Three years. In my selfish, only child book, it’s a measurement of time that rivals geology. To date, live with, and try maintain love for someone else, to share every electrifying, “baby, can you please wash the dishes,” moment, I need patience, compromise and lots and lots of drugs. Watching paint dry has always been a lot more exciting when tripping balls.
But when monotony incarnate kicks you out on the streets, any given dealer in Brooklyn will shake his head, unable to offer you the specific kind of numbing you’re looking for. Being a fan of “the drugs” I can say from experience that moving out of an (un)happy home is quite similar to the only part of abuse that I don’t care for: quitting – all hope of that first high is swimming through the halls of Atlantis, but you still need to continue using to keep from throwing yourself permanently below the sea.
So I turned my back on the concept of cold turkey, and kept the IV hooked up and dripping. We did all the usual breakup stuff – divide the furniture, get a new place, wish violent death on the other – only to constantly make plans for me to come over, watch movies and pretend everything was still the same. I think the Kübler- Ross “grief model” refers to this as “denial.” And denial was the drug for me. But then my ex went to Spain for a few weeks, my roommate went on a first date and suddenly I never needed a hit so badly in my life.
While my new roommate was using her Saturday night to do the normal drink yourself silly and spread your legs sort of pastimes, I was home after a day spent working on the ad campaign from hell. With three years worth of breakup depression swimming in my skull, and even, I admit, a little rain on my face, I was served the daunting proposition of trying to sleep so I could do more of the same on Sunday. Finally, after a several hours of sword fighting insomnia, as E.B White wrote in Charlotte’s Web, “Sleep and Wilbur eventually found each other.”
That’s when my G rated evening hung a sharp left and woke up in Deep Throat.
Did you ever hear that old Adam Sandler sketch where he plays loud grunting noises and asks people to figure out if they’re working out or having sex? It was hilarious. And nothing like this. My roommate and her date came home, strapped bullhorns to their mouths and consummated their evening in the room that shares a wall with mine. She was moaning, but understandably so. He kept going for a good hour, maybe two. But while he could last like a real man, he screamed like a woman.
Knowing that she and the screaming woman had likely woken up Hellen Keller in her grave, the next day she apologized with the highly original “I was really drunk.” Later, through the paper-thin walls. I overheard a phone conversation where she said, “I hope my roommate doesn’t think I’m a slut.”
Now, let’s review. I had worked all Saturday. I had to stay home on Saturday night to rest for workday-Sunday. And just when I finally snuffed out the insomnia of a breakup, I’m greeted back into consciousness by an alarm I didn’t set. Also because the male equivalent for “slut” doesn’t exist, I’ve more or less omitted that word from my vocabulary.
So yes, I was sitting next-door questioning your morality, while praying for the Sweet Baby Jesus to spare you from hell fire and have mercy on your soul. You dumb, dumb slut.
I was hoping this night would be an isolated incident, a slip of the slut. But as weeks gave birth to night after goddamn night from hell, jumping back into the unhappiness of my last relationship would have been an orgasm in pill form.
I tried to fight fire with fire by jumping into a new relationship. Of course when the potential new flame asks your name and you respond by jumping on him begging to be rescued from breakup pain, it’s likely he’ll run for his life screaming like the opposite sex after flinging you violently back in the room for one. One night I came home a little down that things were going south with he and I, only to be greeted by the noises of two people intent on rubbing it in my face. When my headphones still didn’t drown out the noise, I needed to call someone, anyone, for a distraction to keep me from hand crafting a homemade machete Kenya style and slashing through our shared wall. Brilliantly I call my ex, who informs me that he’s recently become no stranger to making the sex noises in my former apartment with girls other than yours truly.
Timeout for an inventory check: I’ve got the depression of a failed rebound in my head, the soundtrack to the Karma Sutra at full volume in the next room, and an ex who’s moved on (and over and under) on the other end of the line.
Later, my friend Jessica observed, "That is a personal hell."
No it's not a personal hell. It's like the Devil himself tying you up and licking you in the face to the beat of a Savage Garden ring tone.
