The Sounds of Fucking

are all I hear right now at 11:48 p.m. on Friday night.

My upstairs neighbor is getting laid. This will make the third time in Portland that I have lived in a place with walls thin enough to hear people cough. Of course I am going to hear them fuck!

The fact that we are all staying home more due to the Corona virus doesn’t help with the privacy factor. I work from home and I am self isolating at home. Leaving only for food, weed, and the self service station at the post office.

This means I see the patterns of my neighbors lives in a way that would have not been apparent to me pre-Corona virus times.

I don’t mean to be a hater. I’m not jealous even though I can say I wouldn’t mind if it was me getting laid. I will even admit that I watch porn so clearly I don’t mind sex noises ( I like them when I chose to hear them ) ( or make them ). I just don’t want to be in the position where I can’t escape other people’s sex noises.

The first time I couldn’t escape was when I first moved to Portland, Oregon. I moved into a basement apartment. A family had turned the basement of their home into a 3 bedroom rental situation. Only one of the bedrooms had a bathroom in it. Each bedroom had its own locked door. I shared the other bathroom with the third roommate. Otherwise we shared the kitchen and the living room.

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The roommate with the bathroom in his room turned out to be into the BDSM lifestyle. He was a Dom. He had many Submissives. At one point, I think I saw a different girl every day for 5 days in a row. He didn’t discriminate. The women came in all shapes and sizes. Gotta give him credit for that. It was just all the sex noises. How would you like to be constantly woken up in the middle of the night to loud fucking sounds?! I would yell through my wall sometimes – ” for the love of god, please just turn on some music”

I rather be woken up to music than the sounds of his fuck session. One time the other roommate and I sat outside his door at 5:00 a.m. and made loud fake sex noises of our own. That’s was fun! We laughed so hard for months. Another time, I was walking in the door from a long hard day of work, just to be met with the sounds of the Dom at it again. I yelled again for music.

I realize sex is a part of life. It is natural. It is fun. Where does the line get drawn when the walls are thin and it affects the people you live with?

Eventually I moved. Fast forward 7 years later…. I move into a studio apartment- by myself. I am excited to live alone again after not being able to do so for four years. I moved into a building with 8 apartments. I met one of the neighbors right away, a nice younger couple that have been in the building for eight years. I had not had the opportunity to meet the person who lived above me before I “heard” him. One weekend was especially bad. I couldn’t sleep because all I could hear was his music. It wasn’t obnoxious however I could sing along with the words of the song playing. If I am unable to sleep because the music is too loud, we have a problem. Second to bodily pain, nothing makes me grouchier than lack of sleep. It was about 11:30 p.m. when I started banging on the ceiling with a broom. No change made. Around 2:00 a.m. I plugged my Goal Zero external speaker into my cell phone, turned it up as loud as it would go with electronic music and placed it on the highest surface I had facing the ceiling. No change made. Normally I would have a conversation but here it was in the middle of the night, I was naked, I had been banging on the ceiling and playing loud music with no results. I was mad. I couldn’t even entertain the visual of a conversation. When the sex noises came at 5:30 a.m. I found a YouTube clip to play to let them know I could hear them – I rather hear this than the neighbor

Do you think they got the point? I can hear everything. I want you to know that I can hear everything. I really need to replace my earplugs.

I didn’t have to deal with it more than a couple months because he moved. I live in a great location therefore it didn’t take long for a new person to move in. This time I made sure to introduce myself right away. There was a gentlemen helping her move which she said was just a friend. I wanted her to know the walls are thin and if there was ever a time my music was too loud, she could give a friendly bang or text me and I would turn it down. I was wishfully thinking it would translate into her being aware ALL sounds can be heard through the walls.

Everything was going along nicely….

Until the sex noises started. FML. I wasn’t going to play the sex noises in retaliation. I didn’t want to change the dynamic of our friendly relationship. I dealt with it. It started to become more frequent and I found myself in the same situation. I rather hear music than the sounds of other people fucking. This Michael Jackson song is a great distraction – It is six minutes long, which is plenty of time for my neighbors to wrap it up. I really like it which means I get into it and can forget for a few minutes that I am bothered.

After listening to it a handful of times, I think I need to switch up the song. There could be the potential for miscommunication. Wanna be Startin Something? LOL

Do you have a suggestion for me? I need a couple go to songs. In the moment when I am scrambling, my mind can go blank and then I reach for MJ. I have mixed feeling about MJ after watching the Neverland Documentaries.

