Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sex in the City

When my aunt and her friends were visiting a couple of weeks ago, I had them over for dinner on my terrace. We had a delightful rooftop dinner, all 7 of us squeezed around my not-big-enough-for-a-dinner-party table, laughing and telling stories as we ate our salmon salad, drank a lovely white from Cassis, and watched the southern sky turn it’s midnight blue.

Afterwards, each of them remarked over and over how magic the evening was. None of them had ever been to a soirée on a rooftop terrace overlooking a city (all are Midwesterners) and they were charmed by the experience.

I too am captivated by this place that I live. All my life I have lived in a house, with a big yard and plenty of privacy, and though I loved that as well, this is new…. and wonderful. But I have to tell you; some of the charm is wearing off.

In my building there are only 5 or 6 apartments. All the apartments on all 4 stories are positioned overlooking a small court. It’s not a beautiful court…really just a place for the people on the first floor to hang their laundry, but a court all the same. I imagine this building was designed this way for tax reasons because in the old days in France (actually this still continues) people were taxed by the number of windows they had facing the street. By putting most of the windows on a court, this little problem is effectively eliminated.

But this fiscally prudent configuration causes a very exhausting dilemma. This court acts as a sort of megaphone for sound. When someone is talking at the bottom of the court, it is as if they are in your living room. I always have to remind my visitors to speak softly while coming and going from my apartment because I am well aware of how the sound carries from the stairway and the courtyard into the other apartments.

Because of this phenomenon, I REALLY know my neighbors even though I’ve never met them. The people on the first floor have a new baby and for the first month of this sweet thing’s life, it’s cry sounded just like that of a seagull. This is not a good thing. Seagulls make a horrible sound. I kept looking out my window, wondering what this water bird was doing in the court until I finally realized it was a baby. Luckily for this poor petite, her or his cry has now begun to sound human and it doesn’t bother me. In fact I sort of like it.

But I’ve got a bigger predicament. The young man below me has a new girlfriend. I’ve never seen her before but I tell you what, if I were to meet her on the street, all she would have to do is open her mouth and I would KNOW who she is. This woman has a voice that could grate cheese.

These two are completely enamored of each other and thus they faire l’amour comme les lapins! (make love like rabbits) Yes siree bob,  5 or 6 times per day (obviously they are young)!  And they (she) are not quiet about it!  With windows open and bed just under the window, they practice their gymnastics routine for all the world to hear.

At first it was amusing, then it was fatiguing, then it moved on to frustrating (I’m single after all). I mean, it’s like we’re sharing a bedroom, and truly...I can hear everything

Now, however, I’m just really ticked off.

He’s a musician, so they return home around midnight or 1 am. I can hear them coming up the stairs, talking and laughing as if nobody exists but them. And by 2 am, they are practicing their rabbit routine…. around 4:30 am they practice again. They might throw another practice session in at 8 am (when I’m finally getting some sleep). Mornings are quiet, but eventually they wake up and realize…oh my goodness…we’ve gone a good 8 hours…and they’re back at it (just about the time I’m trying to take a much needed siesta because I didn’t sleep the night before).

I found myself wishing they would just have a fight. They did. But you know what that means. They have to make up. My friends say all this is good for my vocabulary…learning words one never learns in school. However, their vocabulary during these endless trysts is decidedly limited.

Around midnight last night, I heard them coming home. Oh, it had been so deliciously silent and I had been able to get in a 2 hour nap (one needs to prepare for a night of no sleep). But rather than commencing their usual routine, they began to fight. One of those screaming, spitting, over-the-top fights, obviously spurred by jealousy and alcohol. FINALLY she announced she was leaving. Yippee! I heard her go down the stairs (him following, begging her to stay), out the main door and listened to her heels click-clacking on the cobblestones as she made her way to. …well nowhere…because 5 minutes later I heard those heels returning. Merde!

And they simply resumed the fight where they had left off. After 3 hours of high volume screaming, accusations, pleadings, explanations, a slap, tears from her, more screaming, and finally a dramatic 45 minute sob session compliments of him…and her subsequent petting and consoling, they made up for a good hour.

By 6 am they seemed to feel they had recemented their relationship, and I could sleep.

