A lot of people glamourise the backpacker lifestyle. And yes, the parties the fun. The freedom is amazing. The sense of adventure is soul-cleansing. But there’s a darker side. You see sometimes, in certain places, you will have roommates. And sometimes those roommates will see fit to continue having loud conversations in their dorm beds until 3 am at night.
I do not know what they’re talking about, for I am not German. I would hope it was about something serious, like losing their passport or their dog dying. But from their tone and raucous giggling, I’m guessing it’s not so important that it needs to go on for four hours. It is 2 am now and, having already coughed, rustled my sheets around, and gotten up loudly and re-entered the room, I’m running out of options.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “Well, that’s just the price of sleeping in hostels!” But there is a sacred contract between hostel roommates, formed in the forges of civilisation when surplus young people needed something to do with their lives and invented backpacking. That contract is simple: “If there are other people in the room and it’s after midnight, shut the fuck up!” It was, in theory, a simple rule. And yes, its limits have been tested by people packing at 5 am and drunken shaggers, but in principle people have followed it. Until today.
The crisis began around 10 pm, when I was still recovering from a 13-night-long bender in my hostel bed. I was planning on getting some shut-eye, but then they came. I could hear their wheelie suitcases and Austrian twangs from down the hall, and prayed that it was not our door they chose. Alas, it was. At first I was sympathetic — after all, 10 pm was not late at all. Perhaps they had just arrived, or were planning to go out for the night. I scrolled through my phone ceaselessly, jumping between Facebook and Twitter but, because of being in a weird timezone, there were never new updates.
Around 12:30 pm the conversation showed no sign of stopping and had even become louder. Even worse, at no point did they drink or even do drugs — their behaviour could only be put down to having zero social skills. They did not even have the common courtesy to speak in a language I could understand and could eavesdrop on. They might as well be talking dolphin. It’s been nearly three hours, and me and my other (also annoyed but totally silent) roommates have decided it is time to act.
My only option is to press the nuclear button: to continue to do nothing and seethe silently until they shut up.
I’m sorry it had to come to this, but with nowhere left to run, a cornered dog must bite. Perhaps one day these strangers, and even God, will forgive me for taking this dire path. While it hangs heavy on my soul, angrily staring at the wall and saying nothing is the last action available to me.
All I hope is that they take the hint from my absolute lack of challenging them and go to the common area where they can talk as much irrelevant bullshit as they want.