Wednesday, January 11

Would You Be Mine? Could You Be Mine?

The following essay has been rated:

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For sexual content and dialogue. It's a CDP first, but this story is too good to pass up. I'll keep it as clean and/or tasteful as possible. Ready? Let's go.


We must have new neighbors.

As you may or may not know, me and the Missus live in an apartment. For my money, it's a pretty nice one at that. The location is beautiful, the maintenance staff and grounds crew are top-notch, and I haven't yet run into a neighbor that really bothered me (except for that stupid kid that pulled the fire alarm that one day; my cats were terrified). We've searched high and low for something better in Dane county, but until we can buy a house, we're quite pleased with our current selection.

On the brochure for our apartments, they go through the list of amenities and special features that they provide. One of the bullet points was 'soundproof walls.' Now, I didn't believe it when I read it, and it turns out I was right. If there's a ringing phone or a loud TV in the adjacent apartment, it floods my ears, regardless of where I am at my place.

I think you know what I'm starting to get at. I think we have new neighbors.

The presumably new neighbors in question share a bedroom wall with us. What I mean is, our bedrooms are separated by nothing more than a 4-inch slab of drywall and insulation. That's the only thing that's keeping our headboards from bumping up against each other, I figure. Well, we had lived here for 13 months without hearing so much as a peep from that side of the wall.

That all changed two weeks ago.

Me and the Missus were in bed; she was sleeping and I was watching some TV. It was 10:48pm, when all at once I heard what sounded like the cat trying to get in. Gabe has a habit of bellowing and rubbing his paws on the door in a feeble effort to gain entrance. I muted the TV for a closer listen.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't Gabe. The sound was coming from behind me through the wall, and it was speaking very clear english. Either that, or Gabe had learned to throw his voice and wail 'Oooh, yeah!' in a female tone at the top of his lungs, while presumably knocking things off of an unseen dresser.

At first, I didn't really accept what was going on. I un-muted the TV and settled back in. Most of us have been in situations like this before (some of you have to put up with it every night), but not me. This was altogether new and frightening to me. I chose to ignore it, but I couldn't, because it wouldn't stop. In fact, it got worse.

Giving in to curiosity, I figured that what the neighbors were doing was far more interesting than what Jay Leno was talking about, so I muted the TV again for only a minute. It's not like I really wanted to be voyeuristic about the matter, but they obviously didn't care about privacy at this point in time. In all honesty, I was pretty uncomfortable and squirmy about the whole thing, but I rubberneck at car accidents, too. From 10:48 to 11:55, I heard the neighbors getting their freak on.

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Now, think of me what you will, but as far as I'm concerned, 67+ minutes of conjugal bliss is a ridonkulously long amount of time. Had I known their names, I would have sent the guy a Commie Award, or at the very least an ice pack. Me? I need a power nap after I pay the bills, for God's sake, and now I have to contend with my standing theory that Sting is my new neighbor.

How this suddenly became my business truly troubled me. I was now a part of my neighbors' sex life, completely against my will. How could they do that to me? How could I escape it? How long would this go on? What did I ever do to them?

That's when it hit me. If I can hear them, then...well, you know.

Crap. This revelation sent me even further into a shame spiral. Not only was I already losing my mind over this matter, I just realized that we had been inviting the neighbors into our bedroom just as much as them, over the past who knows how long. My world was crumbling around me. My sanctuary was destroyed, and the privacy of both households was in jeopardy.

The next day, I didn't want to tell the Missus what had happened, but I had to. For all intents and purposes, this sort of thing happens in hundreds of millions of households the world over, and most people really don't care one way or the other about it. It's not like we know each other or anything. We've never met, and probably never will. For all we care, we can easily ignore the other's bedroom romps until one of us finally decides to move one day. Fair enough. Intimacy is an important, healthy and downright vital part of a relationship, and unless I could hear them killing someone over there, it was nothing I needed to get hung up over. The Missus echoed my sentiments ("I don't care what they hear!"), and I stopped freaking out.

At least, that's what I told her. In reality, I was really bothered by this. A couple of nights later, it was the same thing, only this time, I woke up to it at 1:30 in the morning on a Wednesday. Then, I heard them at 6:30 in the morning over the weekend. Just yesterday, I heard them at 4:30pm when I got home from work. What frightens me is that the Missus is always sleeping or out of the house when this happens. I'm starting to think that it's all in my head, which can't be healthy for my well-being in any regard. For all I know, that apartment over there is empty, and I'm just going crazy.

I stopped telling the Missus about it, for fear that she would think I was some sort of pervert, holding a glass to the wall whenever she fell asleep. Either that, or she would think I was completely off of my nut. In reality, I really did start to go off of my nut.

