What You Can Hear Without Even Listening

It’s pretty bizarre the things you hear in the city sometimes. The fact that you live within 20 feet of about 50 people is still a strange concept for me. For instance, this morning, I heard a cell phone ringing. Not new for the city, but a new one for me because it sounded like it was in the same room. I walked around and around trying to figure out if someone had forgotten their phone when they were last over, but it constantly eluded me. I suppose it must have been coming from street level, which means it must have been attached to a car stereo for me to hear it six stories up.

Then of course there is the air duct, these things that runs up through the building to give some ventilation for the bathrooms. I’m happy to have them, but you hear the strangest things. In my old bathroom, I believe that there was a gay French couple who lived a couple floors down as I heard French all the time and smelled French cigarettes coming up the duct. In the new one, there is a couple, or maybe a threesome as it’s always three voices I hear who moved in and basically live in their bathroom. There is always one of them in there talking to the others and you can hear pretty much everything. Sometimes the conversations are funny. Sometimes bizarre. But, they are always there. It’s not that you mean to listen, but if you’re in the bathroom taking care of your needs, you’ll hear them like they’re in there with you.

What’s really goofy is when I got woken up in the middle of the night with it sounding like someone had come in to my apartment in a drunken stupor only to realize that I’d left the door to my bathroom open and the threesome of toilet lovers were having some kind of an after party in their bathroom.

I’ve heard from the girlfriend that everything important that happened in Russia always took place in the kitchen–household decisions, marriage proposals, what to make for dinner, etc. I’m curious if there are places in the world where everything important takes place in the bathroom. World leaders should keep it in mind if they get handed a treaty written on toilet paper with an eyeliner pencil, and sealed with melted soap.