Sunday, December 11, 2011

Love thy neighbour?

Much easier said than done.

After the Armenian gangster (and his family) moved out earlier this year, we had a blissful almost-six months without anyone living above us. For anyone who's ever lived in an apartment with people above, you'll appreciate how great this was. No stomping around, no loud television or music blaring at 2am,  no midnight vacuuming, no drunken yelling, no doors slamming.

Our bedroom is directly beneath the living area of the apartment upstairs, so if the neighbours are being less than considerate, we know all about it.

I also understand that noise travels, and there are times when it's hard not to make noise. I'm pretty sure that when I was in my early twenties, I may not have been the most selfless of neighbours... so I'm not against the odd night of loud music.

When our new neighbours moved in, we peeked out our windows and tried to guess whether they'd be trouble or not. We - or rather I - decided that they appeared to be a young professional couple, so Party Central during the week was unlikely. Phew.

Less than a week after they moved in, there was loud hammering above the Faery's and Miss Pie's room. Loud, repeated hammering - like the sound of furniture being assembled. It was 11pm, and a Tuesday night.


Given that our apartment complex has a clause in our lease about not using the dishwasher or washing machine etc after 10pm - out of courtesy to other neighbours - I thought that hammering furniture together could fall under the same category for noise pollution.

I decided a friendly introduction and chat might help, so I went and rang their doorbell.

And waited.

And waited.

I rang again, and waited.

And waited.

I took a step back, to see through the window above their door - there is a staircase which leads straight up to their living area.

What did I see?

The back of the guy, creeping away from the door and up the stairs to the living area.

Oh no, he didn't!

He'd come down, peered out the peep hole, and decided not to deal with me. Clearly, he had no idea that I could see all the way up their stairs.

Anyhow, the hammering miraculously stopped, and that was that. Whatever. I was happy to avoid any confrontation, and he must have realised he was making too much noise.

About a month later, on a weeknight (I'm less likely to complain about noise on a weekend - I was young once, believe it or not), they had their television up way too loud - it sounded like it was maximum volume, and some kind of console game was being played. Again, it was about 11pm, and preventing J and I from sleeping.

I figured they probably just didn't realise how loud it was - it happens - and threw on some decent clothing so I could have a friendly chat.

I rang their doorbell, and waited.

And waited.

Took a step back, peered up through the little window, and saw a sheet-wrapped figure tip-toeing up the stairs, then their lights went out.

Okay... it's going to be like that, is it?

But the noise stopped. Result.

As much as I hate confrontation, something about this bothered me. It's not like we're never going to run into one another - why not keep things pleasant enough? Instead of ignoring me, why don't they just own the fact that they were being a bit too noisy, acknowledge it, say sorry, and move on?

Overall, the noise they make hasn't been too bad. Often, we'll go for weeks without hearing any sign of life up there. Then there are other nights - usually weeknights - where they'll be loud, but it usually stops by 11.30, so we haven't bothered saying anything.

Then last night (actually, this morning) - after being up several times already, tending to sick kids - I couldn't get back to sleep. Their effing television was up loud, and it was 1.30am. I really didn't want to go through the whole charade with their doorbell. It's winter now, and bloody cold outside at that time. Eventually, I gave in because I wanted sleep, dammit.

I went outside, rang the doorbell, and waited.

I took a step back, and saw their lights on... but couldn't be bothered hanging around to watch the back of somebody skulking guiltily away from their door, so I went back inside.

And it was quiet. Result.

I think it's safe to say we have a system in place now, yes? They make noise late at night. I ring their doorbell. No words are exchanged. Noise stops. Result.

I just wish the whole thing didn't make me feel icky.


  1. This is hilarious ... well the way you describe it is but that neighbour is something else!

    Tell you what - next time they try it on, go up there, ring the doorbell, then turn and sneak away so that when he looks through the spyhole, all he sees is your retreating back with "I CAN SEE YOU!!!" written on it.

  2. LOVE your idea! May very well try it for a laugh next time.

    Their door is right next to our front patio's gate (so the stairs up to their apartment are internal)... I just resent having to even go outside, know what I mean?

    With the previous neighbours, things disintegrated to the point where J would have to bang on our bedroom ceiling with a broom in the middle of the night for them to shut up, and a whole bunch of swearing between them, their 'guests', and J would ensue. It was nasty.

    I don't want to have to start banging on our ceiling with the current neighbours, as I feel it takes civility down a notch.

  3. We need a switch that rings a little bell or flashes a light. Something civil, and prevents us from needing to get out of bed. Maybe we can ask maintenance to add a doorbell switch right next to our bed.

  4. Oh, man, a shit situation but I can't help but laugh at the sneaking. And you've yet to actually encounter them coming or going from the apartment? They probably see you and hide around corners now.

    I know about bad neighbours, you might recall. However, you may also recall it was we who were the noise polluters - with our jumping, running children. Damn them and their childlike exuberance.

  5. See, I could handle little kids being the culprits for noise - because that (ideally) doesn't happen I'm trying to sleep. And I have kids myself, so I'm understanding of the sound they make.

    We have seen them come and go, but I'm usually inside and see a blur go past the window. All I know, is the guy has a sleazy haircut that harks back to the early 90s. And once or twice, the chick has left in the morning at the same time as me, and complimented me on the cuteness of the girls... and I've been totally caught out and unprepared about what to say regarding the noise. I have a feeling that maybe the guy doesn't actually live there, hence why the noise is fine most the time - it's just when he's staying over.

  6. Ahh, that makes sense. 90's hair comes over and frat boy antics ensue.

    And yeah, hard to follow up a compliment with "By the way, you noisy fucker..." Maybe that is all part of her cunning plan?

  7. I had the realisation last night that at least these people never slam the front door. Their door frame is adjacent to the wall that goes along the Faery's bed, and the last fuckers to live there slammed it every fucking time they went out or came home. Used to really disturb the poor poppet.