Here is a little writer’s confession. A blogger’s quandary, as it were. Or, in my case, a biarist’s dilemma. (You like how I did that? I’m writing a biary, which makes me a biarist? Get it?)
My dilemma is that even as I write odd and random snippets about life in the Shula Lane for the entire world to see (or for the two of you that actually read this thing), I am painfully aware of how much I wish to avoid anything too personal. I have been going by the maxim that I shouldn’t write anything that I wouldn’t want my parents to read.
I have also been censoring my writings that could reveal too much about my political leanings (my career aspirations put the kibosh on that). What’s more, I have a strong disinclination to lay my romantic world open for anyone to stumble across (mostly, I think it would depress people too much).
These limitations help to explain my obsession with Spike – who really is a fantastic dog; my observations about life’s transitional nature; and my made up stories that amuse me (even if my dear readers find them dull).
So today, I must veer for a second from my usual decorum.
I want to talk about my upstairs neighbor. I’ve never met the woman (I know it’s a woman for reasons that will be clear later). I have no idea her age, weight, hair color, income level or any other descriptor that would help me like her. I do know one thing about her: she’s not a quiet person.
She moved in a few weeks after I did in the middle of winter. I first heard her because she has a penchant for wearing high-heels. Heels have a very distinct clickity-clack pattern when you walk on hard wood floors, which is the first clue that she is a woman. She also didn’t bother to put down any carpets.
The second clue that she is a woman is that she is also a screamer. Allow your minds to traverse to the naughty place it wants to go, because that is exactly what I’m talking about.
My apartment building is old (vintage, as the real estate types say) and the walls between apartments are solid. I never hear my neighbors on either side of me, or below me. Several years ago, the building was updated and vents were built for central air conditioning. This must have opened up a direct stereoscopic line from the fifth floor to the fourth because sound travels as clear as if someone were standing next to me laughing heartily at something on TV or relaying a particularly good yarn on the telephone… or, more likely, moaning and screaming.
The first time I heard the screams, I thought it was coming from the zoo. But my window was closed, so that didn’t make sense. I turned off my music because I was confused about what I was hearing. Was there something wrong with my stereo? Was someone in trouble? Was that….ohmygod, is that what I think it is?
Yes. Oh, Yes. Oh, god… Yes… it was just that.
I turned my stereo back on.
I have to say, living underneath Jenna Jameson (or someone who read Jameson’s book and is following its instructions to a T) is embarrassing, humbling and irritating. I gave the girl a week to put some rugs down up there, hoping it would mute the sound. But even a week turned out to be a long time to wait because, as it turns out, Ms. Upstairs is not only a vocal love-maker, she is prolific as well.
When I finally did talk to the building manager, it was a little awkward. I’m not sure I conveyed what I was hearing. Here’s how that conversation went:
ME: So, apparently, I have a new neighbor upstairs…
MANAGER: Yes, that’s right.
ME: So, I don’t think she has put down any rugs. Isn’t she supposed to have the floor covered?
MANAGER: Yes, 80 percent of the floor space should be covered. Of course, that’s hard to measure, but usually people put down a large enough rug. Why?
ME: Well, she’s a bit loud. I’m not sure if she has heavy footsteps or likes to move her furniture around a lot…or what…
MANAGER: Moving furniture?
ME: That’s what it sounds like sometimes. And she walks kind of heavily… I’m just hearing a lot of … stuff.
MANAGER: Thanks for letting us know. Some carpets will help with that. We’ll say something to her.
They said something to her… the footsteps are now muffled and for a while the amorous sessions abated, or were muted. But not entirely. I was reminded of Ms Upstair’s vocal skills again last night. I think she removed the carpets or something. And, from what I can tell she and her partner (I know she’s not alone up there), seem to make good use of the entire apartment… not just one corner.
I hate to admit that I even thought about it that much – to wonder where the heck they were. But the sound seemed to be coming from everywhere. Even after I turned on my music.
The thing about living underneath someone whose voice carries it that you can’t help but feel like a total prude. The random thoughts that go through my head include: Why does she go on like that? My goodness… aren’t they done yet? She’s totally faking it for him. Can anyone else in this building hear this? Do they know how loud they are? Are they still at it?
I’m glad that there is love in this world. I’m glad that my neighbor is in such a comfortable relationship that the two of them feel free to totally let their guards down. But I’m not glad that I have to hear their love.
My willingness to be generous in my opinion about her is gone. Instead, I imagine the following personna: My neighbor upstairs is 23 years old, has long, blonde hair (sorry), and is curvy with some un-needed weight. Big boobs. She takes at least 45 minutes to apply her makeup before stuffing herself into a dress that is a size too small when she goes out at night. The dress is short and has sequins. She had a nose job when she was 16. She is a student of some sort – but not a terribly erudite one. She drives a Camero. She is probably being supported either by the boyfriend or her father or both. She eats Lean Cuisine.
Here’s the other thing about living underneath Ms. Screamer: The very fact that I have thought about her enough to paint such a picture makes me wonder if I’ve turned into the crotchety, old crone downstairs. I have yet to grab a broomstick and bang on the ceiling. I’m not even tempted to do that…yet.
Finally, I keep worrying about one thing: If I ever do meet my neighbor above… what in the world will I say?
I cannot include a photo of Spike in this entry… it’s just wrong.