Eavesdropping: one of the many joys of city living

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Callbox

Our condo faces onto a courtyard, and when the windows are open there’s definitely a little Melrose Place action that happens. We hear neighbors coming and going, having sex, spanking each other, etc. It’s always entertaining.

We can also hear the callbox at the front gate. Here’s one recent example that Dre and I heard, as we sat on the couch staring each other silently with wide eyes that said, “Don’t start laughing! They’ll hear you!”

RING RING
Male resident’s voice over callbox: Hello?
Male guest at gate [coyly]: Are you decent?
Resident: …Uh, who is this?
Guest: OH MY GOD I totally dialed the wrong apartment!
Resident: Uh, ok.

RING RING
Different male resident’s voice over callbox: …There you are!
Guest [uses exact same line!]: Are you decent?
[sound of gate being unlocked]

So, are YOU decent? Tell me the most awesome things you’ve overheard from your neighbors. NOTE: I said MOST AWESOME. This is NOT an invitation to bitch about your neighbors.

Comments on Eavesdropping: one of the many joys of city living

  1. “boy! pull ya damn pants up and look like a respectable black man!” became pretty normal. the elderly black man across the street was so nice, unless he could see your underwear. Made me chuckle every time he yelled it.

  2. In my last place, I was in the top floor of a character house that was full of characters downstairs (har har), and we overheard many great conversations, but my favourite of all time was when I was woken up at about 3am on a Tuesday to a guy trying to impress a girl by saying “so then my brother and I outgrew dungeons and dragons and just started making up our own games… I mean, it was pretty cool really.” Frankly, I think D&D is pretty cool, but I’m not so sure that girl did and I was pretty angry to be woken up by a bad pick-up line that probably wouldn’t have worked!

  3. My friend and I were eating at a restaurant one day, and we heard someone at the next table sigh and say, “Poor naked Eli.”

    For seven years now, we’ve wondered what on earth the story behind that could be.

  4. We have rented two different apartments before moving into our home last year and we haven’t heard too many crazy things, unfortunately.

    The only things of note:
    -The couple above us in our last apt. would do it so fast and hard that the walls shook along with hearing the “boomboomboomboomboom” on the wall. It’d only last about 5 minutes so… heh.

    -One time they had friends over and they dropped a weed grinder off their balcony. Ha.

  5. We live in a neighborhood where a lot of the houses are the same, including ours and the two on either side. The attic windows line up so that, in a similar way to a Southern shotgun house, you could shoot a gun from the west window of the first house and it would come out the east window of the third house.

    In these 80-year-old houses that have been upgraded over the years, the attic tends to become the master bedroom.

    The summer after we bought our house (no one here has AC), we were lying in bed with the windows open, lights out, when we hear sex noises coming from the house to our west. Not ten minutes later, we glance out the east window to see *that* couple going at it. The amount of giggling…

    The other story I like is from the dorms, although it’s not quite eavesdropping. Our housing advisor my freshman year was a sweet, sweet guy. He liked to leave his door open as much as possible. One afternoon, my roommate and I wandered by to see him asleep on his beautifully made bed, clutching his teddy bear. It was the cutest!

  6. I’m fairly certain in my last place we were the people who everyone overheard the crazy things from. It was normal to hear things like “While I do know martial arts, I tend to avoid the alligators” and “And, y’know, what’s a better way to cleanse than to kill a bunch of babies?”

    …That was a fun household.

  7. This is accidentally seeing not hearing but still hilarious.

    In one apartment I lived in all of the apartments faced a common courtyard so you had to walk past people’s front doors to get to your door. One night I was coming home from a date at like 1:00am. My date and I went into my apartment and my date started laughing and proceeded to tell me that my neighbor, a 40ish dude of average looks, was cooking..naked. I didn’t believe my date because he was a little drunk but two weeks later I came home late again and yup, my date was not lying. That guy was totally rocking out and cooking a full meal, completely naked, at 1:00 in the morning. It still makes me giggle when I think about it.

