So You Can Hear Your Neighbor Having Sex

It should be noted that this is not applicable to anyone in college. In the dorms, this is a normal occurrence, and is a sign that all is right with the world. (Unless, of course, no one is having sex in your dorm. In which case, you’re probably at a Christian university, and do not truly understand what the word “fun” means.)

Now, first of all, you should probably take a couple seconds to say a hearty “Congratulations!” in your head to your neighbor. (Or, if you prefer, out loud, though he—your neighbor is a he for this example—probably won’t hear you.) He’s closed the deal and found a mate, thus fulfilling the biological imperative, even though he—hopefully—is using protection and hopefully won’t procreate.

(Hopefully because you know the guy. You know his habits and what a putz the guy can be. I mean, seriously, who leaves their trash out like that? The schmuck. The schlemiel. God forbid this guy breeds and brings another person who doesn’t realize that, no, you can’t just “plop out” the trash on the God-damned front yard and expect the fucking trash guys to pick it up. That’s unreasonable.

Ahem.)

Congrats aside, this is a very unfortunate occurrence. The man and lady are going at it at 10:30 at night when you have to be up at 5:40 in the morning in order to get to your underwhelming job which consists of staring at a CRT monitor all day and answering e-mails asking simple questions that could have been answered with a simple Google search. You’re not pleased at finding that your usual sleep routine is interrupted by an abnormally loud woman on the other side of the adjoining wall, because it will mean that getting up for your job the next morning will be even more difficult, and you can’t take another sick day without getting canned.

So what are you going to do?

Well, let’s explore your options!

 

Try To Mess Up His Game

The guy knows something about the dirty dance—evidenced by his keeping rhythm. If he’s anything like the rest of the male sex, then, probably, it’s going to take a lot of concentration to a) make it enjoyable and b) last more than half a minute.

(Any blustering about how you don’t have to concentrate will be proof that you’re compensating more than a guy with a Hummer and a pair of testicles on the back bumper.)

Since you’re a vindictive jerk—like me!—then your first option is simple: Start pounding on the wall in an arrhythmic pattern to screw up his concentration.

Think of a spastic child with a drumset. The kid doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s never heard of terms like “beats per minute,” “syncopation,” or “you’re killing the bass drum.” He just wants to be Lars Ulrich, and does what it looks like Lars is doing: Raise merry hell on those drums in front of him. Be like the spaz. Go nuts on that wall. Don’t even worry about breaking through the plaster. That comes later. Just concentrate on screwing with the guy’s mind as much as he’s screwing his girlfriend.

Scream At Them

My God, she’s a loud one. What’s up with that? Don’t people only do that in porn?

And holy shit, aren’t they concerned about the guy’s dog? What’s that dog thinking with her screaming like that? Shit, that dog probably thinks someone’s getting murdered in that house, and, damn it, it’s happening on its watch! That’s animal cruelty, right? Interrupting the beast with two backs would be saving that poor canine from mental anguish.

So, since the lady on the other side of the wall is abnormally, ah, talkative, so should you be!

But what to say? Well, obviously, nothing that could be construed as helpful. Don’t go shouting tips. But, you can’t be clichéd, either. You have to be fresh. I recommend utilizing the width and breadth of the fabulous Yiddish language. That link’s a fine place to start, and, frankly, you’ll be educating them.

It’s important to note, of course, that you’ll have to use your best stage voice. (I assume that you have a stage voice. What sort of gentleman/lady would not have a stage voice?) They won’t hear you if you’re speaking normally, and shouting is just so tacky.

Turn It Up To 11

Up until now, there’s probably been a tacit agreement between your two homes about volume. You’re sharing a wall, you’re essentially sharing space—you don’t want it to get hostile.

But now, with this shit, that agreement’s been nuked from orbit. He’s intruding on your sleep time, and, God damn it, that’s a sin on par with serial murders. No more should you be concerned about playing your music too loud on a weeknight. No more should you be too concerned about the sound of RPGs exploding in Modern Warfare 2. No more should the calls of dragons be muted by turning down your speakers. Let it rip, motherfuckers.

