When I go to motels, I listen at the walls, trying to hear the people next door making love. The first thing I do when I arrive is put my ear to the wall to find out who is in the room on either side. I try to imagine what they look like from their voices. Once, what I thought was a young couple turned out to be a dignified man and woman in their late fifties or early sixties. I can never sleep well because I'm always getting up to listen. Whenever I hear a creak, I'm up. Young couples make love right away when they arrive. Older couples, not in age but time together, usually wait until about 11 p.m., and couples with children like 4 a.m. when their kids are really asleep. Putting your ear to the wall for any length of time hurts. The strain on your neck causes your hand and arm to go numb. Stethoscopes, regular or electronic, do not work. A sensitive microphone will work if you put a hole on your side of the wall. I use a Swiss army knife to make a small hole under the edge of the headboard or behind the night stand. Cheap, modern motels are good for listening, as I've found that older motels have thicker walls that are more soundproof. But the very best listening is in a bed-and-breakfast. The old houses have thin walls and doors, and are full of romantic couples. Why listen? I don't know exactly, but it has become an obsession. Whenever I hear the rhythmic creaking of a bed, my heart pounds, my mouth goes dry, and I close my eyes to be with them.