Dispatches from Suburbia

If I played an instrument, I would have a band called "The Simon Thomsen Sex Tape"; and other musings, rants, and disconnected ramblings.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Superbowl Buzzkill

Quote of the Day: “I don't think much new ever happens. Most of us spend our days the same way people spent their days in the year 1000: walking around smiling, trying to earn enough to eat, while neurotically doing these little self-proofs in our head about how much better we are than these other slobs, while simultaneously, in another part of our brain, secretly feeling woefully inadequate to these smarter, more beautiful people.”
-George Saunders

When my landlord, a soft-spoken, gentle man, came by to pick up the rent a couple of days ago, he informed me that my neighbor had complained about my television being too loud.

I don't blame my neighbor. I got a new TV for Christmas, along with a surround sound system, and I've probably gotten a bit carried away. Plus, the TV and subwoofer are against the wall that we share with this man.

Not wanting to be rude neighbors, I apologized to my landlord and Kim wrote a long apology letter and taped it to our neighbor's door. She explained in the letter that if there are any further problems, the neighbor should immediately let us know and the problem will be remedied.

Then, we moved the TV to the opposite wall and completely reversed the surround sound system that had taken me an entire day to install, just to avoid any future nuisances for our neighbor. Besides, as the apology letter stated, if he had any further issues he had the friendly invitation to let us know.

Tonight, we invited a few friends over to watch the big game. The parking lot has reserved spaces at our apartment, and though we instruct our friends to park in the street, somebody parked in our neighbor's spot. What impeccable timing.

Instead of recognizing a simple mistake, my neighbor parked his 4-Runner directly behind our guest's Miata. I went next door to apologize, yet again, and to ask him to please allow our friend to move his car.

Keep in mind that, by this point, I've never spoken to our next door neighbor. He went directly to the landlord, not to me, to complain rather than to simply ask us to keep it down. Ever since Christmas, I'd never known there was a problem so the volume went up and up. Am I that difficult to approach?

So, tonight, he answered his front door and without even opening the cast-iron door he barked out of the shadows, "What do you want?"

"I'm really sorry, we had a misunderstanding, can my friend move his car?"

He still refused to even open the door. "I'm not leaving for another hour," he said. "And I called the landlord and a tow-truck." He said that his car would not budge until the tow truck arrived. Ouch.

After some pathetic pleading (thank God I'd been drinking), I got him to move his car. "Thank you," I said. "My name's Simon, by the way."

He shook my hand. "Steve," he said. "Oh, and I've also told the landlord that you're music is too loud." Then Steve, a little guy, victoriously strutted home. His screen door smashed shut, and I was left feeling that this was not over.
It's not. I think that, in the middle of the night, I might begin a steady tapping on the very wall that I share with Steve, that wonderful ball of sunshine next door, just to drive him completely insane. I've considered jumping the back wall and going into his backyard to tap on his sliding glass door. I will drive him absolutely nuts. I will make him miserable. He may not hear my TV or my music anymore, but he will hear these strange tapping sounds in the still of the night that may or may not be his neighbor's doing. All of this because he had to go directly to the landlord rather than growing some balls and asking me to please keep it down. It's on, Steve.


At 9:04 PM, Blogger LD/Brownie said...

I live above someone like that. All she ever does is bitch to the landlord about me. It aggravates the piss out of me because I live alone, am gone all day at work, leave two nights a week for orchestra, and am gone many weekends. I don't have cable, I don't have any loud hobbies, and in short, am an absolute dream to live underneath. Yet every time I make any noise at all, I hear about it.

People need to learn that if they want dead quiet all the time, they need to go move out to the country and surround themselves with ten acres of land. If you live in an apartment complex, you're going to hear shit, no matter how quiet and respectful the neighbors are. I'm certainly not on the phone whining about her TV or her loud-voiced son, both of whom irritate the fuck out of me. The sad thing is, this woman is in her 80's. You'd think this is a life lesson she would've learned by now.

At 10:15 PM, Blogger heartinsanfrancisco said...

Your neighbor is a prize jackass whose life is so empty that he gets his jollies by making your life as hard as possible.

Our neighbor, Next-Door Whore, subject of a post I did at some time, plays music of indeterminate genre so loud that our pictures rattle on the walls from the bass line. She often does this at 4:30 a.m. And she has a frequent flyer who plays handball against our common wall for hours.

You might try this. I can assure you, it is VERY annoying and in my case, may cause a homicide or suicide soon. (Take your pick.)

Or you might try complaining about Steve to the landlord. It's the same principle as suing and countersuing.

Good luck! Remember that in every rental contract, you are assured "the peaceful enjoyment of the premises." Every sound he makes interferes with that, so document everything.