I use earplugs and have 4 pillows to put over my head, all of which only help. But it’s steaming hot here right now and it’s impossible to close the windows. Besides, is it really my responsibility to close the windows? This morning, I woke up at 8 am, tired and crabby. I found a sound file on my computer of a rooster crowing, hooked it up to my speakers, and began to play it at full volume. I did the dishes loudly, slammed doors and drawers, did a little hammering on the floor just above their bedroom and now I’ve got my radio on full blast, right next to the window. The problem is, as stated before, they’re young. They can sleep through anything. Particularly in their exhausted state.

I just got back from talking to the landlords, who, by the way, also have circles under their eyes. They promised to talk to him today and remarked about how wonderful it was that I made so much noise this morning. Well, big whoopdy doo!  Just take care of it!

I’m becoming very familiar with my lovely terrace and the midnight blue sky since that is where I’ve been spending most of my time during the night.  Its high wall blocks some of the night sounds. Yes, it’s magic… but needless to say, city living is losing its shine. As am I.



  1. I have the PERFECT solution ... Get a 25 year old boyfriend !!!!!!!!

  2. Oh Delana, I am so familiar with this situation I am afraid to say. It got so bad here it was like listening to porn movies...

    Good on you though for the loud noise, I laughed so loud when I read about the rooster crowing, really I could just imagine how annoyed you must have been and thinking 'I know, I'll play them the rooster!'.

    I hope the landlords words had some effect and that you will be able to sleep peacefully tonight. Fingers crossed :)

  3. Oh Delana: how very awful! I mean, when you're not (that) young, or in the throes of an affair, to have to listen to that each day and night.....well, I can't imagine. I would be going absolutely crazy. And ear plugs don't do the trick? yow, they ARE loud.
    My daughter and I had an experience with the courtyard, in our apt. in Paris last fall. Quite a different scene, but I'll get the post link and email it to you tomorrow.... bonne nuit ma cherie!

  4. That's hilarious!

    And I LOVE your reaction (oops, did I just break a dish right over where you were sleeping?).

    I agree with JeanMarie: get yourself a young stud! (I'm always a fan of win-win solutions ;-)

    Keep us posted on the landlord's attempt to keeping their sex life to a quiet minimum! (It's funny how young people really do think that life revolves around them.)


  5. How funny this all is to, well, everyone else but you!
    I've been through the same thing many times and it's frustrating.

    I say, get some Pom Poms, a Megaphone and whistle and cheer them on loudly, out the window.
    The Cheer could go something like,
    "Stronger than steel,
    Hotter than the sun;
    (guys name) won't stop,
    'til he gets the job done!
    (repeat for girls name)"

    You might have to come up with something in French. You could record your cheer and let it play out the window all night, one night.

    Lol, could be interesting
    Good Luck

  6. Please do what Michelle Craft suggests....and have a camera ready at their door and window.
    Perhaps you could get all the neighbours together to do a routine...

    Just dreaming...

  7. Jeanmarie: Geez Jeanmarie, I've got limits! I'm thinking 30!

    Piglet:Things have quieted a little. My concierge did go at him but it turns out he's not the concierge of that apartment. So a registered complaint letter is being sent. But I still have that rooster file in case! Hey I just read Karin's article about meeting you. How cool is that?

    Libby: No earplugs don't work. But I just ordered some that will be coming with a friend from the U.S. Designated "Industrial". Which means my neighbors are having "industrial sex".

    M: yeah, the kicker is, I just heard him complaining about all my noise the other day. That's why I have to raise my age limit for young studs to 30. Those 28 year olds are just too immature!

    Michelle: his name is Florian but she just calls him "Ah, ah, ah, ah....oh (rinse and repeat)

    Fly: I'm still dreaming too. I'm thinking just a recording of them in the throes, replayed while they're trying to sleep. Need permission from the poor, sleepless neighbors though.

  8. I can understand how the novelty of that would wear off quickly. I'm reminded of an old apartment we had below girls we were convinced when from room to room on pogo sticks. Plus one of them wore the strongest, most obnoxious perfume that hung in the air of the common area and smacked you as you walked through.

    One morning my then new husband had had enough. He put on his Austrian Marches album as loud as it would go. The problem didn't end, but he felt much better.

  9. ooh la la lapine rapide! what a nightmare and I thought thngs were bad when they kick out at the pub next door to me. At least they ain't making luuurve at ten to the dozen. Industrial strength earplugs do sound cool though. I may invest.

    Hope your dilemna has sorted itself by now Delana. xx


Talk to me!