(i'll come up with something vaguely witty soon)
Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 8, 2009 4:18PM

My Neighbor's Sex Life

Rate: 39 Flag



I’m afraid I’m becoming (in the dark corners of my soul) the thin lipped woman that peers disapprovingly through the window.


 But first, a little background.  In keeping with the spirit of the Michigan uber-recession and children leaving the nest I recently downsized from a large three bedroom apartment in this building:




To a charming high ceilinged, hardwood floored, three (largish) ROOM apartment in this building:



house setup    


The entire downstairs of the old farmhouse is all one apartment, occupied by a morning DJ’s on a popular country-western station.   The downstairs neighbors are polite, reserved and their dogs only howl when they pull up in the car.  High ratings on the livability scale. 


My apartment is to the left of the upstairs (note the proximity of the hollow wooden staircase, please).  The woman tenant on the upstairs  right has a few issues:  she can be passive aggressive with the washing machines; makes references to some mysterious downturn in her personal history which led to the loss of her condo (“three times the size of what I have to live in now”); and, possesses multiple, very overweight cats and feels free to store their supplies on the back landing.  Still, fairly high on the livability scale.


And to be fair, I live with the four year old wonder boy, who occassionally disolves in tears and yells. 




Taken together, in an area with this many universities and recently laid off workers, we’re a dream team of tenants.  All quiet adult professionals, keeping politely to ourselves and  not a weekend party in sight. 


And then came New Year’s Eve.Upstairs neighbor, being the youngest of us all, went out.  No noise from downstairs, as morning drive djs typically go to bed early and I think wonder boy and I were asleep by nine. 


The next morning I open my kitchen curtains, and the worst car I have ever seen in my life is parked behind upstairs neighbor’s.  Please understand, I really don’t give a damn if you drive the worst beater imaginiable.  I don’t care how expensive or inexpensive your car may be; however living in the liberal bubble bastion of the midwest, I have grown increasingly weary of the ubiquitous  ‘projection of my personality and/or beliefs’ message car.    


(In the last five years, this has gone from the prestigious beat up volvo station wagon with a ‘free tibet’ bumper sticker and an oval european nation designation sticker advertising one’s junior year abroad destination to a prius with an ‘impeach bush’ sticker.  I don’t disagree with any of the bumper sentiments, I just can’t stand the smug.  Truly funny is that we have about five smart cars in town now, and you can tell the prius’ owners are feeling like they bought a beta tape player in 1983 when they pull up next to one at a stoplight.)


Oh, but this car parked behind my neighbor’s inobtrusive navy pontiac.  This car was a horror.  This car was an abomination.  This car’s owner had obviously not considered ‘tokyo drift’ and ‘cars’ as blockbuster summer movies but rather as something to which they should aspire.  Sitting in our quiet country driveway was a bright dayglo neon turquoise blue subaru (possibly?) impreza; but aside from the terrible paint colour, bad, bad things had been done to the car.  The top third of the windshield was imblazoned with the word ‘subaru’ (they don’t do safety inspections in michigan, and you would be astonished at what’s allowed on the road here).  All over the car was every possible permutation of the pleiedes  logo in that icky white/green/yellow glow in the dark stick up plastic star colour.  Random arrows and pinstriping in the same glow in the dark colour on every imaginiable inch.  And while I’ve never seen the damn thing in motion, I am willing to bet the car runs with an undercarriage neon blue light.


So, a little nauseating to look at first thing in the morning, but I had no real opinion on that bright and shining New Year’s day, and for all I know this may be an out of town cousin who came in to visit.  Cut to later that morning, wonder boy and I are trying to pretend we still live below the mason-dixon line and I am teaching him the fine art of boiling a christmas ham bone to make new year’s black eyed peas.


At first I think an appliance is malfunctioning.  Flat moan, pause.  Flat moan, pause.  Flat moan, pause.  No inflection.  No intake of breath interupting, no muttering of names or invoking of deities.


Flat moan, pause.  Flat moan, pause.  Flat moan, pause. Flat moan, pause.  Flat moan, pause.


Luckily, over-inquisitive wonder boy is enraptured by the boiling water and doesn’t notice.  I walk over to the refrigerator, open and close the doors – nothing.


