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”?



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