“Have you slept well?” people ask me when I stay in their homes during my research weeks in Buenos Aires. I usually sleep on couches or futons, sometimes I am lucky enough to get an actual bed with a very old mattress. I have always responded I slept well, that I woke in middle of the night because of a bad dream (and hence I conceal my backache).
Yet, worse than the old pillows and uncomfortable sofas is noise. The next door old lady’s TV loud enough you can actually guess what channel she is on, the car horns from the busy street (although this apartment does not face the street), the garbage truck which announces it is coming with its roaring engine and screeching brakes, little dogs with high-pitched barks,and the elevators form this building, all so chatty one cannot imagine when was the last time you heard silence. This is what keeps me from sleeping because I am not used to all these noises.
Last night was the first night I slept: I did not feel the hard futon against my imploring back, the pillows embraced my head like a mother holds her baby, and the noises were far, in a different world. Last night I did not have a nightmare. Life’s good. Did I get used to Buenos Aires’ noises (again)? When you get used to something you don’t like, does it mean you accept it as “normal”?