In true form, please enjoy this post I started months ago and only just finished last week. Suspend reality and pretend I still live in San Francisco for the following 15 minutes:
How much do you know about your neighbors? How did you come to know this information? If you happen to live in baby-sized room with paper thin walls like I do, the answers to these questions are first: too much, and second: reluctantly and unintentionally.
I might as well share a room with my neighbor because that is how much I hear of her comings and goings. I know that she and her boyfriend like to get brunch together and spend unending minutes on speakerphone discussing potential brunch locations and who of their friends they have texted or need to text about said brunch. I know that he puts his dirty clothes in her hamper and that sometimes SHE IRONS THEM FOR HIM. I know that her hook up playlist includes Ed Sheeran, Marvin Gaye, and Sam Smith (could you be any more predictable?). And I know, most TMI of all, that they don't have sex. How do I know this? Because I can hear them talk, sing along to top 40 music, AND EVEN KISS, so if they were having sex, I would definitely fucking know. I would probably be the third person to know, right after she and him.
How do I feel about having this information? Terribly. Mainly because it keeps me awake at night listening to what I can only describe as sitting in on a conversation between Sims. It's loud enough to know that they are talking, but not always loud enough to hear the details.
Because of my unique (read: abysmal insulation) situation, I've been privy to the complete, and tragically basic story arc of their relationship. There was a time, months ago, before I entered my white noise machine era, during which we both inhabited our rooms singly and silently. What an incredible time this was! Sure, we would make awkward eye contact through our kitchen windows and occasionally I would hear her yell to her roommate about what bar they were going to later, but that all paled in comparison to when the boyfriend started coming over.
The first boyfriend signs were the terrible white rose bouquets that would mysteriously arrive and sit on her kitchen counter (and also the first sign that he was a complete chump. Everyone knows white roses are tacky and if you don't, you do now and never forget it). Then sometimes, I would look through my kitchen window and see a shirtless boy. Like...why? Can you not just put on a shirt when you wash your dishes? It's not hard. In fact, I know it's not hard because I always wear a shirt when washing my dishes, dude.
Shortly after the shirtless boyfriend sightings became a norm, they were spending hours in bed talking late into the night. Every night. And thus a great and terrible fury started brewing within me. I am demon serpent queen when I am not getting the hours of sleep that I like to get (shoutout to roommate Nicole who can corroborate that I have put the fear of god into her when disturbed from sleep) and nothing nurtured my sleepless demon serpent queen like the newly-coupled roommate sleeping (or more likely chatting) on the other side of my bedroom wall.
There was a fateful day when I thought perhaps she was finally going to do the deed with the shirtless dishwasher aka her boyfriend. Since our apartments are mirror layouts of each other, our kitchen looks into their kitchen, same with the living room and the frosted bathroom window in the shower. A 6-foot-wide glorified air shaft is the only thing that really separates our living areas. I came home to see that she was fervently cooking, which I knew because the windows were especially steamy and I heard the fire alarm go off twice (telltale signs of a basic bitch who doesn't know to properly ventilate the kitchen). There were also like a dozen white pillar candles lit all around. Which seems a) like a cliche and b) a fire hazard, but whatever. THEN the boyfriend arrived with another goddamn bouquet of white roses! And I was like, man tonight is THE NIGHT. Finally she's gonna use this Marvin Gaye playlist to do what it was intended to do. And my next thought was to immediately be concerned for myself. Because listening to people talk through a wall all the time is one thing, but listening to them having sex would be another. I was already imagining a darker, more sleepless future ahead and appropriately planning some drastic actions.
BUT, no drastic action was taken, because according to my ears no funny business took place that night. And maybe I should have predicted that this night wasn't so different than any other because I later googled it and white roses are a sign of purity and innocence (very telling). Red roses would have meant something serious. But white roses, those mean status quo for roommate #1. I did still have to listen to them talk for two hours laying in bed, though. No rest for the wicked (me, the serpent sleep demon)
As if the fiery resentment that was building within me for roommate #1 was not adequate, during this time she acquired a new, nameless basic roommate #2 who was essentially a sex maniac (the irony does not escape me). I only say this because I heard her having sex no fewer than three times, which probably does not qualify as mania, but this is my story so I'm allowed to exaggerate. The defining moment of my nonexistent neighbor relationship with roommate #2 was when I saw her having sex in the shower.
I only realized there was something wild happening once I had already committed to what I thought would be a peaceful, solitary pee in my own bathroom. And then I heard a lot of very indicative sounds, and turning to my right, through the two-inch gap of open window in our bathroom, I saw roommate #2 in a way I wish I could unsee. Having a fight or flight response while being in the bathroom is not my most treasured memory. First, I ducked, while sitting on the toilet, lest they see that I was seeing them. And then I was like, why am I the one trying to hide?! Can you not leave your bathroom window WIDE OPEN? Jesus H. Christ! You guys and your reverse voyeurism!
I will spare you further details because I don't really have them seeing as I left the bathroom in a hurry and tried (unsuccessfully) to find the most soundproof part of our apartment, but please know that immediately after they were done having sex, she began singing to Rihanna to him while they continued to be in the shower. And that is undeniably weird.
I wish I could say that this all came to a dramatic culmination of me calling both of them out and telling them to shut the hell up. Believe me, I spent a lot of time laying awake in the dark around midnight imagining all sorts of dramatic scenarios in which I confront the non-sex-having roommate #1 or the singing, shower-sex-having roommate #2 about how annoying and terrible I thought they were. But I didn't. Instead, I moved to New York. Which was possibly the most high-key way to leave the situation. To just move 3,000 miles away. While I don't want to admit that they won, they definitely did. And I bet they don't even know it. I've yet to hear anyone having sex or keep me up past my bedtime because they can't make a fucking decision about what restaurant to brunch at tomorrow, so maybe I've also won.
Since I don't have a wild conclusion to this story, I will leave you with the running list I kept of ways to reveal to my neighbors that I heard every little thing they were doing to make up for it. I titled it simply "Things I Could Do" because all lists I keep in my phone have to be appropriately vague in case it falls into the wrong hands and the first thing the person who recovers it does is read my notes. Please use your imagination to play out these possible scenarios:
- Tap on roomate #1's window by reaching out of my own because that's how fucking close we are
- Become increasingly interested in death metal and play that at an unbearable volume
- Leave them a passive aggressive note
- Leave them a passive aggressive STICKY note with a link to this blog
- Start chiming into their conversations while we all lay in bed on opposite sides of the wall
- Double homicide (jk jk jk jk)
- Start repeating what I hear them saying
- Hate them silently for maybe forever
- Take my shirt off while I wash the dishes (how does this start the conversation? stare at the boyfriend?)
- Eat a ton of broccoli and then just stand against our shared wall and fart loudly for an hour while they talk
I think the last option really exhibits my level of desperation and how out-of-the-box I was willing to go with my solution.