Flat moan, pause.  Flat moan, pause.  Flat moan, pause. Flat moan, pause.  Flat moan, pause.


I open the utility closet door to check the heater – again, not the source.


Flat moan, pause.


Suddenly, a new step is added to making black eyed peas and wonder boy accepts that the water must ‘rest’ for a few minutes and I turn up the volume on sponge bob and he and I settle in to watch an episode. 


During the commercial (about ten minutes in) I go check to make sure the water is ‘resting’ well.


Flat moan, pause.


Onto “Jimmy Neutron”.  Five minutes later, I go to check on that water – is it fully rested?


Flat moan, pause.  (could someone in the building have taken up the accordian?)


Second commercial break:  a blissful silence has fallen, the water has been perfectly rested and hopping john continues.  Flat moan pause leaves unobtrusively sometime during the day and I mentally cross my fingers that it has been a drunken new year’s eve hookup.


______________________________________________________ Sadly,


no.  it’s the eighth as I write this and I would estimate that flat moan pause has been here at least six nights since that first memorable time.


And here’s the thing.  Aside from being  apparently completely unimaginative in bed, I really can’t help thinking that flat moan pause is a bit of a tool.  He hasn’t taken her anywhere, ever.  Instead, at varying points in the evening from 10:30  to about 1:00 AM, flat moan pause simply shows up.  I know this because neighbor comes in and goes through her evening routine and then at some point the hugely loud engine pulls up, the guy clomps up the outside wooden stairs which run by my side of the building, stomps his boots in the tiny common foyer and enters her apartment without so much as a knock.


Flat moan, pause.


I get up fairly early, so I know he spends most of the night, but is usually gone by dawn.  I had a 7AM meeting this morning which necessitated leaving by 6:15, so I snapped this with the camera phone.  It completely does no justice to the paint job.


bad car 



It’s so none of my business, but I want to take neighbor aside and try and buck up her self esteem and insist that she play a little more high maintenance – a little bit harder to get.  Then again, if I were her, I wouldn’t be seen in that car, either.


Flat moan, pause.


Flat moan, pause.


Flat moan, pause.

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intake of breath, invocation of deity, thank you!
This always works for me: 1. Put a speaker as close as possible to the source in the offending direction. 2. Crank up Ozzy (or other metal screamer) 2 da MAX.
ok seriously, fake the orgasm already.. he really must not be that good

Rated for hoppin' john! Egad...that poor girl must be tore up something bad over that condo.
Thumbs up for BEPs and the best chuckle I've had all day...
Flat out, funny. (I think you should invite her over for peas...)
Oh Mother of all that is Holy! LOL

This is one reason why I'm thankful our walls and such are THICK! . . . . . I'm a bit of a screamer . . . hehehehehe!
There was a funny line from the Oblongs . . .

"Oh God, oh god, oh god, oh god . . . . GIMMINY CRICKET!"

Man I wish that show hadn't been canceled! Funny stuff!
ugh, am so not looking forward to being single. :p I'm bound to either end up bedding under or rooming next to an fmp.
Those Michigan winters will make a girl do things she'll regret come spring. Flat moan snore. Flat moan snore. Poor misguided girl.
Oh my.

And yes. Better insulation is needed. MUCH better.
Flat moan pause lasted through Sponge Bob (a one hour show IIRC) and onto Jimmy Neutron? He's got pretty decent stamina I'll say!
Enjoyable post. I hate to admit it, but I really enjoyed Tokyo Drift....
omg, this unedited thing made the front page????!! i am feeling amazingly shy, but grateful to you all for reading - i will try to respond in order:

xan - think lynard would work?

ba, seriously, yes!

cb - could i refer fmp for lessons? :)

thank you gracie, pea & donna - virtual hoppin john for you all! (with cornbread, of course :)

LM! the oblongs are still on at an ongodly hour monday am on cartoon network - i love them and aspire to be just like the alchoholic, be-wigged, mother some day!

hy, as you are one of my several secret inappropriate OS crushes (knitting, bi/lesbian, fabulous writer, w/i 300 miles who could teach me about gardening and continue to enable my yarn stashing compulsions!) how'd you feel about to my fmp? ;)

MR, thank you, i enjoy your posts (but i'm only halfway thru the MMH series so far)! tell me about these winters! so far i've bought rubber boots and long underwear - don't know what i'll be driven to by spring!
Great tale of the wonders of apartment living!
o - i've done everything i can do on my side, rugs, curtains, strategically placed loaded bookshelves against the walls - she has hardwood floors, a leather couch and vertical blinds. they should use it for a performance venue!

