Aren’t neighbors great? One of the highlights of apartment living for me is the opportunity to have so many close neighbors. Where else but an apartment complex can you pay extra for the ability to share walls with someone else? Not in them thar fancy houses, no sir! I personally think that’s why most mortgages are so low; you’re not getting to share walls/floors/ceilings with other people! With an apartment you’re paying for the privilege of living near everyone. By that logic I wonder how much it would cost to live in a sardine can.
Of course there’s a downside to this shiny happy sharing world- sometimes, very rarely, you get bad neighbors. Maybe they throw wild parties and don’t invite you, or hang pictures all night. Yup, just pounding away at the walls with hammers in a rhythmic fashion. Definitely hanging pictures. Whatever the case may be everyone has had them and everyone has had to deal with them. But what happens when YOU’RE the bad neighbor? I’ve never thought of myself as the bad neighbor. I’ve definitely thrown a few shindigs in my day, listened to my fair share of gangsta rap too loud at night (west side!), and certainly I’ve cranked the bass for the occasional testosterone-and-explosion movie fest from time to time. Despite all of that I’ve never once had a complaint lodged against me in all my 10 years of apartment living until last week.
It started innocently enough. A voicemail popped up on my cell Monday morning from my apartment complex letting me know that “a neighbor” had complained about noise from my apartment over the weekend. They were very helpful, even going so far as to give me a few tips and pointers on how to move my subwoofer away from the walls so to not disturb others. “It’s not the actual VOLUME you understand, just the bass every now and again. Thanks for looking into it!” I’m sure it’s just a random coincidence that I had finished running the wiring for my surround sound setup the day before, and had felt the need to test it a wee bit. I shrugged it off with a laugh and a mental “oops” and went about my week. “Boy”, I thought. “How lucky am I to move into an apartment complex that offers surround sound hookup advice?! Who needs GeekSquad? Not me buddy! I got Mission Ridge.”
Friday night rolls around and I’m deep into my latest addiction- internet pr0n. Kidding… that’s my fallback addiction. I’d been squeezing in a few hours of Dragon Age: Origins between work and gym nights, so I was looking forward to an uninterrupted romp through the game. Instead I got a visit from my upstairs neighbor at 11:30 at night. Talk about immersion breaking yeah? Nothing like opening the door to a barefoot schlub wearing pajama pants and an Affliction T-shirt to get you out of the RPG mood. Maybe he should have shown up dressed as Elrond (or his daughter, rawr!) and I’d have been more receptive. Instead the conversation went more like this:
Him: “So uh, like, hey. We can sorta hear some noise from down here? We think it’s the bass from your stereo. It’s definitely not the volume though, no question!. You seem like a nice guy even though I just met you and…”
Me: “Hrm, that’s weird. Can you hear anything like now? I mean my door and windows are open, did you hear anything outside?”
Him: “Upstairs, yeah! But not out here. Want to come listen?”
Me: “Not really. I mean, it’s 11:30 at night….”
Him: “Um… right.. I mean…
Understandably I was confused; what kind of magical sound could travel through the floor, walls, ceiling, and air to reach out and disturb these poor people and yet not be audible from eight feet away. Clearly witchcraft was afoot or I was being framed. Or both… those crafty witches, always out to get us techno-savy regular folks. Obviously a case of techno-envy. If it wasn’t the witches then certainly this was a fluke right? To be on the safe side I lowered the bass, treble, and overall volume on the subwoofer, but apparently that wasn’t enough as someone began pounding on my ceiling at 9:30 on Sunday night. Now THAT was some magical floor transitioning noise.
By Tuesday I’d found a letter on my door. Reading between the lines (and the grammar issues) its obvious that he’s been complaining to the apartment complex again. I’m going to call them in the morning to see what we can do to straighten this out. Between the letter, the neighbor harassment, and reading things like this on the web, it makes me lean pretty strongly towards finding another place when my lease is up in March.