For the past two weeks we've had painters crawling all over our house, replacing shingles and scraping and sanding off old, peeling paint. I mean, it has to be done and it's going to be beautiful when they're finished, but some mornings, with the pounding and the whirring, it's like an enormous, violent dentist's office has been wrapped around my head. Other times, like right now, I can see the reflection in my computer screen of a man on a twenty-foot ladder sanding the window frame behind me as I sit here, naked, which is my right as a citizen. The fun part is on hot afternoons when we leave the windows open AND we leave the fans on, and come home to a fine layer of dust on top of all our delicate earthquake detection equipment. But the REALLY fun part came a couple of afternoons ago when Jack and I were trying to, ahem, reconvene our procedure in the bedroom while a guy was sweeping off the roof outside our window and bumping into the glass with his broom.

And here comes a crucial difference between men and women. Men don't seem to care if other men see them having sex. At least my man doesn't care. At all. In the midst of one of our particularly intricate procedures there was a big BANG against the window, then shuffling and some muted Spanish, oh, about thirty-six inches away, and all of a sudden I'm Bambi's mom in the wide-open meadow: if I turn to stone maybe they won't know I'm here. Jack, on the other hand, was so very completely Who Gives A Shit if they catch a glimpse of us doing the beautiful thing? The windows are shut. If they're trying to peek through a 1/64th-inch crack in the blinds, good for them. Now can we please continue with the procedure? Unfortunately, he forgot to remind me that all the other windows in the rest of our 500-square-foot apartment were still open, and if I had something to hide I might want to BE QUIET.

I'm not sure, but I think the painters have been rather shy around me ever since.