Los Angeles is filled with apartments. If you live here, chances are, you’ve lived in an apartment.
Or, if you’re like my downstairs neighbors, this is your very, very first. Your first widdle apawtment wid its widdle wooms and widdle pwaces to sit and make widdle din-dins and goo goo ga ga PFFTTTTTTT.
I apologize: I’m leaking animosity.
C and I live in a building from the 1940s. It has charms – crown molding, chair rail in the dining room, wood floors, and subway tile in the bathroom. It has location perks – right across the street from a park which C jr loves, walkable to a fantastic taco joint, literally in the middle of LA.
It’s a building from the 1940s. So, naturally, things make noise. Walking, for instance. Shutting doors. Coughing. C and I have lived in many different apartments over the years – C had a place in Brooklyn where, at night, he could hear both the person above him AND below him SNORING. Thin floors, hello. You bitch, you whine, but it’s why the earplug guys stay in business. I’ve lived below women who treat their floors as a personal runway for very clompy heels. I’ve lived next to couples who ram the headboard into the wall over and over and over and –
Cool. Have sex. I dig it.
I’ve lived above folks who play the rap muzak with the bass turned UP. When you’re in a city of over three million, you’re bound to hear some noise.
So when the tenant below us posted the first note in the building’s shared entryway, C and I read it and attempted to be more aware of how we walked around, how loudly we spoke, how often we dropped things, etc.. SOUND TRAVELS IN THE BUILDING, it said. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT NOISES CAN BE HEARD.
I mean, duh.
So life went on, we came and went…left for other parts of the country, returned, left again, had C jr with us, said goodbye to her…and we heard the tenants below yell at people on the phone, sing loud, seemingly endless power ballads, allow their dog to bark on and on and on, tread heavily through their own apartment, and slam doors.
Then, a few days ago, another handwritten note was posted:
TO UNITS C AND D (upstairs units), EVERY NOISE IS HEARD, EVERYTHING. STOMPING AROUND, SLAMMING DOORS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE AT 3AM. IF STEPS AREN’T TAKEN (that’s just poorly written, isn’t it??) COMPLAINTS WILL BE MADE.
We stared at the note, went upstairs, got ready for bed. But I was thrashy and pissed. I mean, really? You don’t even know us. If you did, you’d know that we’re not up here stomping around trying to fuck up your life. We’ve seen you numerous times – hell, I’ve had friendly conversations with you and fawned over your idiot dog. Why the need to stick an anonymous, petulant note to the wall when there are only four units in the building? So I got up and wrote this:
Dear “Mystery” Tenant,
As the residents of Unit C (located, we think, directly above you) we’re sorry that you’ve felt the need to post public distress calls instead of contacting us directly. Since this seems to be your preferred method of communication, we will respect that, and respond accordingly.
Instead of resorting to underlines and threats, perhaps we could discuss the issues at hand. Because, indeed, we share an older apartment building where noise does travel. It may surprise you to know that we can also hear you walking around, closing doors, and having conversations…not to mention the lovely, dulcet tones of your dog…which sometimes go on for hours.
We’re not sure how many apartment buildings you’ve lived in, but we’ve lived in many, and unfortunately, residual noise is often just part of the deal.
Now, we’ve taken steps to be more sensitive – we don’t wear loud shoes, we close doors softly, and we refrain from yelling at your dog.
So. We’ll try to be even quieter – we’ll purchase some rugs to help with the sound – but next time, how about letting us know directly if you have a problem. Or certainly feel free to contact N_____, rather than masking your complaints in the rather thin cloak of anonymity.
There are four units in the building.
Joy and Corey
I typed it out, tiptoed downstairs, and taped it next to the other note.
I’m not usually prone to retaliation. In fact, I generally discourage it. But I’m also old enough to not be bullied by someone a decade younger than me, who apparently came to LA to make it in musical theatre. ???? And really, I’m also just old enough, period.
The next morning, both notes were gone.
I mean, SHEESH.