Do you think it’s rude of me to turn up music to drown out the sex noises coming from my upstairs neighbor? Is it reasonable to say that since I am the only person I can control, that I am making the necessary adjustment for my comfort?

I am not entirely sure which side of the coin I land on. I do know that I just want to get to sleep peacefully. In a nice, dark, quiet, and cold room. Where you will find me naked. Puhlease don’t mess that up for me unless you want to be drowned out with song.

Goodnight everyone.

Vacation Alone? Yes Please

Canada eh

This year I wanted to spend my birthday in Canada. I have heard how beautiful it is and I wanted to see it with my own eyes. People keep recommending taking the ferry from Seattle over to Victoria. Then I would continue to ferry up to Vancouver.

This birthday trip seemed like the perfect opportunity to make it a solo adventure. I have yet to take a big trip myself and I was ready for one. I decided traveling solo would be better partly because it can be challenging coordinating with other people and partly because every time I have traveled with others there has been some drama. I’m tired of drama.

I spend a lot of alone time already so going on vacation couldn’t be much different. It wasn’t. I loved every minute of it!

I really enjoyed creating each day to my liking. Going to eat whenever and wherever my heart desired. I didn’t have to feel bad going to bed early. I didn’t feel bad for not wanting to drink all the time. I didn’t have to be a third wheel or a fifth wheel. I enjoyed each and every day of my vacation.

One time I went to Puerto Rico with four other girls whom were close friends. Upon arriving it became so apparent I was the fifth wheel (and the only person who spoke Spanish). During our kayaking trip, I was the odd man out and paired with another solo person who ended up flirting with the instructor the entire time, leaving me stuck in the back seat miserable. Another evening we were invited to our Snuba instructor’s house for dinner. After dinner was over we were gathered in the kitchen when he asked us -“If you had to vote someone off the island who would it be?” It was such an awkward silence because we all knew it was me. Then the straw that broke me was the day they made plans on how to spend their entire day and they didn’t bother to ask me what I wanted to do. I didn’t like their plan. After crying in the shower, I decided to take my day into my own hands. I called the guy we went Snuba diving with and asked if I could go on the boat. I spent the entire day with various people in the Caribbean Sea. The following morning, I arranged a separate ride to the airport. I went to the Bodies exhibit and to play some Blackjack at the casino before catching the flight home.

One time I went to Europe with a girl I’ve known for a long time but hadn’t seen in over 10 years. I thought I was going to get this bonding sister trip instead she prioritized men. Making out with a man that worked at the Louvre when we were supposed to go for just a drink. Then someone how I am talking her out of going to his house for the night and meeting me in the morning when we were leaving for Rome. We made it to Amalfi when a local gentlemen came out of his shop to flirt with me. He invited us to his house for dinner and it was my turn to say we would go. My friend also thought the local gentlemen was attractive, flirted all night and in the end she was making out with him. This put a damper on the rest of the trip even though I refused to let it ruin it.

One time I went to Hawaii to visit a new friend. Once I arrived she was inseparable from her live in boyfriend and suddenly I found myself being the third wheel. I didn’t even like this guy which made it extra hard to deal with. I admired her independent spirit. She expected me to act with the same level of independence. I was hoping for some bonding. Since I wasn’t as independent as she was and she worked alot when I was there, it was a rough trip. In hindsight, this trip would prepare me for being able to move around more independently from that moment on. It would show me how to have fun by myself. Next level solo fun-beyond movies,meals and shopping. These skills would contribute to the success of my first solo adventure to Canada.

My solo trip to Canada was the best traveling experience I’ve had to date. I got to see the Nutcracker at the Royal McPherson Theater. I met the nicest family from Australia. I spent time with myself. Traveling, resting, exploring, and connecting with fellow humans. Happy Birthday to me ❤

Where to next?

Calm Down

Does this phrase actually make anyone feel calmer?

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When it is said to me, it evokes the opposite response.

One day the washing machine at the house broke forcing me to go to the Laundromat. I like going to Spin Laundry Lounge because there are video games to play while you wait, their dryers are awesome, the prices are relatively reasonable and depending on which location you choose, there are snack options.