Or, alternately—and this is much more fun—go get that Epiphone X-Plorer out of storage—yeah, the one you tweaked to get the pick-ups sounding just right. Then go get a nice amp. (No, don’t use the one you’ve had since you were fifteen. That’s no good. That’s a practice amp. Like the stage voice in the above option, you need a stage amp.

And then what you get is a series of overdrive pedals and whammy bars that would make a black metal band think you’re going over the top. Set them up, preferably with the amp(s) right against the wall, and then play Metallica’s “The Four Horsemen.”

What’s that? You don’t know how to play the song? Well, it looks like you’ll have to learn. In the meantime, let loose with the RPGs and dragons.

Have A Conversation With Him About Being Considerate

Nah, screw that. No way that can be funny.

Advertisements

Defrauding

From: Lucretia Royal
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 11:05 AM
To: _EVERYONE
Subject: Direct Deposit E-mails

Apparently, there have been emails going around from an untrustworthy source stating that your direct deposit has been rejected.  These emails are not coming from me or anyone in the admin department.  Please ignore and do not follow any links.  Thanks!

 

From: Aaron Simon
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 11:35 AM
To: _EVERYONE
Subject: RE: Direct Deposit E-mails

Hi everyone,

Thought I’d chime in here and try to help out those who are confused. While there have been a plethora of scam artists who have tried this sort of stuff before, these e-mails are perfectly A-OK and natural. There is nothing to be concerned about with them, so please continue to e-mail bank details, DOBs, and any other requested information to the e-mail addresses listed in the e-mails. After all, you wouldn’t want to not get unpaid not, right?

-Aaron Simon

Loki Impersonator

Enrolment Guy

 

From: Lucretia Royal
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 11:55 AM
To: _EVERYONE
Subject: RE: RE: Direct Deposit E-mails

Aaron, care to tell us where you got this information? I haven’t seen anything from payroll or fiscal about problems or getting a partnership with any outside company to process our paying accounts.

 

From: Aaron Simon
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 12:01 PM
To: _EVERYONE
Subject: RE: RE: RE: Direct Deposit E-mails

Well, I could tell you, but then that would ruin the, ah, agreement we have with this company.

You know, confidentiality for everyone involved, right? Wouldn’t want a coworker to contact this company with your identification information and start having your paychecks rerouted to their accounts, would you? After all, what with the way it’s set up, such a thing would be legal due to several pieces of legislation that have gone through Congress and stated that individuals who claim that they have had direct deposits altered against their will must provide express, written proof that they did so in the event that their accounts were changed.

It’s a lot of hassle, really, and not something I’d want to put up with. God knows you probably wouldn’t, eh, coworker?

So, for everyone involved, it’s best to send all correspondence to the address that contacted you.

Remember: Due to processing constraints, you must also fax a copy to 615.555.0373.

-AS

Enrollment dude

 

From: Lucretia Royal
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 12:37 PM
To: _EVERYONE
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: Direct Deposit E-mails

Everyone, disregard Aaron’s e-mails.

I’ve just been in contact with payroll and they have no record of any such agreement ever being set up.

DO NOT SEND YOUR CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION TO THIRD PARTIES.

 

From: Yonna Turner
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 1:03 PM
To: Aaron Simon
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Direct Deposit E-mails

Hi Mr. Simon,

Following up on Ms. Royal’s e-mails, I was wondering how you seem to know so much about these supposed agreements. I trust that nothing untoward has been occurring. I don’t want to make a stink about anything, but frankly, we’ve been warned about you and, while it would apparently be incredibly difficult to have you fired or otherwise let go, we would—in the event that something illegal was happening—be able to pursue venues to terminate your tenure at this agency.

Best,

Yonna Turner

Fiscal Aide

 

From: Aaron Simon
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 2:21 PM
To: Yonna Turner
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Direct Deposit E-mails

You’ve got a weird name, you know that? Swedish or something? Knew a Swede once. Magnus. He punched a pigeon out of the air. Anyway.

Swede:

I appreciate your warning and heads-up. Always good to know that I’ve got someone on my side, you know? Especially since I’m down here in a coven of social workers. Oh, they go on about their ethics all the time, but I tell them about the need—nay, the imperative—of the individual to emerge victorious over adversity of all kinds, and they start prattling about how it’s wrong to take money from the elderly—even when they’re willing to empty their own bank accounts!—just because the grey-hairs have dementia or some shit.

