By and large, I’ve had tremendous luck with hostel roommates (most notably in Milan with a trio of British bicyclists who pranced inside, moist and Spandex-ed, and proceeded to strip and otherwise strew their beautiful selves throughout the room). Sure, there were the disappointed-in-my-lack-of-Korean-skills sulkers and that one guy (not of the British set) who simply refused to put on a shirt, but no one homicidal, kleptomaniac, insane, or, most importantly, of that aurally offensive breed: the snorers. All luck ran out in hostel number three in Turin.

By way of context, I am the deepest sleeper this side of the Mississippi (I’m from Hawaii—no idea what that means, but it seemed idiomatically pertinent as I was self-awarding a useless accolade). As my blessed, infinitely indulgent circle of Skype study buddies can attest, I will not stir, even to 20+ wake up calls. This should qualify the magnitude of this snore heard round the world.

It was an airless summer night in Turin. I slumbered with my typical soundness, visions of Korean food dancing in my head. (Turns out, this girl really can’t live by bread alone—I need rice. Asian options in Italy are sparse to say the least, and often feature sketchy concoctions like “Japanese spaghetti, with bread.” Many also seem to own the pizzerias next door.) Then, as though from a great distance, I heard it—was that the sizzle of my phantom yakinku? Nay, it was a sort of tender growl, too crisp to be my stomach, and not unlike a zipper or the fitful spurts of a revving Weed Wacker. Whatever it was, the sound was remarkably unyielding, wrenching me ever away from my stone pots of spicy stews, thrusting my consciousness into bleak, carbo-loaded reality. Through the gloom of that unholy hour, I saw bodies stir on their respective bunks, groggily searching for the escaped pig in the room or the opening act of Armageddon.

It was a snore, but one the likes of which the world has never nor will ever hear again. The variations, the subtlety! There was the staccato flutter, like a broken fan, its lone bent blade rapping the metal casing in accelerated time. There was the sensuous inhale, its varied lengths suggesting a mercurial, Daisy Buchanan character. There was the barely audible wheeze—a mere smudge of a snore, like air escaping from a tire—which we all heard since we were up anyway. Finally, the deep, guttural snort, more animal than human. We lay, wide awake, in the presence of a master.

Eventually, the shirtless (and now pants-less, if my bleary, sleep-fogged eyes did not deceive me) Frenchman descended from the bunk above and cut the power behind our resident noise machine; he prodded the rumbling devil awake and politely suggested a reconfiguration of sleeping positions (if my increasingly spotty high school French did not deceive me). We all sunk back into oblivion, mine now tragically devoid of Korean noms.   

The Subtle Snorer was last modified: August 2nd, 2016 by Noel Lee