An open letter to my downstairs neighbors

As you may well be aware, the divisions between the apartments in this building are quite thin, existing in my opinion for aesthetic purposes more than as sound barriers.  I know this quite well, as I can hear our right-side neighbor’s nightly blaring of 70s classic rock as if it were emitting from my own room; residing next to him as well, I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about.

Since it is not a secret that sound carries in here the way it would over open water, I have to wonder about the frequency and volume of your nocturnal pacing.  Far be it from me to impose my lifestyle upon others, but I must admit that hearing your incessant footsteps persist throughout the night is growing a bit tiresome.  I realize that you are young, attending the community college across the street, but this seems a bit much, even for college kids.  I also realize you are not from around here – one of the three of you did mention that you all hail from somewhere halfway around the world. As different as our customs may be, though, I don’t believe that the residents in your native part of the world tolerate such heavy footfalls so late at night.

What really baffles me is how it sounds and feels as if you are walking on the ceiling, thusly on the opposite side of my floor.  The vibrations carry so easily through the thin ground beneath my feet that it is impossible for me to believe that you are walking on your own floor.  It’s as if Lionel Richie had too much influence and you have decided to take him literally and actually dance on the ceiling.  Or, perhaps you are not foreign college students at all. Perhaps you are actually aliens that can defy gravity who have taken up residence here.  We’re only minutes from where the aliens landed in War of the Worlds – perhaps that is a popular alien tourist attraction.

It’s not just the blatant disregard of physics that concerns me.  I distinctly hear the clopping of high heels on that ceiling.  Again, I am not one to impose my way of life upon anyone, but I find it odd that an apartment full of attractive young males who I have seen walking hand in hand with pretty girls would prance about in pumps.  I realize I don’t know you well, but you really don’t seem like the type.  But hey – whatever floats your boat.

Since we’re on the subject of things coming through my floor, let’s talk about the smell.  I’m not at all insinuating that you smell bad.  But every few nights the very distinct aroma of what can only be described as lo mein wafts up to my apartment.  Like I said, the barriers between the apartments in this building are quite thin, so the smell of your dinner lingering in my apartment doesn’t surprise me.  What I don’t understand is why I only smell it in my bedroom.  I know for a fact that your kitchen is directly below mine, which really isn’t anywhere near the bedroom.  I can only assume that you have a hot plate in your bedroom, and that you don’t actually use your kitchen. Believe me, I have no problem with you eating in your bedroom.  Heck, that’s what bedrooms are for: eating in bed.  I do it all the time.  That and sleeping, and maybe some other fun stuff.  But bedrooms are not for cooking in.

The point, neighbors, is that it is very late and I am quite tired, and it is extremely difficult to sleep when you stomp about with your aromatic food. Therefore, I humbly request that you give it a rest: please keep the ceiling dancing to a minimum, and be mindful that your actions literally echo through the apartments around you.  Cook your dinner in the kitchen, not your bedroom.  Please be as courteous to me as I try to be to you. And, if you are in fact cross dressing, lo mein eating, gravity defying monsters from outer space, please don’t eat me.


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. this buddy of mine
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 13:08:26

    I had a neighbor that had ritualized sex every Thursday night. It was like clock work. 11 p.m. you would here the groans…11:30 steps to the bathroom, flushes toilet, opens slider to balcony for a cigarette, reopens slider, walks back to bed and then silence.

    You could practically set your watch by it.


  2. Joy
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 13:24:17

    This is just what makes me happy living on 80 acres alone. Sometimes people are just so inconsiderate.


  3. Megan
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 15:39:28

    Anyone pacing that much — and eating so late at night! — must be really stressed. Pass along his info, I’ll recommend a good shrink and then maybe you can finally get some shut eye!


  4. Amy Hunter
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 18:13:33

    Every time owning a house feels like a money and energy-sucking burden, I remember my many years of apartment life. Suddenly, the responsibilities of home ownership seem worth it.