Sickening, isn’t it? But, hey, that’s what you get with these do-gooders.

Anyway, so since you contacted me, I assume that you’re willing to be a partner in this endeavor. Since I’m the one putting my name and neck on the line, I’d be hesitant to go 50/50 with you, but if you agree to cover my tracks in the fiscal department, then I reckon I can go 70/30.

Considering the amount of cash I’m siphoning out of this place every couple of weeks, you’ll be sitting pretty.

Assuming, of course, we manage to get that worm Hayward’s account. I’m sure he’s pulling upper $60s.

Aaron Simon

Your Partner In Crime

 

From: James Gottfried
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 3:31 PM
To: Aaron Simon
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Direct Deposit E-mails

Want to explain this:

[begin quoted text]

You’ve got a weird name, you know that? Swedish or something? Knew a Swede once. Magnus. He punched a pigeon out of the air. Anyway.

Swede:

I appreciate your warning and heads-up. Always good to know that I’ve got someone on my side, you know? Especially since I’m down here in a coven of social workers. Oh, they go on about their ethics all the time, but I tell them about the need—nay, the imperative—of the individual to emerge victorious over adversity of all kinds, and they start prattling about how it’s wrong to take money from the elderly—even when they’re willing to empty their own bank accounts!—just because the grey-hairs have dementia or some shit.

Sickening, isn’t it? But, hey, that’s what you get with these do-gooders.

Anyway, so since you contacted me, I assume that you’re willing to be a partner in this endeavor. Since I’m the one putting my name and neck on the line, I’d be hesitant to go 50/50 with you, but if you agree to cover my tracks in the fiscal department, then I reckon I can go 70/30.

Considering the amount of cash I’m siphoning out of this place every couple of weeks, you’ll be sitting pretty.

Assuming, of course, we manage to get that worm Hayward’s account. I’m sure he’s pulling upper $60s.

Aaron Simon

Your Partner In Crime

[end quoted text]

Pretty heinous stuff, there. But I’m sure it’s just another joke.

 

From: Aaron Simon
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 4:14 PM
To: James Gottfried
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Direct Deposit E-mails

Yep! Another joke! Oh, man, I can’t believe she forwarded that to you. It’s almost like she thought I was being serious with that. I mean, what kind of jerk would defraud a non-profit? You’d have to be a real slimeball to even think about doing something like that, right?

Best,

Aaron Simon

Good Employee

Enrollment Coordination Specialist

 

From: Aaron Simon
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 4:15 PM
To: Yonna Turner
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Direct Deposit E-mails

Just remember that your name and address are a matter of public record.

Meditation and Making Shit Up

This year marks the first time that I’m taking place in National Novel Writing Month. In the past, I thought “Damn, that’s pretty friggen intense, writing a full novel in the space of one month.” And, well, that idea hasn’t really changed. What has changed, though, is I inadvertently did the same thing last year, ever weekday morning, as I rode the train from Canterbury to London, then back again.

I got it down to a method, you see. I’d wake up ungodly early, curse, make some coffee, get ready, and schlep down the big fucking hill and down the deserted streets of Canterbury by about 6:45. Then, I’d sit down on a bench at the rail station until the train pulled up, at which point—by now sweating quite a bit, this being August, and any time it’s above sixty degrees, I erupt into a ball of sweat—I’d pull on my headphones, put on Beethoven’s Ninth, and work on The Adventures of Cloyd Blank.

I’d long since passed the point of what I needed to do for my dissertation, and I kept with the book just to see if I could finish it. I knew I wouldn’t complete it that summer, though. I was planning on it being about 75,000 words and I was only about 20,000 into it at that point. I just made it a point to continue my up-until-then upheld writing schedule, and tried to see what came out of it.

So, when I saw all the posts on Google+ about NaNoWriMo, I figured, “Eh, what the hell?”

See, one of the things that got me thinking seriously about being a writer instead of some dude who wrote stories as a way to amuse people, thus ingratiating himself among everyone in high school, and thus not getting his ass kicked on a daily basis (it worked!) was reading Stephen King’s On Writing.