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I wanted it to stop, so I could get some decent sleep and not have to think about it. If you think it's hard to drift off to sleep when the TV's on, try doing it when your neighbors are slamming a headboard into your retaining wall, and remarking loudly about it. At its core, it was purely annoying. I wish I could tell you that I got some sort of giggling pleasure out of it, but really, I just wanted it over. As I said before, they tend to get it on at every hour of the day, so I'm never truly safe from their lustful clutches. I'd bang on the walls, but disrupting the lovin' isn't a cool and CDP-like thing to do.


As you can tell, this really started to take its toll on me (unhealthily so). I started dreaming about it; altering my already awful sleep schedule around it. It was invading me. I was trying to figure out why this was bothering me so damn much, and things started to make sense after the 4th bleary-eyed night. It had to do with the sweeping concept of pride, privacy and shame.

I have a co-worker friend who protested the Vietnam war in the 70's. He smokes a lot of weed, wears courduroy and doesn't shave. Every so often, he takes a week's vacation and heads out of state. Where does he go? "I'll know when I get there, buddy. I'll know when I get there." Last time, he ended up in New York City, where he conversed with a Tibetan Monk. When I was leaving for Toronto last year, his only word of advice was; "You gotta go downtown, the whores are beautiful there." This guy does whatever the hell he wants, and it drives me absolutely insane.

I'm not that type. When I leave my house, I have a destination in mind and directions in the glove compartment. If I don't shave, I feel like a bum and I'm cranky all day. Drug use and prostitution aren't real high on my priority list. Yet, I respect the guy because he's not a fraud. Even though I would never want to live the way he lives, I can't help but look up to the guy because he's doing something that I can't do. It's brave to hit the world head-on, and refuse to live by anyone's rules. I thought I was doing that as a teenager, but I value structure far too much to be an anarchist. Anarchy is a pipe dream; Communism is where it's at.

Those neighbors didn't care one bit who was listening, because they loved each other and weren't afraid to let go every once in a while. I, on the other hand, realized that my bedroom was no longer private, and shut down faster than a drunk on payday. I was actually envious that these people didn't care, because that was something I could never do. I can assure you, there hasn't been so much as a peep from our side of the wall since this whole business started. I always considered myself an open and honest subject, but at my core I'm a real selfish being. "Give me it, it's mine!" "You can't have it, you'll just break it!"

The Missus thinks it's funny that I'm acting this way. She thinks I should just get over it already and fight fire with fire, but I can't get over it for some reason. It's because I'm hopelessly insecure. These nameless, faceless neighbors have done absolutely nothing wrong, and yet they've made me question my insecurities and inequities, simply because they do what I cannot. They've made me feel bad about myself, even though I really have no reason to.

Why? It doesn't matter why; guys are weird like that. I'll get over it, but until then, I'm wearing earmuffs to bed and taking extra-cold showers.

This might be it. I may have finally lost it. More information as I hear it through the walls.

(Update: This post was written over two weeks ago by yours truly. I'm feeling much better now. I appreciate the prayers and supportive e-mails; we can get through this tragedy together.)

(Update Update: I don't have to tell you that LOST makes its' triumphant return tonight, with a 2-hour event. I'll talk to you again on Lost Friday. Until then, tell me what you think in the comments section.)

At my old apartment we'd have problems like this. Only we did know them, and that made it worse.

But it was funnier when they were drunk and arguing. I believe I've told some of you the story:

"You're full of shit, Dan!"

"...YOU are!"

"No, you are!"

"I didn't do anything!"

"Yes you did! You're so full of shit!"

"You are!"

Repeat for an hour or so. And keep in mind this "Dan" fellow has a deep, raspy voice that's pretty funny on its own, much less when he's trashed and shouting 'you are.'
I used to live in an apartment and I had a loft bed, so I slept with my face about 12" from the ceiling. I used to hear the neighbors upstairs a bit just walking around and stuff. One night, though, they were obviously in some sort of fight because there was stomping and doors slamming. Not long after that, right about 1am, I was treated to one hour of "I didn't f*&^in' cheat on you!" yelled into a phone over and over, in the worst redneck hick Jerry-Springer-guest accent you can imagine. They eventually got kicked out for noise complaints and partiers at their place leaving trash in front of the building.

The next upstairs neighbors were much more subdued, and I was treated several times to my neighbor singing that "we were only freshmen" song that was a radio hit for a while (and out of date by the time he karaoke'd it). I think he was practicing because he did it over and over.

I'm excited about Lost tonight. 24 starts next week, though I'm guessing you're not as excited about that as I am.
See, I knew that we could come together as one and talk about this. For a bit, I was certain that I had freaked everyone out just enough not to comment.

Aaron, that 'Dan' argument is hilarious. You know I laugh everytime you tell me, because I can imagine it in my head. So many times have I been subject to drunken screaming matches.

Paste, that's a post in itself. Evesdropping on arguments is something I can handle much better than other certain things. When I hear people fighting, it makes me feel better, because I'm not fighting. I can sleep right through that stuff.