    Have you tried wearing earplugs to bed? Earplugs are the only reason I survived college.


  5. Matt
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 18:14:53

    Perhaps, you should print out your letter and slip it under their door. Or failing that, push it somehow through the top of their door, so it sticks near the ceiling where they can’t fail but notice it at some point during the night time stiletto escapades.

    Failing that, bang on the floor a few times, you’d be surprised just how much that can shock someone when they least expect it into silence, and make them think, as most people only take that action that when they’ve really had enough.

    There’s a time to be nice, and also one where you just need to make your point that you’re being disturbed and they’re being selfish.


  6. Doraz
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 19:48:15

    I find that approaching things with a sense of humor helps! I would ask if I could go over in the middle of the night to eat with them, since hearing them eat makes you hungry! Something along those lines. It may sound stupid, but hopefully they get the hint! Good Luck!


  7. megan
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 20:18:57

    this buddy of mine: Nice! At least you knew when the noise was going to happen. I suppose we should be happy for your neighbor for getting some action on a regular basis, the lucky duck.

    Joy: 80 acres? I’m so jealous…

    Megan 2: Haha…I never considered that he was the stressed one.

    Amy: That’s exactly why I’m itching for my own, stand alone place. Even if it’s a trailer… Then I wouldn’t have to worry about neighbors in such close proximity.
    I haven’t tried earplugs. Maybe I’ll give those a go.

    Matt: Being the non-confrontational type that I am, I doubt I could ever bring myself to actually tell them that they’re being too loud. I’m more the type to suffer in silence. Though, perhaps next time they start up I’ll start practicing. Prokofiev is nice and loud…

    Doraz: Haha…that’s not a bad idea. But, like I told Matt, I’d probably chicken out before I got to their door.


  8. nikki
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 20:30:14

    And here I thought it would be fun to live in an apartment. We never have. The one semi-apartment we lived in (my hubby and I) was above an antique store. It was awesome!
    Your letter to your neighbors is hilarious!! We have a house with an apartment attached (mother in law apt) they’re very nice, very laid back but they cough a lot and it seems to be contagious because sometimes it sounds like there’s a room full of people coughing!!! 😉


  9. Molly
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 23:19:46

    Oh man. I am really glad I don’t currently have neighbors who make me crazy. Because when I do, it consumes most waking minutes of my time while I am in my apartment. I seem peaceful on the outside, but inside I seethe with vengeance.

    I have to say, I’m with Matt. Sometimes a good stomp on the floor will shock people into silence. People forget that there are others sharing the same space. But I am scared to be confrontational too, so I understand not wanting to do that.


  10. Matt
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 23:35:53

    The other answer might be to find a time when they’re sleeping and you’re naturally awake, which seems likely at some point as they seem to be up all night preparing food which they seem to eat off the ceiling. Then you can start that culinary project you never quite finished, which involves a lot of mixing, and chopping up of ingredients, plus the usual pacing around while you read the recipe book carefully.

    The other thing would be to buy one of those battery-powered robot walking toys that walks around in circles for hours, clump clump clump, they’re so cute. Set if off, then go out for the afternoon.


  11. megan
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 23:59:13

    nikki: Yeah, apartment living isn’t all it’s cracked up to me. I’d take a house with an in-law suite any day.

    Molly: You’re a seether? Me too!

    Matt: Good ideas. I’ll start by organizing my pots and pans (oops…dropped another one!), then starting the Roomba on a marathon cleaning.


  12. Gary
    Feb 06, 2009 @ 15:21:52

    Ah yes, apartment life. I remember those days quite well! Thank GOD we own a house now!! I used to live above two single guys sharing an apartment together when my oldest son was a baby. I swear they KNEW when we put the baby down to sleep and on came the stereo as loud as possible. I spent many a nights rocking a crying baby while listening to “Freebird” oooooozing up from my floor. 🙂


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