Every year, Jack and I emcee the Sycamore Shoals Celtic Festival, in gratitude of which they give us a small stipend and a big room in a grand hotel.
For the past four years it’s been the Carnegie, a nice place in JC that features huge bathrooms, glorious hallway chandeliers, and paper-thin walls. Last night Jack and I settled into our room with the requisite Indian take-out meal from Sahib’s, mid-term grading for me and Scottish political sites for Jack.
About half an hour later, we glanced at each other. Strange noises were coming from the hallway. It sounded as though a child were throwing up.
“No, that’s the room beside us,” Jack said, as I started to open the door leading to the hall. He indicated the wall with a flick of his head.
I stood at the point where the noise seemed loudest and listened again. The soft, ah-ah-ah gasps escalated to something like crying.
“This kid is in pain,” I said to Jack. “Do you hear an adult in the room? Should we knock?”
At that moment a male voice said, “Good girl, do it again” and my whole assessment of the situation shifted. Jack and I shot back from the wall as though, well, shot.
The voices continued, rumbling, mumbling, giggling, and that high, heated shrieking the gasps had turned into. There were sounds of spanking, and choking. “Are you all right?” “Oh yeah, that was amazing!”
Jack and I glanced at each other, at the clock by our bed (10:45), at our empty, neatly made bed, and busted up laughing. At some point marriages turn into “Let’s get a good night’s sleep” instead of “I’ll have what she’s having.”
And that’s okay. Don’t get the wrong idea; sex shared with the right person has no equal. But it also has no need of broadcasting. Sex just doesn’t sound like much fun at all when you’re not the one having it. Erotic asphyxiation is definitely off my list. She sounded like a poodle with asthma.
So is the Carnegie Hotel, perhaps. Next year we’re asking for the Comfort Inn. Fare-thee-well, paper thin walls that bring more than someone else’s TV into your life.