One of my favorite hobbies is listening to my neighbor’s phone conversations while cooking my meals. I am not an incurable gossip. My natural self-absorption, a somewhat Asperger-ish streak, makes me be quite the opposite. But her kitchen window is right in front of mine, separated by an inner courtyard. She speaks so loud that, unless I put my wireless headphones over my head at extremely high volume, it is impossible not to hear her voice.
Hearing is not the same as listening, that is true. Many people use those two verbs interchangeably, not taking into account intention. I began hearing my neighbor completely against my will some years ago, annoyed for the acoustic infliction of her rather high pitched, strident voice. I must confess that, in a very short time, I went from hating walking into the kitchen to wishing with my whole heart that my neighbor delighted me with one of the many phone conversations she usually has with her friends.
She is a housewife from Monday to Thursday, in her padded dressing-gown and pompom slippers. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays our heroine dresses up and goes hunting around. She is a born predator, hooking up with a man as quickly and easily as she chucks another one. I have problems remembering their names, so many of them coming and going in such a short time. And I have a very good memory.
So, I am a front-row listener, hidden behind the Roman shades, to the detailed account of her glorious, great feats. What ruses she invents, the Machiavellian, schemer! How she brings her victims round the moment she picks them! No way out for the poor devil once she has set her eyelinered eyes on him. They never have a chance!
Oh, how I enjoy myself listening to the stories of her conquests! She finds them, catches them, uses them, squeezes them and, after a short while, she gives them the boot.
And they all fall into the trap, even though they think themselves to be all that and a bag of chips. Oh, how I admire this praying mantis, this lethal female scorpion, this artful black widow spider who gulps them down and defecates them without digesting them!
She gave the last one a good ticking-off. I even feared for him, the poor bastard, crouched down in my hiding place under the kitchen sink, without missing a word of her fierce philippic. The fool had been her favorite, the most long-lasting simpleton, the one who she had most gushed about, the most flattered and pampered, the one she had taken more trouble to cajole until she finished him off. He went from being a hot sexy guy, very Brad Pitt-like, intelligent and funny, to be the most butt-ugly troll in a jiffy. A flabby, stupid, boring loser. A dim-witted dupe, half bald and with hellish halitosis.
I don’t want to miss those serials, not for all the gold in the world. My neighbor is sharp as a tack, a real source of inspiration. I may volunteer to write her biography someday, since it’s just not fair that the world should be unaware of the setups of that genius of inane romantic affairs.