This is WAR. "I know this time our side will win."

At 4:56 AM, Blogger etain_lavena said...

we also have a neighbour like that, she says we have parties when we are not even home. I think it is her imaginary friends playing tricks on her....poor thing...with her boring life. Why dont you trow moaning in with the tapping....hihihih.....DRIVE HIM INSANE...do it!!!!;)

At 5:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to have a couple that lived next to me in some townhouse apartments. One morning, I went crazy cleaning the house, pinesol, comet, you name it. It was filthy. I lived alone, and cleaned only every so often.
About an hour into my cleaning frenzy, the male part of the neighbors came by, banging on the door as if there was a fire. When I opened the door, I pleasantly said hello and introduced myself.
He screamed at the top of his lungs,"MY WIFE HATES THE SMELL OF PINE SOL!" I said, "Tough shit," closed the door and resumed my cleaning. Talk about an all out war, my apartment was spotless the two years I lived there. It did my heart good.

At 10:23 AM, Blogger Erik Donald France said...

Steve is an asshole, no question. BUT, give peace a chance! Any time I've ever gotten into one of these little wars everybody loses, sort of like the Middle East. I'm lucky now to live below a very quiet English teacher -- thank God! But seriously, some kind of subtle way out might be better in the long run. My two cents.

At 10:26 AM, Blogger hyacinths and biscuits said...

oh my god. If you tap on his windows, you might freak him the fuck out.

The guy who lives above me recently broke up with his wife. The day that they actually broke up for good, I was seriously afraid for her life. I could hear everything that was yelled, everything that was thrown at the wall, and he was terrifying *me*, even though I was a whole floor away.

He immediately started having buddies over every single night to drink and be loud, usually in the alley right by my windows. There were often beer cans thrown at my window. They peed on it a couple times from the floor above. But the worst was one day, there was tapping on all my windows. After all the party had died down and no one else was outside anymore, someone went around to all my windows, for hours on end, and tapped on them. I live in a sketchy neighborhood, and I was seriously freaked out. None of my big strong man friends would answer their phones so late, so I finally went to sleep at about 3, but it woke me up again at 6am. I wanted to die. But I didn't want to complain to my landlord - after all, he was freaking scary when he was arguing with his own wife!

That was a huge long story, sorry. But your tapping plan reminded me of a terrifying night. You should do that if you want to give him a heart attack. Which it sounds like might be a good idea.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger James Burnett said...

I actually agree with EDF. Steve is an A-hole, but give it another chance.

I have to confess I've done the straight-to-landlord complaint before, but not 'cause I was trying to be an A-hole. Mostly 'cause you have to be careful nowadays. You go to your neighbor to complain directly and they could turn out to be an armed lunatic. So I don't completely fault him for that strategy. But reading the whole story it sounds like his wasn't a safety concern. He justed wanted to be a dick to you.

Do like Tim the Tool Man - have a beer with Steve over the back fence or back wall. Who knows? Maybe he'll lighten up...But he's still a dick till then.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger James Burnett said...

One more thing though, after I did the direct-to-landlord call I'm thinking of, the neighbor came to me and said his landlord had told him I "complained."

I admitted it and told him bluntly, "Look I don't know you. I don't want a problem with you, but I don't know you. And we see enough crazies on the news that I didn't know how you'd react if I confronted you directly."

The cool thing was he said he understood and probably would have done the same thing. The short of the story is we started chatting on a regular basis and even hung out a few times before he moved.

So it's possible for some good to come out of this.

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Beth said...

Be wary, be careful - he already sounds a little over-the-top and and weird.

At 2:02 PM, Blogger Michelle's Spell said...

I'm so relieved that my ex-neighbors yelled, screamed, and played Skynard at full blast. It made anything I did seem okay!

At 6:57 AM, Blogger Danny Tagalog said...

Oh - that's just happened to us - we got a standard letter claiming we plated out TV after 12 at nights. Complete lie, but it's hard to live in the rabbit hutches in Tokyo without aggravating someone. You'd find it hard I reckon... I do...

At 6:57 AM, Blogger Danny Tagalog said...

Oh - that's just happened to us - we got a standard letter claiming we plated out TV after 12 at nights. Complete lie, but it's hard to live in the rabbit hutches in Tokyo without aggravating someone. You'd find it hard I reckon... I do...

At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate Steve. He makes me mad. Emma and I call him "Angry Steve". This makes me want to get a house even more. When we do decide to move out, let's make a ton of noise the last 2 weeks. We'll go out with a bang. Maybe the wall between us will finally fall down because of all the "trees" and Apple will somehow get back there and bark until she is blue in the face. That would be amazing.


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