Living in an apartment complex means you share walls with folks. If you’re lucky, the walls will be thin. If you’re really, really lucky like I am, you’ll have wafer-thin walls AND a weird fan in the bathroom — mine’s basically a hole in the ceiling with a spinner in the middle directly above the loo. This means melting snow drips onto my head when I’m sitting in the bathroom, reading “The New Yorker” and painting my nails. (I don’t poop; we’ve gone over this already.)
Anyhoo, sound travels out my neighbors’ weird bathroom fans and in through mine, so I can hear all kinds of things. Instead of the standard grousing (“Damn, turn down that bass line, you asshat,”) my whining is more detailed and personal (“Seriously? John Mayer again? Your body will never be a wonderland — I can hear you eating marshmallows again, you tool.”)
I currently share walls with two people I’ve dubbed Jiminy Cricket and Li’l Cheech. They’re both dudes, so everyday is exactly like a gender-reversed episode of “Three’s Company.” Except you never see Janet and Chrissy, I don’t pop my collars and Mr. Farley never comes over to make sure I’m still not sleeping with my roommates.
Okay it’s not like “Three’s Company” at all.
I don’t want to be the boring neighbor, so I turn the volume up pretty high while watching foreign films. I like to think the exotic voices leaking from my apartment late at night lead them to assume I’m an international spy or a multi-lingual whore. Either way, I’m sure we’re all having fun with this.
Li’l Cheech I saw briefly through the blinds once. He walks pretty fast. But from listening, I know he showers around 9:20 in the morning and is out the door about 20 minutes later. I also know he gets very, very hungry in the middle of the night — that’s when I hear the kitchen cupboard doors slamming. I suspect he has a hard time choosing which box of Kraft macaroni & cheese to make, since he’s clearly high.
Li’l Cheech doesn’t really bother me; Jiminy Cricket, on the other hand, has a fight coming his way. This morning he was whistling again, for at least an hour.
I recognize whistling isn’t a crime and I don’t unilaterally hate it. I dated a guy once who whistled while he was in the shower, a sort of tuneless, distracted whistle. His showers were relatively short operations, and I never heard him whistle any other time, so the morning “fwee, fwee, fwee” sessions were kind of cute.
Jiminy’s whistle is a full-on Disney whistle, complete with that horrifying vibrato that makes it sound as if he’s momentarily being shaken at the end of each note.
To my mind, whistling indicates a level of contentedness — unless it’s a Disney whistle. Then you’re a damn showoff and should be shaken at the end of each note. If it weren’t for the whistling, I’d have zero trouble with Jiminy.
I mean, with that guy the only other thing I’ve noticed is that around 2 a.m. there’s a loud thumping noise against my bedroom wall. I imagine he’s working on some kind of construction project but has limited himself to about twenty strokes of the hammer each evening. I don’t know what else could be going on over there.