[Fair warning: for the sake of accuracy, some foul language is included in this post. Children, make sure to read this when your parents aren’t in the room!]
So there I am, just sittin’ in my bedroom at 9:45am on a lazy weekend morning, petting my kitty, when I hear this banging on the wall from the apartment below ours.
“STOP THAT NOISE!!!”
As described in this post, our downstairs neighbor(s?) is your textbook curmudgeon: old, miserable, seemingly finds no joy in life aside from the sick satisfaction she must receive from making others miserable, yadda yadda. So, what was causing her to lose her cool this morning?
At first, I could only think of two possibilities: the neighbors next to her downstairs were, I don’t know, vacuuming or something, OR, she was getting her undies in a bunch over something I was doing.
You may be asking, dear readers, “Why, Jeff, what sort of obviously irritating noise could you be producing that was so loud that it would penetrate through the floor of your apartment and drive your neighbor into a wall-pounding frenzy?”
The answer, my friends, is this: Humming “Life’s a Happy Song” from The Muppets.
But surely that can’t be it. Humming? Really? Really…(with Seth and Amy)?!
I can’t believe it, but there was no other way to test this theory except trying it again. So I pick up the song again. “<Hum>Life’s a fillet of fish…Errr, yes it is!</hum>”
“STOP THAT FUCKING NOISE!”
I just sit there, shocked. And I begin to shake. So this is what it’s come to then: humming? I can’t hum at a below-polite-conversation volume without my neighbor becoming like an irate Hulk, flipping out and pounding on the walls? For real?
After a few minutes of me sitting there, my blood pressure slowly rising at the ridiculousness of it all, Lance comes in from taking a shower and I wave him over. “Come here, listen to this,” I instruct, and began humming again.
“STOP THAT FUCKING SINGING! ALL THIS FUCKING NOOOOISE!!”
And that is when I lost it.
I’d like to believe that I am pretty level-headed, a pretty rationale guy who doesn’t lose his cool too often. But one thing I can’t stand is when I experience others acting unreasonably, and this was one of those times. I basically reenact Picard’s speech from Star Trek: First Contact, yelling down into the floor, “The line must be drawn HEE-AHHH!”
I’ve had enough. I am not going to suffer through the intimidation from Grandma Grinch. By living in a shared-unit living situation, you agree to abide by the rules of this two-way street: you keep your noise at a reasonable level for the sake of the others around you, but you also have to expect some moderate amount of noise from your neighbors. If humming is really the kind of thing that’s going to set you off, then you obviously have some unrealistic expectations of what living in an apartment should be like.
So what did Lance and I do? We escalate the situation to The Man (or, more accurately, our female property manager). When we were dealing with noisy neighbors in our last apartment, the management there didn’t want us to confront them directly, so we figured the same would be true here.
Once we relay our concerns, the property manager smiles and nods slowly. “This isn’t the first time she’s acted this way,” says the property manager. “Actually, that’s one of the reasons why the tenant before you left: he felt he couldn’t play his music without her reacting that way. I’ll note that she is violating her lease agreement and send her a letter about her inappropriate behavior.”
…And the icing on the cake…?
“The good news,” the property manager continues, “is that we have received notification from this tenant that she will be moving out in July.”
…What’s that? We win?
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, MY FRIENNNND
AND WE’LL KEEP ON FIGHTING…’TIL THE ENNNNND
‘CAUSE WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS…OF THE WOOORRRRRLD!