My wife and I agree that the new neighbors are a bunch of assholes. I know this because we talk about it. A lot. We don’t mean the nice couple next door or the friendly folks in the apartments above and below us. We mean the degenerates in the adjacent building, the ones whose windows directly face ours. We have reached consensus on them and they suck.
Ever since these assholes moved in, it’s like we’re living next to the MTV Beach House, circa 2005. Incessant, horrendously loud music blares at bizarre hours. The worst part is they are truly terrible DJs, cherry-picking hideous tunes of every genre in the modern era as though they’re compiling the Spotify Playlist From Hell.
Living in New York City, we certainly don’t expect library-level peace and quiet at home. Living with two young children in a small NYC apartment, it’s actually quite noisy. But the usual domestic clamor hardly compares to the window-rattling broadcasts from the pricks across the courtyard. It gets so loud that I can barely hear myself scolding my own kids, which says a lot.
“Of all the things you would expect to keep your kids awake at night in New York City,” the missus told me recently, “some cheesedicks with outdated taste in music is an unexpected blow.”
The wife and I could go on and on about those inconsiderate assholes, their appalling playlist (they have the uncanny ability to cherry-pick the hideous tunes from every genre), and what possible childhood traumas made them this way. And we have, many times.
Our shit-talking is, frankly, the only silver lining to the whole situation. We get a lot of laughs out of name-checking the god-awful singers and songs in their unholy rotation, and trying to one-up each other with zingers about the unfortunate souls at the controls.
As a couple, shit-talking is one of the things we do best. Over a decade-plus of marriage, we’ve encountered all sorts of assholes: impossible-to-please bosses, conniving coworkers, nosy neighbors, pushy gym trainers. Between the two of us, we’ve lambasted them all.
Once we had children, we were suddenly thrust into a whole other subculture of absurdity. We’ve made a lot of solid adult friendships through our various child-centric social circles, but the way some parents behave makes you question the meaning of the term “grown-up.”
It may seem mean-spirited, but venting about these ridiculous characters and their many follies in private with our partners can actually serve a noble purpose: It brings us closer together, uniting us against a common irritant.
Of course, we don’t speak ill of everyone. We also lavish praise on close friends, family and other people we care about. But really, we can exchange those sorts of pleasantries with just about anyone. When it’s your spouse, it’s okay to have a frank and honest discussion, no matter how ugly it gets.
Indeed, there’s no better person to share your darkest thoughts with than your spouse. Marriage is a safe space for open communication that’s codified in law. If you’ve ever watched Law & Order, or any courtroom procedural for that matter, then you’re probably familiar with spousal privilege. That’s the legal term for a unique set of protections granted exclusively to married couples. It keeps your conversations confidential and prevents your spouse from having to testify against you if you ever wind up in court (and vice versa).
While no one ever intends to put their partner in such an uncomfortable position to begin with, the fact that spousal privilege even exists clearly demonstrates the importance of matrimonial harmony in American society, and should encourage you to take advantage. It means, by law, your spouse has your back.
So, go ahead, talk shit with your spouse. Tell her all about the people who make you fume, describe their transgressions in the most caustic or sarcastic ways you can, and laugh even louder when she piles on, or rips into the subjects of her own scorn like a certain set of Black Eyed Pea-loving, wannabe DJs who have no taste or concern for others. It’s a beautiful thing.