In addition to getting my laundry done, I was on a research mission for information about the Laundromat. My roommates have never been and they would also need to get their laundry done. I located two empty, smaller size washing machines next to each other and put my clothes in them. There is a spin dial to choose water temperature and desired cycle. I am guilty of not reading all the information before getting started with things. Today would be no different. I picked the cheapest cycle and swiped my credit card to pay. Then I realized there were more options. I wanted to wash them in cold water (which cost .25 cents extra). I guess it was too late. When both loads had finished, I took out the hang to dry items and loaded the rest in one big dryer. I went back to the washing machines to take photos to send to the roommates when I noticed there was a balance of .25 on the washing machine I had just used. I was confused by this therefore I located the only employee working to ask her what was going on. She followed me over, asked me a few questions and then said she didn’t know. She wasn’t even sure if they had gotten washed. Hhhhmmmmm that’s odd, they felt damp when I moved them to the dryer. She said it would have just done a prewash which would explain why they were damp. All I know is I needed my clothes to be clean.

It wasn’t worth taking chances so I went over to the dryer to pull that one load out to rewash. I expressed a bit of my frustration with this process and lack of knowledge when she suddenly says to me to ” I’m just trying to help you – calm down.”

The best part about this is: I wasn’t even that upset about it. I was just expressing my emotion. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was maybe a level 3.

I couldn’t believe she was saying this to me. I know myself. I know when I am being “extra” and when I am not. I know how people can react to me when I am acting “extra” and this situation wasn’t even close. Her words didn’t make me feel any calmer, like I said before it has the opposite effect on me. I immediately knew the conversation had taken a turn and we were in a different place now. A place I didn’t want to deal with. It can be a tremendous amount of work to get strangers to a place of real understanding of who you are and what you are communicating. It suddenly occured to me she was taking it personally. All she needed to do was give me the space to express my moment of frustration and we could all move on. So in that moment, the conversation was over for me. I told her, Thank you, I got it, and I didn’t need anything else. She walked away.

Over the years, I have come to realize when a misunderstanding is taking place. I would love it if everyone knew what everyone was saying all of the time. I also know that people are looking through their own lense at life. They can only meet you from where they are. Sometimes I take the time to correct the misunderstanding. Sometimes the moment is happening so quick and there is not time to do all that is necessary to get back on the same page. I made the assumption of how much work it was going to take based on her response of taking things personally and decided to just end the exchange. I wonder if this was the right thing to do.

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Another time I have been told to calm down, recently, was my first day in Spanish Conversation class. I enrolled in class through Portland Community College to solve a parking challenge at work and get more Spanish in my life. I work on the waterfront right in front of the Eastbank Esplanade in Portland Oregon. There isn’t any parking besides two private parking lots for business and one parking lot for a PCC campus. The class I signed up for is non credit evening class that takes me 30 minutes to drive to once a week however I love it.

The semester had been in progress for several weeks when I arrived for the first time. There was homework from the previous week that, understandably, I wasn’t aware of. I didn’t have the book nor did I plan on purchasing it. I was hoping for just conversation. It’s been years since I have taken a class and my Spanish skills were rusty. Midway through the class it was time for everyone to read their homework. Two jokes and a short story. There were only three other people besides myself and the professor. When it would have been my turn, I said with excitement, I don’t have any jokes because today is my first day. The teacher immediately told me to calm down, in a nice calm way a few times. I was immediately offended. Once again, expressing emotion was causing someone to tell me to tone it down. I wasn’t even upset until this phrase was said to me.

It took a few days of reflection and analyzation to figure out what exactly bothered me so much. I think that because she didn’t know me and her reaction to my expression was one of correction. She wanted me to be different. Therefore telling me to calm down felt like a rejection of my personality. When I feel rejected, I go into self preservation mode. I either let the full force of my personality out and I don’t care who likes it or I withdrawal completely. Either way, I am not trying to be likable. I don’t know why I respond this way but I do.

Thinking about that moment in class over and over again led me to this realization.

I am an emotional creature. A very emotional creature. Sometimes I show that emotion when expressing myself verbally.

Maybe the other person is uncomfortable with the level of emotion that I am expressing and saying calm down is their way of trying to control the situation to bring it to a level of comfort for them. (Emotional Contagion). I don’t need to take it personally! I can understand what is happening for the other person and adjust where I can.

I hope I am able to maintain this point of view so that the next time someone tells me to calm down, I won’t feel the need to be so reactive.

I’m sorry, you must have me mistaken…

Growing up in Colorado Springs, there was competition between civilian and military men to date the local ladies. Many girls wanted to date the Air Forces boys and I was no different. There is something very attractive about the uniform.

