Sometimes it's OK to yell
I’m normally not the kind of person who yells a lot.
I don’t tend to get mad in fights, so much as I get exasperated. I never have those quippy, one-liners ready to go when some jerk makes a passing comment to me on the street. And often times, even when I’m a little miffed about something, I tend to just deal with it myself rather than make a scene.
But there are certain things that really set me off. And not getting enough sleep is one of them.
Yesterday I had a 6 a.m. flight to Toronto for a work trip, which meant I was up at 4.
Naturally, with my head full of things I needed to accomplish in the days ahead, I failed to sleep even more than three hours going into the morning. After a full day of meetings (starting with a 9 a.m. coffee and ending at 8 p.m. when I wrapped up a happy hour event), I was exhausted.
I had a quick meal, went back to my hotel and was ready to be “lights off” by 9 p.m.
And that’s when I heard it. A constant, loud swooshing sound coming from the street below. I remembered seeing construction workers on my way in to the hotel. The entire street was blocked, packed with 2-3 cranes and a couple of large devices that appeared to be digging deep into the Toronto street concrete. I assumed that they would be wrapping up for the day. Maybe that was not the case.
Just to cover all of my bases, I called down to the front desk to check.
“Excuse me, but when will the construction workers conclude for the day?”
“Ehhh…a little hard to say. Sometime between 9 and 10?”
I was floored. Clearly these were not New York City laws. But, exhausted as I was, I went to bed.
Later in the night I awoke with a start to what sounded like a repeated, intermittent drilling noise. Even from 10 floors up, it woke me from a deep sleep. I checked the clock: 11:58 p.m.
That was the last straw.
Still wearing my PJs pants, I put on shoes and a jacket and marched downstairs, out the door, and into the street.
"Hey!” I shouted, “Are you guys actually drilling right now?”
“No, we’re replacing a valve,” explained one of them.
I just shook my head.
“Do you realize that it’s midnight and you’re doing this literally 15 feet from the entrance of a hotel? There are people trying to sleep in here.”
“Sorry,” he said. “City orders.”
“How long will you be working on this project?”
“We should be wrapped up by about 7 a.m.”
"Are you kidding me?!" I scoffed out loud and threw up my arms as I turned to go back inside. “Unbelievable...”
Back in the hotel lobby, the front desk clerk greeted me on the way back in.
“Do you realize that these people on the street are keeping all of your guests up at night?”
He was just as non-committal as the workers outside. “Well we don’t really have control over that.”
“It’s just — you work at a hotel. I am paying you for one thing: To sleep. That very thing is getting interrupted by what’s happening outside, and I find that to be completely unacceptable. I’m sure I’m not the only one who can hear it — I’m 10 floors up. The least you can do as a courtesy is put something on your website to warn people about what’s happening.”
“I’m really sorry about that,” he mumbled.
I headed back upstairs and ended up using my noise-canceling headphones for the next hour or so,
It’s hard to say if any of that made any significant difference to either the construction workers or to the front desk associate. But I did note that the loud drilling sound didn’t continue after I visited the construction site. And at least I went back to sleep knowing that at least I gave a couple of folks a piece of my mind.
Most of the time, it’s annoying and unproductive to get on a tirade and yell about something. But maybe every once in awhile, it’s an OK thing to do.