“It doesn’t want to drop, huh?”

Like a lot of cheap apartment buildings, mine has thin walls, so I can often hear my neighbors. The bathrooms were built back-to-back, so some drywall and hollow space is all that separates my neighbor's john from mine. If I’m in or near my bathroom, and my neighbor is in his, I can hear him taking a shower, or brushing his teeth. Usually I leave the bathroom fan running, cuz it helps drown out any unwanted neighbor-noise.

One night, I woke up and needed to do a #2 at around three in the morning. As I was sitting on the porcelain, I heard grunting, and quickly surmised that my neighbor was sitting on his toilet at the same time I was sitting on mine. The grunts weren’t overly dramatic or exaggerated, just gentle groans, but the fan wasn't on, so all sounds came through clearly.

It was 3:00 in the morning. I was alone in my apartment, and wishing I was asleep, so I was in a don’t-give-a-shit mood even while I was taking a shit. I said, “It doesn’t want to drop, huh?” Said it at my normal speaking volume, neither loudly nor softly, but I knew it would carry through the wall.

There was silence, and I wondered whether I’d regret making conversation on the crapper. Bad manners of me, I know. Also maybe dangerous — I’ve never met this neighbor, and he might be a big gruff weight-lifter who'll pound on my door and then pound on me. After several seconds, though, my self-second-guessing was interrupted by laughter from behind the wall. Even more to my surprise, it was a woman’s laughter.

Wait a minute, my neighbor was a man, I thought, just from overhearing him singing in the shower months or years earlier. Well, apparently the man next door had moved out, and the woman next door had moved in.

When we’d finished laughing I went back to my own efforts. Neither of us said anything, but soon there came a splash. That sound is unmistakable — you’ve heard it when you're in an otherwise quiet public stall, but when you’re home alone and the splash comes from your neighbor’s toilet, it’s hilarious, or at least we thought so. I started laughing, she laughed too, and then she flushed and said good night through the wall.

That’s the first and last time my neighbor and I have spoken. It’s been months, and I haven’t met her, and have no desire to. This is not the set-up for a romantic comedy, and we're not going to become friends. We were just two shits that passed in the night.

I keep the bathroom fan running 24/7 now, and usually poop discreetly, with only whispered grunts. If I can hear her on the toilet then she can hear me, and neither of us wants that. I still sing in the shower, though, and so does she.



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