A side-effect of Athens living is that everyone is living in everyone else's pockets. I have the misfortune of living in a neighbourhood with not one but two of those horrendous little white dogs that bark endlessly. One lives in the flat above, the other across the road. They usually are content sitting on their own balconies barking pointlessly into the wee hours of the morning, but every so often they both end up on facing balconies and then all hell breaks loose.
I am not ashamed to admit that during sleepless summer nights I have more than once contemplated climbing the metal staircase and sending the offending mutt wailing over the balcony.
Last night I was sitting on the bed reading a Bill Bryson with the radio playing. Pointless Mutt upstairs was barking. Someone else was banging on a door for ages. All of a sudden a ferocious fight broke out.
Over the music I could hear a man and a woman screaming bloody murder at each other. I resisted turning off the radio and listening in. It was none of my business. The fight continued and finally the curiosity got the better of me and I switched off the radio. Now, here is what happens each time I try to eavesdrop. The fight will be going all guns blazing until my curiosity gets the better of me and I try to listen in. Then the fight instantly tunes down.
Same thing happened last night. I could only make out snatches of a conversation that seconds earlier had been louder than my music. "...that idiot... what you want... no!... you can forget it .... I .... my child ..." and lots of booming shouting in between. I could gather from the tones of voice that the man was furious and the woman was talking in that high pitched, grating voice certain women have. She was not shouting, but she was obviously busy pushing all the man's buttons because every self-righteous quip from her resulted in a furious explosion from him.
The one time I did hear everything was when some couple in the neighbourhood were making love not war. It was one of the weirdest and most disconcerting experiences. I heard every sigh, every whisper, every shout, even the sound of the bed. The couple could have been right outside my window, which I couldn't shut on such a hot night (in every sense of the word, ho ho!).
I shrank away into my pillow, embarrassed about having no choice but to hear every moment of an almost obnoxiously long night of passion and mortified that if I could hear them, then it was perfectly possible that vice versa applied too...
Now that the weather is turning I can close another chapter of summer eavesdropping for this year. I feel a little down about it. I already have my first cold and feel that the summer didn't last nearly long enough. In the part of the Home Country where I lived, summer was so long that it left no room for Autumn, sprawling across a full seven months of the year and leaving a little bit of room in between for the monsoons before taking over again. And so our seasons ran: Winter, Spring, Summer, Monsoon, Summer, Winter.