"If I can listen to your orgasms, you can listen to my kids' yelling."

Living in the city means listening in on each other’s lives. And at least these things are happy sounds. Right?

Is there a more beautiful sound in the world than children laughing? Yes, yes there is. And last night, I heard it a lot.

My neighbour has been having a great deal of sex lately. And it’s summer. It’s hot. So the windows between our apartment blocks are open.

As a result, I’ve been hearing a lot of orgasms. Even more than usual.

I don’t know this neighbour, so it’s not clear if these are the blissful early throes of new flirtation, or a fortuitous mid-marriage renaissance. But I do know this – as a tired working parent collapsing into bed each night – as uplifting as the sounds of ecstasy are, they’re also really, really ANNOYING.

This is how I imagine the couple next door.

If they drift through the window at a particularly dark moment, they can make a person question her very life choices.

But do I go marching next door to insist the happy couple turn down their joy? Do I put a passive-aggressive note under their door suggesting they put a sock (or something more interesting) in it? Do I yell out of the window, ‘this isn’t the fucking INTERNET, you know!’

NO. I do not.

Because I live in a city, in close proximity to others, and I have to put up with their noise, they have to put up with my noise.

It’s a lesson that the supremely grumpy bastards who this week tried to get a Sydney cafe to remove their children’s playhouse would do well to learn.

The offending cubbyhouse.

As Mamamia reported earlier this week, the owners of the delightfully crunchy Sprout Wholefood Cafe on Sydney’s Northern Beaches have been fighting to save a cubbyhouse. You know, an innocent mini-wooden playplace they built on their property for customers’ kids to play in while parents indulge in paleo protein bombs and grated beetroot salad.


Neighbours complained about the noises from the cubby house – the piercing peals of children’s laughter, presumably – and council had requested that it be taken out of the cafe grounds, to restore peace and order to the great Australian suburban dream.

The Facebook post from the Sprouts Cafe, explaining why the cubby house was on its way out.

The battle got so heated that it’s been picked up worldwide, with American sites championing a parent’s right to drink her chai latte in peace while someone else’s is being shattered.

Here’s the thing. Kids are noisy. Especially when they’re having a good time.

They shriek, and cry and laugh and babble. You know, like drunk people.

When they are not your own kids – and often, when they are – it can be really, really, annoying.

But so are lots of other noises. Like coffee machines, cars, motorbikes, parties, live music, parties and boring people banging on about their detoxes in crunchy wholefood cafes. If you live by a beach in a big Australian city, you will hear all of these noises all of the time.

Children playing. So f-ing annoying, right?

As I write this, it looks like the social media campaign to save the Sprouts Cubby House has been successful. The cafe have posted on their Facebook page that the council is reviewing their request to remove the play area, and that it will remain for the time being. They have asked that we all move along from this mini-storm while that happens.

Well, I’m sorry, Sprouters, but I can’t let this go.

As long as my neighbours have the right to loud and vigorous sex in the building next door, little children have a right to annoy kid-free killjoys everywhere with their irritatingly repetitive games and incessant calls for a soy babycino.

That’s what you sign up for when you live in Sydney in Summer, so seriously, suck it up.

What do you think? Do the cafe neighbours have a right to expect peace and quiet?