But Hades doesn’t have to be a horrific address if you figure out how to profit from it. A friend and I were chatting at a party, and my current woes gave us an idea to revolutionize the nature CD industry. You know, the ones where a tiny elf plays his lyre accompanied by the soothing percussion of Raindrops of Tranquility? We thought perhaps the one part of nature missing in this box set was Sounds of Sex®. Because hey, if people will buy Sounds of the Sea, why couldn’t the motion of their ocean sit on the same shelf?
This all changed when her partner-in-mating started making, what I guess can best be described as loud guttural noises. Up to now I presumed that unless it’s, “Ow! Wrong asshole!” sex was supposed to induce moans of pleasure. But living next door to observe Peter Rabbit and his Bitch, I’ve observed that mutual thrusting moans can range from soft and kinda gay to the groans of cattle too dumb to know they being slaughtered.
One night a friend and I were chatting in my room, when the happy couple pressed play on their Sounds of Sex CD. He turned to me and asked, “Er, is that a human?”
I’ve always thought one of the qualities that differentiate humans from animals has been our capacity for empathy. An empathy, which may have made him think twice about other people in the apartment. If he was incapable of thinking about others, he could have at least been selfish enough not to want to embarrass himself making noises that sounded like a dying diesel engine being raped in it’s first night in maximum security prison. If not in earshot of me, then at least not in front of the girl he wanted to fuck again. And again. And again. And I hate them.
No, kids. He’s not a human. He’s a slut.
I’ve tried headphones. I’ve tried calling people, but we know how that goes. I’ve tried smothering a pillow on my head just enough to muffle the moans, but not quite hard enough to kill me. I’ve tried playing electronic music so that the noises sound like they’ve been mixed into some kind of avant garde experimental track. I even toyed with the notion of planting traps to break them up.
Maybe I leave a pair of Scooby Do underpants in her bed for him to find and her to try and explain.
Maybe I try and one-up the happy couple, by inviting over ten of my friends to stand in my room (yeah, like they’d fit) and pretend we’re having a really hot fucking orgy in here! “Oh yeah.” “Oh baby.” “I think somebody just scored a hole in one.” “My goalie must be sleeping, because my net’s got some balls in it.” “I must look like Warsaw because, Adolph you sure know how to invade my lady parts.” Oh the joy of sex.
What I haven’t tried is simply talking to her.
I’m busy. And by busy I mean I have no balls. But get this. Apparently too much wine is fertilizer for entire crops of cojones. In fact I think we could solve the world’s balls shortage, simply by getting everybody drunk. And drunk is what I was one night, when I decided that two of my friends and I needed to keep the debauchery flowing by coming back to my room at 4am and use our outside voices. Why? Well, none of us can remember. Believe it or not, wine can also act as an effective bouncer to memory. Because I woke up the next day, two friends gone, a half consumed bottle of wine on the table, and what an AA patron might refer to as a “blackout.” I figured it would be best to send a ‘sorry bout the noise’ email to the (not so much) girl next door. But if I didn’t have the sensibility to assume I should apologize for any noise I wasn’t certain we’d made, she wouldn’t have enlightened me with this reply:
“I'm not sure if you recall what you said, but I felt as though that is what
really upset me, that on top of coming home loudly with two other
people at 4am on a weeknight. I’m referring to the exchange when I
opened the door. You said "Hey, want a glass of wine?" I said, "No, I'm trying to sleep." And then you said, "Well, when you and your boyfriend are fucking, it's fucking loud!"
“Not only was that somewhat embarrassing, but also completely disrespectful and completely uncalled for.”
At first, a little bit of regret for my drunken actions actually welled up within my bosom. But then I remember the “Personal Hell.” The guttural noises. The nights of lost sleep and the grogginess following me through the next day. Yeah, we were loud one night. But we were loud one night. A loudness that came from laughter. Hits a slightly different level on the Skeeved The Fuck Out scale. Suddenly the three page email telling me I “had a lot to learn” seemed to be the equivalent of a fat man at the dinner table gnawing on a chicken leg with his mouth open, wiping away chunks and drool with his sleeve, and then with full mouth, turning to me and telling me to take my elbows off the table.
So, ok. I’m a grown up. I’ll use my manners and oblige. Look, bitch, no elbows. But trust, it won’t be too long before I’ll ask to be excused from the table… right after I grab your fucking chicken leg and smack you across your face. Your slutface.