IMC: it was just the last five minutes of spongebob (ha, just thought - could be a new definition of 'sponge-worthy') and two commercials into JN - not bad, but apparently, not inspiring! :)

mb, i loved it as pure escapism; then again, i love chitty chitty bang bang too - ooooh, now there's a car to which i'd like to aspire!

thank you all (exit, blushing bright pink)
excellent, hysterical. Thanks for sharing.
That's the worst thing about apartment living: you end up knowing (hearing!) way too much about your neighbor's sex life. This was a funny read, although I truly feel your pain and hope they break up soon.
Fuck our entertainment. As a single mother with four children the only person you need to learn how to entertain is yourself.
I am vaguely embarassed by this post, not knowing why, until I remember my upstairs landlord knowing my BFs name, not having been introduced to him.

And then... Remembering...

"Oh Dave, Dave,DaveDave ... Ohhhhh David, Dave!"
A real slice of life, with a lovely, ahem, rhythm. One question: Could you tell who was moaning? (not that it matters ....)
So I'm reading along and enjoying the story and then - the pic of the car. I am still laughing so hard my eyes are wet, and I'm trying to watch the football game. I mean, do they let blind people drive in Michigan - or maybe he only goes out in the dark?
The car!! It is AMAZING. Resplendent.

I am wondering along with Lea which one of them is moaning. I guess I assumed your neighbor, and not Trick My Ride? Can you tell?
Great read -- and I'm with Mari McNeil in thinking that it could be worse for you and a four-year-old, taken from personal experience. A regular moan pause rythm is probably much easier to expain and ignore than something that sounds like "Night of the Lepus" going on next door.
Yep, gotta let that soup rest. That is, I believe, one of the most important and most overlooked steps in fine soup making. Especially when the ham bone is steeping.

A Michigan girl! Oakland County for me. I drive US 12 on my way to the Al Meyers Airport from time to time.

Just cheer her on. I wish I were so fortunate. LOL

You need carpets with a thick under carpet layer. Back bookcases with something sound absorbing, like sound-absorbing ceiling tiles or cork and put that against the wall. Also try quilts and wall hangings. But my guess is cheap materials designed to absorb sound backing furniture against the wall is your best bet.
Hahahahahaha! Good read before bed! Thankfully I don't have to deal with any of that.... yet.
Nothing like apartment living. Crank up the music! Glad you wouldn't want to be seen in that car.
Loved this! On another blog, there was a story about a similar problem and a commenter left this sage advice:


I was crying from convulsions of laughter at your piece and thinking of what you have to deal with and what you must do.
Your new neighbor must be my old neighbor who just moved this fall...probably because of my dog. I live in A2 and over the summer my neighbor got a new boyfriend. Her bedroom was right above my back/side yard. The first time I heard the racket it was because my dog, who was outside, started howling. I went to investigate and heard my neighbor moaning and grunting, which was bad enough, but everytime there was a loud moan my dog would howl right along with her. I tried to get my dog inside by whispering for him to come inside, I really didn't want my neighbor to know I could be heard, but my dog insisted on staying out and joining in the neighborhood howl, which by now was starting to attract other neighborhood dogs in the howling. Finally my neighbor finished but I'm almost certain she realized what happened and after living next to us for 10 years moved quite suddenly a month later.
Maybe they're drilling for oil...?
All these years I've make black-eyed peas for New Year's Day and I never knew to let the water rest until now. Thanks for the info.
I lived in an apartment once much like the one pictured and my neighbor loved the "Oh God!", pause, "Oh God!", pause. I think I would have preferred the flat moan...
That was sex? Good Lord, I didn't figure it out until I read the comments! I thought the poor idiot was trying to get his car started! (I must be a lot more naive than I thought). Very funny post; even better when I re-read it after I read the comments (!).
In Alaska, we had 'Freeky February Fucks' and every single person would hook up with someone really wierd and bump furs for a month, get sober, and never speak of it again. Maybe the snow makes em' horny. Whatever the case with your neighbor, she'll sober up soon enough. Rated.
Thank you all so much! in answer:

She has a tiny, breathy voice, so unless she's channeling dietrich, i'm pretty sure it's him. :)

Yes, resting the water has now been written into the family cookbook.

