page last updated on 1 February, 2002, but it hasn't kept me up any.
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