Monday, September 21, 2009

Noises Off, Please

It usually starts after 10pm. That's when my upstairs neighbor — we'll call her LC — starts making noise. You can almost set your watch to it. Night after night, it's like she's sat quietly in one place, and then, just when my evening is starting to wind down, she gets up and just wanders around the apartment. Sometimes she decides to rearrange the furniture. Sometimes she drops things. And sometimes she decides to vacuum, though she often saves that task until Sunday night. She has a very heavy walk. Oh, and did I mention she wears shoes (they sound like heels) when she's doing all this?

I must be fated to have bad luck with my neighbors. Maybe I was a bad neighbor in a former life, I don't really know. But what I do know is that for the past, oh, three years, whether it was the piano-, the flute-, or the violin-playing back at 110, or my current inconsiderate neighbor upstairs, I've had some real tests of my patience lately.

Unlike the "musicians" at 110, I've actually said something to LC about the noise. For example, there was that one night a year ago when I came home from work late (i.e.: around 10pm) and heard some particularly loud, beat-heavy music playing upstairs. I knocked on her door. No response. I buzzed her from the front door. No response. I slipped a note under her door asking that she not play her music that loudly so late at night. Finally, after 11pm, and another round of knocking and buzzing, she got the message and turned it down. Now she prefers to taunt me with her late-night walking around and cleaning.

Oh, and there was also the time when her toilet had a leak and it was dripping into my bathroom. I was very civil with her and thankful for her quick (though cold and half-hearted) response. So yeah, it's not like we haven't ever been in touch.

Don't get me wrong: I realize that living in a condo (or any other kind of multi-unit) building means I'm going to hear noise from other residents, especially when I live on a lower-level floor. I'm just saying that I seem to have gotten the short end of the stick here. When I come home, one of the first things I do is remove my shoes — not just for comfort and cleanliness, but also because ... well, I guess those are the only reasons I do it (after all, I don't have anyone living below me). And I don't turn the volume on my TV up as loud as I'd like it because I know that's rude. So why does LC not show the same consideration? I mean, even my banjo-playing neighbor has asked me if he is playing too loudly (I told him not really) and has adjusted so as not to disturb me.

I know I'm probably not a perfect neighbor, but I'm sure I'm more patient than most. And I'm also friendly; whenever I see LC in the hallway, I say hello to her — despite my frustrations. Maybe eventually she'll think about her neighbor and will be a little bit nicer to me.



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