You should see the car in the daylight!

yes, apartment living can be challenging. my old apartment was poured concrete, so you could have had a 30 person orgy next door and i wouldn't have known. i've apparently traded soundproofing for charm and interior detail. Now i have to worry about myself should i ever become...entangled...again. (i tend towards being a dirty girl talker!) thinking a cheap motel room is a quite reasonable investment!

go a2! picturing all the dogs howling on the west side - ha!

and, i must confess to feeling a bit guilty as FMP did NOT show up last night - neither seems the type to read OS, but you never know!
Oh my. I almost love this vehicle. Almost.

College. I'm living in a tiny single in the oldest dorm on campus because I can get the room at the same price as half a double. Window is broken and won't shut all the way. Window is kitty-corner to the room of a very overweight fella who has double all to himself and a very overweight girlfriend who has apparently moved in with him. (They were very nice people, so no one turned them in to the University Housing folks.) Their window was also apparently broken in the same way as mine.

The twin beds in this particular dorm were on wheels and VOF and VOG had pushed them together to create a king-sized bed.

You all know what is going to happen next.

Creak creak creak moan creak oh god creak squeak BANG (looonnggg pause) owwwww....oh shit, are you all right? owww....
Everyone else thinks this post is so hilarious ......I don't!

Uhhhhh, gee whiz, even here in basically provincial central California where a lot of people hail from Texas or Arkansas or Oklahoma or Mexico, and I have never been to Michigan, even I can figure out WHERE YOU LIVE !!

I think in your desire to put down the love/lust struck "younger" woman next door, (SHE is passive agressive?! wow! her forgetting to remove those wet clothes has sure pissed you off! ) you have inadvertedly (??) OUTED your downstairs "highly closeted"
lesbian neighbors!

WOW! As someone who may (or may not) have voted "yes" on Prop 8, I am still appalled! That was thoughtless (??) and most certainly passive (??) agressive!

I think you are still "trying to pretend (you) live below the mason dixon line" have carried it up there with you, gossipping about never- have- hurt- you neighbors and all!
You sure do miss having your own washer!
OK, I have to be sure to kind of listen next time I have sex because I'm pretty sure that if you're doin' it right, there is not that much regularity in the pauses and moans. But I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are keeping it on the down-low for your benefit. Maybe things would be mindblowing in the back seat of that car. Nah, he'd never risk the fluids.
I still think this is very hilarious.
I think that architects and developers should be sued for millions of dollars when they fail to (a)put up sound proof walls between apartments (2) fail to put up adequate fire walls between apartments.

This story reminds me of a former Michigan neighbor I had (oh I am below the Mason Dixon Line) who now has moved back to Michigan. She was a divorcee of some 20 years and apparently never had sex since her divorce. She kept commenting to me that she kept hearing moans and groans from my apartment. I sometimes thought she must kept a microphone against the wall so her little perverted mind could hear everything going on my side.

My friend and I decided to give her the shock of her life. One afternoon when we knew she was at home; we started moaning and groaning to play to her imagination. There was nothing going on in our apartment other than us driving her imagination wild with what sounded to her like the wildest sex orgy. We even went to the trouble of recording squeeky bedsprings to play back and made sure it was obvious to her imagination that the wildest exquisite sex was going on the other side. Of course there was no sex just the fake sounds of it.

Next day she commented again about the "sex" going on and how it bothered her. She shocked us instead by confessing that had been a turn on and she would have like to have been part of it!
Hey THAT was funny!
and you didn't hurt anyone
Scared Grandma's right. You outed those women, and they weren't even part of the story.
My roomie, Fred.
Actually I should be more accurate.
Fred, the cat from whom I rent this house own the chair to the right of the one in which I'm sttitng.