Ahhh, 'The Freshman' by the Verve Pipe. Well, at least they picked a somewhat pleasant song to butcher over and over. Other suggestions could have been 'Closing Time' by Semisonic or 'Breakfast at Tiffanys' by Deep Blue Something.

TWO HOURS of LOST tonight. The first hour is a recap, the second hour is all new. I saw Evengeline Lilly on Regis & Kelly this morning, and she said that would find out that the "Security System" is tonight. I wet the couch. Regis still thinks it's a dinosaur.

"I like dinosaurs. I mean, I'm not a dinosaur."

One of my friends said that one time. I don't quite remember the context, but I don't think it matters.
Just because you like something doesn't mean you have to be that something. Words of wisdom from yours truly.

What's your favorite dinosaur? I appreciate the gentle-giant herbivore qualities of the Bronto, but that Stego was pretty bad-ass.

If I asked my uncle John this question, he'd scold me for 50 minutes on how dinosaurs never existed, and invite me to a children's dinosaur book burning.

Fact or fiction, dinosaurs are cool.
Exactly. When I was a kid I used to love dinosaurs, then I kind of grew out of it. Now I think I like dinosaurs again.
Whenever I'm around someone who does something tricky or ingenius, I like to say "Clever girl...", that line from Jurassic Park when the one dinosaur distracts the guy while the other two circle around and get him from the sides.
Yeah, you gotta do that accent, too.

'Clevah gaaahl.'

I usually shout 'Brilliant!' like the Guinness ads. Nobody gets it, nobody cares, and nobody laughs. I think I'll start using the Jurassic Park line, as well.
Guiness ad, what in the hell are you talking about.

Yeah, the accent is key, I meant to note that in brackets before the quote.
Holy crap -

I thought I was the only one who walks around muttering "clever girl" under my breath. I also use the "Shoot her! Shooooot herrrrrr!!!" from the opening scene.

Well then.

I feel with you about the neighbors, though. I think for me it's less about feeling bad about myself and more of the "oogy" factor. And what's more, the thoughts of "How in the crap can they NOT CARE THAT WE CAN HEAR THEM?!?!?" totally cripples my mind. I mean in the crap can someone not care that I can hear them humping one out??! Gaahh!
I'm assuming that your not knowing of the Guinness ads was a clever sarcastic jab at my statements on the matter. Brilliant!

In previous days, the conflicting feelings have completely disintegrated in favor of said 'oogy' factor. It's none of my business, yet it becomes my business regardless.

Had I thought for one tiny second that my side of the apartment was disturbing anyone, I would have lined the place in that sweet eggcrate foam you see in recording studios. It's worth giving up my security deposit to live in soundproofed bliss.

That tears it. I'm buying a house.

On a side note, BEST LOST EVER. I cannot wait to talk about it.
Anything that you are going through cannot be worse than hearing your ex-husband and his new wife doing the wild thing in the bed and breakfast on the night of your son's wedding. I wish you would tell me it was you so I wasn't so pissed off about it STILL!
I bet most social problems in the world can be traced back to thin walls. When that guy went postal and started a shooting spree because the voices in his head told him to do it. I bet it was just his neighbors up late at night.

In college I had two giggle girls in the next room and, as I learned throughout the year, giggly girls have giggly friends and they like to stay up late and, well, you know...

I now know what a gang of monkeys would sound like if they fought a pack of hyenas.
To quote Dwight on The Office... "Woah... These babies are thiinnnn."

He also had some line about "hearing the other dead people," but I can't remember exactly how that went.
In doing my best to preserve the sanctity of my wedding night, I'll say that it was us making the noise just so you feel better. There you go.

Thin walls are the source of, and answer to, all of my problems. Honestly, I used to think I was slowly going crazy; now I know I just have crazy neighbors.

It would be funny if those 'giggle girls' whispered things through the walls, like 'kill your boss,' or 'yvan eht nioj.'

New Office/Earl on tonight! Now that they switched the lineup, each night gives me something grand to look forward to, to take my mind off of all the other productive things I could be doing. USA! USA!
One of my friends thought his roommate was watching too much TV, so he put a hammer through it. That was the most badass story ever, until I recently found out that he hit the back of the TV, and not the front. And the TV still worked afterwards.

But I like the other version better, where he destroys the TV while his roommate looks on in horror.
Yeah. I imagine this guy screaming in anguish, storming into the living room with said hammer, and going completely orrff on the TV set. For a minute, the roommate would think he was going to kill him, and then become much more distraught when he destroys the telly.
Oh, and the roommate was also upset because he used his(the roommate's) good hammer to smash it.
I don't let anyone use my good hammer. It's in a trophy case with my good level and good tape measure.

Seriously though, my good hammer is really cool. My secondary hammer works wonders, but the first-string hammer is really something special.
You've got weird friends.

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