Thursday, October 27, 2005

When roommates are heard, not seen

One of the realities of living in New York is that you gotta compromise something. You make a list of the 10 requirements for an ideal apartment, rank them, and say good bye to requirements #4 through #10, and you got yourself the most perfectest apartment you can afford. So if you want a vibrant neighborhood and affordable rent, you have to be prepared to give up, say, your own place, space and any hope of getting to sleep before the bars close.

When I moved to my current Downtown pad from Astoria, I gave up a roomy two-floor apartment with abundant natural light, a spacious newly renovated kitchen and use of my roommate's furniture because I wanted a shorter commute from a Below-14th location. Plus, I was going to save $50 in rent and hundreds in energy cost a month.

So all in all, it's a good deal, and I don't even mind living with two other people. We're rarely around and awake at the same time, and they are both good company on the few occasions that they are around when I'm home.

Which isn't to say I don't encounter complications. One night last week, I sat in my bedroom at my computer not downloading pornography when I heard the unmistakable sound of a woman in pleasure, loud enough that it could be coming out of the living room. A trip to the kitchen revealed why - my roommate's door was cracked, nay, partially open.

Now, I don't have a problem with anyone getting lucky in my apartment. It's what kids do these days. I've certainly had worse, including a traumatic sleepover at age 17 and a self-loving college dormmate who mistakenly assumed I was already asleep. My best friend in college and housemate for two years dated a couple of screamers who would not allow a mere wall to stop her from sharing her love for my friend and god with the rest of the house. I could hear them so clearly that if something should ever happen to him and I had to step in, I was sure I could do an adequate job (albeit very reluctantly). And on at least one occasion, I may very well have mortified a roommate's girlfriend with the sight of my airborne asscrack when I failed to close my door completely. It happens - when salvation is within reach, whether anyone else can hear or see the magic becomes immaterial.

But here was the thing - I was getting ready to order takeout, and not knowing my roommate's gentleman caller's stamina, what happens if the delivery guy arrived at the height of intimacy? What will he think of her? What will he think of me? Do I go close the door myself? No, too awkward. Turn up the music? Too obvious.

Unable to come up with any other options, I resigned myself to calling the order in and picking it up myself. This turned out to be the right decision, as when I came back with my food, love was still in the air. I quietly stepped past the room and into my bedroom, shut my door, wore my headphone and lost myself in music in Malaysian noodles.

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