It took two "flat moan pauses" to elicit an incredibly loud noise which is foreign to Fred.
He jumped from his chair, took about 3-4 bound, tunred around and gace me a look like he wished he wore a white coat.
Thank you for the opportunity to actually laugh my head half off.

I just HAVE to share this with a couple of friends.
I just hope they don't short out their batteries.

flat moan pause LOLOLOL
Ann Arbor, right?

The moan, pause part of this was hilarious, but the thing that REALLY cracked me up was your bit about "message" cars. Brilliant! I went to school in A2 eons ago, and still have three nieces living there. The place I'm living now has a similar demographic and, wouldn't you know it, the very same automotive pecking order. (Have you read "Stuff White People Like?") Five years ago, you couldn't spit without hitting a Volvo with a Free Tibet sticker, but now they're almost as rare as Buicks; the Prius/Obama combo has pretty well replaced them all, though the Smarts are showing up more and more. At one time, I contemplated getting a Volvo, outfitting it with a gun rack, and plastering on an NRA decal and maybe a "don't come a knockin' when this car's a rockin' " bumper sticker, just to confuse people. I'm pretty much a lefty, too, but like you, I'm annoyed by smug.
almost forgot -- the knitting avatar? You must be a knitter. I am, too, but my production has dropped alarmingly since I've discovered OS. Have you figured out a way to blog and knit at the same time?
With a hat tip to Dave Barry, Flat Moan Pause would make a great name for a rock band.

And that car...that car will haunt me in my dreams. It will drive the works of art I saw at the Studebaker Museum last week right out of my head!

Leandra – those wheelie beds are no good! 

Scared Grandma & Judith, thank you for your comments!

Katrina, I’m betting that back seat is immaculate!

Thank you LPS!

William, that IS hilarious!

Fred! Poor Fred! Thank you XJS –

Please forgive me, everyone, as I go into knitting/A2 Geek speech –

Laurel - the first time I read “SWPL” I almost fell out of the chair at my non-profit job, (for which I am overqualified, having two masters completed in London after working two years in a developing country) tipping my plain silver sigg waterbottle onto my scarf, thermal undershirt, birkies and hand knit socks. Pushing up my oversized tortoise shell chunky glasses and flipping my long hair (and bangs) back, I was able to save my way overpriced zingerman’s roast beef sandwich and tea. I immediately sent the link to my cool gay black friend, who was coming over later that night to watch Lost (my latest netflix delivery) on my pc. He thought it was funny, but argued that the Vietnamese women I like to date might not qualify in the true sense of asian, arguing that that classification might best be reserved for Japanese and/or Chinese women. I thought about what he said as I walked to the parking garage past the bus stop to get in my fuel efficient, foreign car (wishing that A2 was big enough for really good public transportation,) but felt really confident in my opinion (due to my difficult childhood and impossible parents). But, no, I didn’t think “stuff white people like particularly fit me at all.  As to knitting, I am in its thrall and OS has seriously cut into my ravelry time. 

Austin, one of the best things about living in DC was the weekly (syndicated) Dave Berry column! I think I might have to go the the Henry Ford to get the image out of my own mind!

(Think that’s everyone, if not, thank you all!)
Counterpoint: Perhaps he is trainer? and the flat moan, pause is the sound of her lifting weights? Or maybe she has a home gym and he's coming over to use it? (Could come in handy as an explanation if wonder boy ever asks...)

My experience as the FMP person: Living in O'side, CA, in a rented house, hot summer, no a/c, windows and patio doors open. New boyfriend (now husband), sleeping about 3 hours a night and having sex about 5 times a day. Friends with the neighbor woman. She casually mentions one day, while we're shopping at Pier 1, that "your" Nice euphemism, don't you think? :)

Contrary to your gay black friend's opinion, yeah, Vietnamese women certainly do "qualify in the true sense of asian." 'Cause they're from, you know, ASIA. ;D
flat moan of total amazement and admiration at your writing, pause....still speechless.

wow. great. really. thanks.