Have you ever noticed how during summer, we all live more out in the open? We throw the windows open of our apartments, allowing the sounds of our lives to spill out onto the street for all to hear, especially our neighbours.
Those living in an apartment with windows, or a balcony, facing a Hof ( an inner courtyard ) would recognise this reality even more. We’ve gathered together a list of ways the warm summer days of open windows lead to us getting to know our neighbours more intimately during summer:
1. You get to know the shape of your naked Nachbar’s nipples
There’s nothing that makes you do a double-take more than when you look out your window and catch an eye-full of somebody’s slowly browning naked body lying back, eyes closed, positioned facing the sun on a balcony across the way.
Naked sun-baking on balconies and terraces is a common sight in Vienna and why not – everybody can appreciate the desire to get a quality, full body, no tan line colour during summer. But the sight can be unexpected if you’re not expecting it. Also unexpected is how – no matter if that naked body is beautiful, or otherwise – you find it impossible to look away. Or is that just us?
2. You get used to falling asleep – or waking up – to a chorus of primal moans & other wild animal sounds
It’s summer, life is good, people are doing the rooty-tooty a lot more often AND its open window season.
Those living in paper-thin-walled Gemeindebau are much more trained in blocking out the squeaks, squawks, moans – and in extreme situations – something that sounds like a goat giving birth while trying to yodel simultaneously as a couple go at it next door. To these experienced people, we ask you to share your wisdom to those of us only used to it in summer. We mean, we’re big promoters of getting naked and jiggy with it as often as possible, but being a spectator through sound as this soundtrack of summer fills the Hof – ahhhh, AWKWARD!
3. You get to know their music tastes
When our neighbours are playing music so loud with windows open that we can Shazam it, we kind of think of it like the neighbourhood version of Spotify’s Discover function. We’ve picked up a lot of good music this way!
We personally kind of like it that neighbours take turns setting the soundtrack of summer for the whole building complex – it gives us some small talk ammunition if we get stuck in the elevator with them one morning – ‘loved that you played Rihanna’s new album on repeat for 3 hours yesterday.’
4. You learn how often they eat Schnitzel
The indistinct sound of Schnitzel being pounded with a hammer floating out through an open window is a good indicator of a.) how many Austrians are living in your building, and b.) the neighbours your should make friends with so you can get an invite to a proper Sunday Schnitzel lunch.
5. You get to know a couple’s problems as their Telenovela is aired publicly all summer
When you think about how many people live in confined living spaces in an apartment building, you realise how likely it is that every apartment building has that one frustrated couple that are always arguing.
Forgetting (or perhaps not giving a damn) that their windows are open, you’ll often hear a couple arguing regularly and while we’re not suggesting you take advantage of somebody else’s misery, we know that it won’t be long before you’re putting bets down on how long it will take before one of them moves out.
6. As everybody’s got the summer smile, you make small talk and greet each other in the hallway
Good vibes soak the city in summer, meaning there’s more friendly smiles going around and more small talk happening on the staircase, or in the elevator. Don’t forget the tip we gave you in Nr. 3. You’re welcome.
7. You get to know their bedtime and tolerance levels when you throw a party
If you’ve lived in Vienna long enough – especially on a crowded street – you’ve probably already witnessed this familiar occurence – called by citizens with a desperate need for sleep, police officers often interrupt parties that are blasting their Ke$ha and Snoop Lion way too loud and with open windows. Sometimes, the fun adds up when police have to come a second and third time, resulting in hi-fi systems being taken away, and street credibility levels sinking to zero.
8. You get to know the layout of their apartment… if they invite you to their party
If you’re lucky enough, you’ve landed in an apartment building in which it’s common practice that a hand-written sign is stuck on the entrance door on a Friday that reads – ‘we’re having a party this Saturday night, feel free to join!.’
This presents itself as a great opportunity to get to know your neighbours…and compare the layout of their apartment to yours and how much rent they’re paying.
9. You get to know their style of parenting… especially when their child loses their sh*t
It’s only human to overhear and mentally involve yourself in other human’s business. This instinct will have you being super judge-y towards the parent neighbour who you overhear one day crying hysterically in a corner after their child has spent the last 3 hours demanding play time on the tablet.
All we’ll say to this is – instead of judging, perhaps take that neighbour a bottle of wine. Those little monsters can be little terrorists when they want to be.
10. You get to know how good (or bad) they are as musiciains
We are in Europe’s past capital of music, so there are plenty of music aficionados and musicians living here so chances are you have one as a neighbour. Now, this can go two ways – you can get the musician that you enjoy listening to, because they’re classically trained and their music is like feeding candy to your earholes.
OR you get the aspiring musician who’s music sounds like somebody is feeding a three-week old Goulash to your earholes.
11. You learn that the old guy who seems to be topless all summer has a daily routine that includes a spritzer on their balcony at 3pm
Well, it’s 3pm – Spritzer-O-clock! Before you know it, you’ll be leaving work early to join them 😉
12. You learn what kind of underwear they wear
Photo by Sascha Matuschak
Of course, with it being warm and all, people like to hang their laundry on their balcony or out their window. And, when we’re honest with ourselves, this means you get to know the kind of underwear your neighbour’s wear….which, in our opinion, says a lot about a person.
There’s nothing like that moment when you’re standing in amidst the awkward silence of a elevator ride with your neighbour and not being able to avoid imagining the Spongebob briefs on them that they had hanging out to dry yesterday.