Amongst all the grammar chapters which were oh-so-necessary but, well, not even Stephen King can make grammar interesting, there were a few chapters about what it takes to be a writer—to even have a chance of making it, as it were. And one of the most important points in the book was to write something every day. Set a goal—start small at first—and do that every day. Doesn’t matter if it’s a time limit or a word count, the point was to do something every day, and make that a firm part of your mind.

So I started doing it towards the end of high school, then stopped in college, because I discovered all the glories of drinking.

But, around the time when I snapped out of that haze when I returned from England in ’07, I realized that I needed to get back on track. I looked back at the writing I’d done in the past, and saw the vast improvement when I was writing daily, then the stagnation that followed, and decided that I had nothing to lose.

And—just about—since then I’ve kept at it. The result is that I’m sitting on a mound of unpublished stuff (some, admittedly, unpublishable—but hey, that’s why I have this site). But, the other result is that I’ve had three stories published and two under contract. And, what’s more, those suckers have promised to pay me for my nonsense.

What rubes!

Anyway, the point is that the whole write every day thing has a purpose other than making you think about going into engineering, chemistry, or something that doesn’t equate to massive amounts of rejection: It’s to make you realize that writing isn’t special.

Because, and I hate to counter everyone who’s ever filled your head with nonsense about The Muse, inspiration, dreams coming to life, or anything else that makes you start to think—even for a second—that you’re some mystical oracle bringing to life things in other dimensions, writing isn’t special.

That is, the act of writing isn’t special. Nor is the whole rush that you get when you get an idea. That’s just your brain/you entertaining itself/yourself when you hear/think of something cool. Nothing’s reaching across a cart and slapping you in the face with a hot dog.

All of that is just a metaphor for that cool buzz you get, and that’s The Truth.

(You can trust me. I have an M.A.)

But—BUT—that doesn’t mean that you should stop because it’s not fulfilling your hopes and dreams. You’ve still got the ability to tell a story that’s entertaining. Maybe your book will be the thing that brightens someone’s day. Maybe it’ll be something to get people to look at the world in a different light. If you ask me—little old cynical me—that’s so much better than hogging some New Agey idea of inspiration for yourself.

And, really, that’s the point of making yourself write every day. You push through all the bullshit that stoned-out poets say in their work and realize that writing a story is as normal and real as a whiff of a fart in a crowded subway.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Jesus, what is wrong with this guy?”

To that answer, I bring you to Enlightenment as seen by a guy named Brad Warner. He’s a certified Zen priest and—like a lot of people—a published author. I mention him in particular, because his book, Sit Down and Shut Up introduced me to a take on Zen Buddhism that I really dug. The reason I dug the specific take was that it really tried to drill the understanding that enlightenment is no more important a thing than—guess what—a fart in the wind.

In other words, it’s not something to be glorified and concentrated on. Zazen, the meditating thing you see monks doing in movies about The Mysterious East, is an incredibly boring process involving nothing but sitting in an uncomfortable position, staring down your nose, and trying not to have thoughts. And, some would tell you, that process itself is enlightenment.

It’s the same in writing, really. You’re sitting at a desk—for example—with nothing in front of you for distraction. (God help you if you have something shiny in front of you. That, by virtue of being a physical object, is so much more interesting than your writing projects.) You’re concentrating on one thing and one thing alone, and in order to do that one thing, you have to perform an inane task: smash a keyboard enough to form words until you’re done for the day.

It’s beyond question that you need some sort of “inspiration” in order to write, otherwise you’ll just churn out either nonsense or a surrealist masterpiece. But the thing is that “inspiration” as a word has been co-opted by sleazy self-help gurus and dudes stinking of patchouli who really want you to see their new chapbook of poetry. So let’s not use that. Let’s think of something else that doesn’t reek of pretension. In the meantime, let’s stick with “Holy damn you guys, lookit this idea I got!”

All of the above is about why I’m sitting around for an indeterminate amount of time to write 2,200 words a day and, thus, have the bulk—if not a full—of a novel finished by the end of November. Because in order to get something done, you have to take away all the pretension and realize that your chosen career is incredibly stupid, but you like it anyway, because living in your make believe worlds can be fun.

This, by the way, is why I always say “I make shit up,” whenever anyone asks what I do. Because that’s what I do, and that’s what you, my writer friend, should do as well. Don’t bother with art. Just make shit up. Let other people tell you it’s art.