Sounds from the (urban) jungle.

Living in the urban jungle you get accustomed to strange sounds emanating from the walls, ceiling, and floor, and I don’t just mean the settling in of old houses as the central heating kicks in. No, when you live in one of those former -slum-now-fabulously-in sections of town where the dividers between apartments are less than soundproof you must expect strange sounds…. can you imagine if you had a flamenco teacher living above you…

Something like that, only infinitely more positive, I experienced the other day – something I had never ever expected to experience… I had been convinced that it was just an urban myth of the type you read about in cheap novels, lurid cartoons, or French films or racy sit-coms…

Well, it was a pleasant Saturday afternoon, I was visiting my girlfriend and was taking a nap in the bedroom after lunch, when I started hearing a peculiar sound emanating from the ceiling …. come on, it couldn’t be?  – it couldn’t be the sound of bed springs being tortured by two bodies doing what comes naturally on a lazy Saturday afternoon…. I couldn’t believe it … (beds with springs are only still found in old bedroom farces anyway.)

So I called her in to verify… she listened and right away said, “yep, heard it before…just wait, it´s my neighbor above – she’s a screamer!”…”What – you never told me about this?” I responded …. and sure enough, as the rhythm of the pounded springs got faster more furious and louder I could just discern the start of a scream which got progressively louder, fully in step with the increasing tempo of the pounded springs, leading to an almost earsplitting  crescendo which was immediately followed by a just as deafening silence…

Remember the restaurant scene in “When Harry met Sally”? Or  the quirky French film “Delicatessen”, where there is a wonderful lovers’ scene with the landlord/butcher and his sexy lodger in a squeaking bed – the whole house shakes…

Not only was I a great experience richer, now I also knew that this type or urban inter-apartment sound is no urban myth… I actually felt quite happy almost grateful (perhaps even sated) for having been given this vicarious participation in their bliss; almost  as happy as if …you know… it was a confirmation that the universe that is we, us, and you and our neighbors, is as it should be… but that is not the end of it:  less than an hour later I had to leave the apt., and as I was closing the door, the upstairs neighbor passed me by, giving me that casual ritualistic friendly smile we all give when we recognize and reaffirm our neighborliness.… I had a more difficult time smiling back; I was too afraid that I might be blushing!

Hey, perhaps now that I have had these chance “encounters” with the upstairs neighbor I’m ready to see Lars Trier’s “Nymphomaniac”?



My Credo

I am 68 years old and male, and like most old men I often have to leave my warm bed at night to go to the toilet to pee. Now my toilet is quite a bit off from my bedroom and I have to traverse both my kitchen and living room as well as my hall to reach my toilet … I have suitably dim night lights on in each of these rooms and I often thus feel like a plane following an airfield’s landing lights as I land on towards the toilet seat (ps. At night it’s so much more comfortable sitting down) .

Sometimes as I go through this nightly routine, this sudden semi-awake light jolt, feeble as it may be,  triggers my little gray cells to come up with what I am convinced is quite a bright idea, but as I am not really awake and not much inclined top  picking up a pen … as if I even could find one.. I make no record of this bright idea and thus it always seems to fade away by the time I return to bed, and by morning it is totally forgotten. Mornings I often wonder whether or not I am not perhaps smarter (or even wiser) than I really seem to be, because though I always forget  what my nightly brilliance was about, I do still have a lingering feeling of having been terribly brilliant.

Except for this past night: all the way back to my bed as I retraced my flight path along my personal illuminated airfield, I continued to mull over my brilliant thought and then contentedly fell asleep still mulling over it. Perhaps that is why for the first time this morning I actually remembered what my nightly episode of brilliance was about.

My episode of brilliance was also, it seems to me, even a bit deep, but then as you might have guessed from the title of this blog … My Credo …  this night I had formulated something for myself that was by any definition necessarily deep, which does not say anything at all about its validity however: I will let you be the judge

Here is what I came up with last night at about two thirty in the morning as I landed onto the toilet:


  1. Murphy’s law is recursive
  2. There is no free lunch
  3. Whenever possible, be a mensch


 That’s it.

That’s what 68 years of life’s experience has taught me.

That’s the sum total of my wisdom (If I have any).

That’s my Credo.