  8. Living in an apartment complex we did hear many things from our neighbors. Turns out our bedroom wall was also their bedroom wall on the other side. The best was when we were awakened at 2 am to hearing two people singing the “Oompa Loompa” song from Willy Wonka and then proceeding to have loud sex. That must have been some crazy foreplay!

    We also heard a consoling friend one night outside our window (we lived near many bars). His friend was hurling so loud directly outside our window (luckily we were up a level). In between hurl noises we could hear the friend say, “Get ‘er done man, get ‘er done.” He just kept saying that over and over again for a good minute intermittently with the hurling noises. What a friend!

  9. Our love of wall-rattling techno, loud sex, and cooking naked prompted us to move to the country (read: Middle of Nowhere) in an attempt to not be “that couple.” After years of living next door to his old kindergarten teacher (a 90 year old man who was, unfortunately, often treated to a front row seat of the master bedroom with totally inadequate eco-friendly drapes), we figured we’d do mainstream society a favor and go live on a farm. I noticed after last night’s escapades that the dog belonging to the only neighbor we have was not only awake but absolutely HOWLING… So I’m pretty sure it didnt work. It’s not as easy as one might think to look/sound “normal” at all hours of the day and night… And on the plus side, I guess I don’t have to introduce myself now. (:

  10. I once witnessed my neighbor chastising her six-year-old as they returned from a trip to the Wild Animal Park. He apparently was unable to explain to his mother why he felt it necessary to try to pee on the head of a duck.

  11. I lived in one apartment where one wall of my living room apparently was the wall of someone’s bathroom. I heard a lot of tub squeaking while my neighbour bathed.

  12. Once I could very clearly hear my upstairs neighbors watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I did the Time Warp in my living room.

  13. In college I lived in an apartment below the “Deafies”. This is what they called themselves, and what they wrote as their name on their buzzer. Turns out there was a very close-knit deaf community at my school. It was all good til they turned into party central, and always placed their stereo speakers face down on the floor, cranked up, bass heavy, so their guests could feel the music and dance (stomp) the night away. Also, their sexy noises were off the charts, I assume because they didn’t realize just how disruptive it was to the hearing-folks downstairs. Even though it sucked at the time, I still think it’s pretty cool they had noise-vibration parties.

  14. Nothing I’ve HEARD is coming to mind, but last summer my boyfriend and I learned that our neighbour enjoys topless sunbathing in her very underfenced yard. Several minutes later, we noticed the nextNEXT door neighbour’s kid shimmying up the tree to get a good look! Too funny.

  15. My downstairs neighbour likes to put music on and sing really loudly (and badly). And sometimes he gets enamored of one song in particular, and it’ll feature prominently in his playlist. The record is “Stand By Me”, seven times in a row.

  16. I’m pretty sure I am that neighbor…

    This one doesn’t totally count but it still goes down as legendary in my book.

    My best friend and I were working as life guards summer before senior year. It was the neighborhood pool, at this time there was only one couple there. The couple started getting frisky in the pool. Best friend hollered at them to not get “anything” in the pool. The girl turned stared him squared in the eyes and said “It’s not in the pool”
    I had never seen best friend at a loss for words before.

  17. Oh man, this topic is amazing. <3

    We lived in an apartment building that was something like two houses smooshed together — you could only get to apartments A – C in the front, E-I in the back. Apartment D was in the basement and was the only one that allowed access from both ends. We went in back-end, our wall-neighbors were front-end.

    The first neighbors we had were pretty standard college students; they'd drink and they'd yell. We'd lay in bed and listen to this guy and his girlfriend get into the most insane, top-of-their-lungs screaming matches. The girlfriend didn't even live there — we have no idea why she kept coming back. Our favorite was 8AM on Fake Patties' Day:

    Guy: "NO. I WAS GOING TO WEAR THAT SHIRT TODAY!"
    Girl: "TOO BAD."

    I don't even remember how they concluded that one; they just kept going on about this shirt.