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When I was 19 years old, I dated an Air Force Academy Cadet. He was my first boyfriend. He was good looking and so was his group of friends. He would turn 21 years old while we were dating. I was not going to let my catch of a boyfriend start to go out to the bars without me. I wanted to remain his girlfriend.

The night of his 21st birthday, his squadron took him out drinking. I knew where they were going and I talked my way in to give him a surprise. I went with a friend and sat at a table far enough away to see him and not have him see me. I waited for about 20 minutes before I found his waitress so I could send over a drink, along with my house key and a note that said – “Thought you were cute so I bought you a drink, would you like to come to my place after?”

It was great to watch his group of friends surveying the room to see who this girl could be. It didn’t take long for someone to spot me 🙂

His birthday night confirmed that I would need to find a way to be able join him in the future.

I worked with a girl named Carrie McClary. Carrie was cool and understood my dilemma. She offered to let me use her birth certificate and social security card to get a fake ID. I planned to get one in a different state since states don’t share databases. I had plans to join my boyfriend for one of his trips back home. He came to the AF Academy from West Dundee, Illinois. West Dundee is a suburb of Chicago.

He made frequent trips home to visit his family. Once things got serious between us, I started to travel with him. I love Chicago. I have super fond memories of going to Arlington Race Horse Track, Medieval times , shopping in Schaumberg, gambling on the Riverboats in Elgin, and spending New Year’s Eve downtown Chi-town. I figured getting an ID would be easier than getting a drivers license. In Illinois you need 3 things to get an ID. A birth certificate, social security card and proof of address. How was I going to prove residency in a state I didn’t live in with a name that wasn’t really mine?

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I was shocked when my boyfriend ‘s conservative, religious parents agreed to help. They let me use their home address. They owned a manufacturing company so they wrote me a letter to my fake name, welcoming me to my new position with their company. Genius!

Let get fake ID adventure begin. We started out at the DMV in Elgin. I can’t remember why they turned me down but they did so we ended up going to the DMV in Woodstock. It worked. I got my fake ID in Woodstock, Illinois.

At the time I was working for General Meters Corp. General Meters Corporation is a developer and provider of one-card systems for college and university campuses. All I had to do was walk downstairs and scan the universities they had contracts with, find one from Chicago, and convince my buddy that worked in that department to help me create a student ID with my fake name. This would prove to save my ass a few months later.

Having a fake ID meant freedom. The most important freedom for me at the time was the ability to keep up with my boyfriend and his friends.

Frequently our group would go play Blackjack in Cripple Creek, Colorado. One time when we were there, I was sitting at a table playing blackjack when an undercover policeman came over to question me. He wanted to see some ID. I gave him the fake one. He asked me why I didn’t have my drivers license. I am a terrible liar and the only thing I could think of to say was that I had gotten into some trouble drinking and driving therefore I was unable to have a license. I also had a backup college ID to show him. He was satisfied and left me to gamble.

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Once I came really close to having my fake ID taken from me. One weekend night we went to Crocodile Rocks. Crocodile Rocks was a night club in the corner of a strip mall that was “the place to go” for dancing and such. No sooner had I entered the establishment and was making my way across the dance floor towards the bar when I was tapped on the shoulder by a bouncer asking for my ID. I pulled it out and gave it to him. He said ” Looks good to me” but my supervisor wants to see it. He started to make his way to the front of the club so I followed right behind him. Thank goodness my boyfriend noticed and started to follow us too. As soon as we met up with the supervisor I knew I was in trouble. We knew each other from high school.

He looked me straight in the eye and said, ” I know you, your name is Julie ****** and you are too young to be here”. I felt panicky on the inside and was scrambling for a way to not get caught. I looked him straight in the eye back and said, “I’m sorry , you must have me mistaken for someone else”. My boyfriend also started to explain that I was his girlfriend from back home who was in town for a visit. He pulled out his wallet to show his Illinois drivers license along with his military ID. I pitched such a fit, demanding my ID back and the cover charge we paid since we were leaving. It worked. Got my ID and the cover and we were off to another bar. We vowed never to return there until I was really 21 years old, which would just be another year. Plenty of other places to go.

I can’t believe how close I came to getting caught but never did. I’m not a big drinker, never have been. Even with a fake ID I wasn’t. Now that I am old enough to drink and gamble, I look back at that time in my life with amazement. Amazement and Gratitude.

Last year was the first year I stopped getting carded when going to bars. Time flies when you’re having fun! And now that I’m in my forties I guess it’s come full circle. It feels better to live life without having to lie about your age. I haven’t had to for decades now ❤