The other night, I was trying to fall asleep but could not settle down no matter how many positions I tried. While lying on my left side, my shoulder seemed alarmingly close to dislocating. While on my right, my hip dug too sharply into the bed. On my back, I could not shake the feeling that I was stiff as a board. I did that relaxation technique of clenching and then unclenching my muscles, starting at my toes, in an effort to mellow the hell out so I could at least squeeze in five hours of sleep before work, but my efforts were thwarted by our downstairs neighbours.

Our downstairs neighbours are punks with a penchant for noise-making. Their conversations are held from disparate ends of their apartment at high volume. They play their music loud. Their friends stomp noisily down the hall on their way in and out of the building. It shouldn't surprise me, then, that they like to yell while they experiment enthusiastically with their newfound activity, S&M.

You see, we share a water pipe that runs up from their bedroom and through ours. This water pipe we share carries sound quite clearly from one apartment to another, and as a result, I am already well aware that their bed is situated right next to it. And how often they have sex. And what she likes to say while they have sex. She's a talker, a talker who has watched porn movies, because her oh yeah baby is bang on.

I sound like one of those weirdo letch neighbours who drills holes through the floor and peeks through your mailbox, but I'm not, I swear. It is just simply too difficult to ignore it when oh yeah oh yeah Oh Yeah OH YEAH OH YEE-AH! is drifting up through your water pipe and you are trying very hard to concentrate on an article in your latest issue of The Sun magazine.

The S&M thing is new, though, and it goes something like this:

Woman: Oh uh-huh uh-huh oh yeah...
Man: Grunt. Grunt grunt grunt.
Woman: yeah oh yeah uh-huh oh...
Man: Ow! Fuck! Ow! Now you've gone too far!
Woman: Ha ha ha ha ha. [evil cackling]
Man: Grunt. Grunt grunt grunt.
Woman: uh-huh oh yeah uh-huh oh yeah...
Man: Ow! Fuck! You've gone too far again!
Woman: Ha ha ha ha ha. [evil cackling]

I'm thinking that we should give them a copy of SM 101: A Realistic Introduction, because they need to learn some basics, like safe words. I would much rather hear BANANA! or BLUEBIRD! coming up the pipe than Fuck, woman, not so hard! At least I could pretend that they were dadaists or obsessive-compulsives or something else other than people suffering from cruelly twisted nipples.

World Freehand Circle Drawing Champion