    One day they just spent three hours stomping back and forth screaming at each other. Toward the end of the fight we found out (their open living room window was something like 5 feet from our open window) that he was sitting on her purse and wouldn't give it back.

  18. The last apartment I lived in looked out over a courtyard to the apartments across the way. One building over and one floor down there lived a girl named Autumn who I’m guessing was about 4 years old. During nice weather she played out on the deck and, since she wasn’t allowed to go play in the neighborhood by herself, the other kids would gather below her apartment and throw things to her and say hello.

    One day, she was looking out between the slats in the railing saying wistfully, over and over, “Romeo, Romeo, WHERE YOU AT?”

    Another time, she was riding her tricycle in tight circles on the tiny deck and her mom called her in for lunch. She yelled back, “I can’t come in! I’m riding!”

  19. I used to live next to this couple who had these huge screaming matches all the time. I distinctly remember one time one of them yelled at the top of their lungs: “MY family–what about YOUR family???”

    In my current uber-urban home, my neighbors are actually more quiet, surprisingly. But one night a drunk guy fell over and took a little rest outside our apartment, loudly singing Latin American bolero music. He had a really beautiful voice and it was actually really lovely. Until someone else came out and chased him off…

  20. In our house in Portugal we live in a ground floor with an enormous terrace. Our upstairs neighbours have much smaller terraces overlooking ours. They can see all of it except for a small area underneath their terraces.
    Our neighbours really hate us for reasons we don’t totally understand, but seem mostly to be due to the uses we and the previous owner put our terrace to ( nothing)

    • sorry, tried to erase this I began writing in my smartphone and published by mistake, but failed to edit it or delete it! the full story is right below

  21. In our house in Portugal we live in a ground floor with an enormous terrace. Our upstairs neighbours have much smaller terraces overlooking ours. They can see all of it except for a small area underneath their own terraces.
    Our neighbours really hate us for reasons we don’t totally understand, but seem mostly to be due to the uses we and especially the previous owner put our terrace to (nothing kinky).
    So there I was one day, on the blind spot, getting ready to smoke a quiet cigarrette while looking at the street and hearing birds sing, when my directly-upstairs neighbour goes into her terrace with a friend and proceeds to bitch and moan about us. I listened, trying hard not to snicker, to all the complaints and name-calling. Then, as she was patching up, I lit up my cigarrette and took a puff of it. In the quiet workday summer afternoon, the sound of the lighter was very audible, and the smoke rising from directly underneath them made them go super quiet. Then I heard one of them whisper “you think they heard us?”. Hahaha! I had to bite my hand to keep from laughing. I smilled all day on that one! Still do when I remember it.

  22. When I lived in my on-campus apartment that had really thin walls, I heard my upstairs neighbor having sex constantly.

    Over time, and with much horror and laughter, I came to the realization that my upstairs neighbor was having sex with their furniture. There’s no other explanation for all the banging noises I heard xD

  23. I had a pair of great upstairs neighbors a few years ago. One of the most awesome things I ever heard was the guy calling out from their kitchen to the girl one Saturday morning: “I fucking love you so much!!!”

    It was adorable.

  24. I used to live upstairs from a violinist. It was wonderful to wake up to hear him practicing in the morning.

    I didn’t enjoy it so much when his beginner students came around, though.

    • 🙂 Aww, reminds me of waking up to the accordion player playing in the field/garden outside my dorm window in college. “Make a little birdhouse in your soul…”

      • We bought a house last year in the winter. Come spring/summer, we find out that at the end of our street is a dude who plays the bagpipes. in his backyard. we were out for a walk one day (okay, so we were trying to figure out which house the bagpiper was in), and we walked past his house, looked over, and he was there standing in his back yard, playing the bagpipes. (you could see him from the street because for some reason he was standing in the perfect spot to be seen through his open breezeway, it was weird). He might be my favorite neighbor, though I doubt I’d be as pleased if he was next door instead of many doors down.

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