30. Not With A Bang, But A Whimper
So, my boyfriend and I moved into an apartment in August. It’s older so the floors are super creaky. According to our lease, we’re obligated to cover 90% of any room with carpet (except bathroom and kitchen) to help with noise.
It turned out our apartment was previously managed as a dorm by the local college, so the floors already have a layer of super thin cheap carpet. We also laid down more rugs to help with noise cancellation.
Our downstairs neighbor moves in about a month later, and within a month of that, starts banging on her ceiling when we get too rowdy. The first couple of times, it happened super late in the living room—our apartments have the same floor plan.
We were moving around after midnight the first time. Later she came to talk to us and asked us to keep it down at night. Sure, fair enough. The next time, was when we walked in from the airport at 10 pm.
She came up, banged on the door, and talked over my explanation. I told her I was sorry and asked when she was hearing the noise, assuming it was just the cat running around at night.
No, she tells me that she knows it’s not the cat, she knows it’s us, and she doesn’t live alone. Okay, weird but whatever. We started going to bed earlier as we settled into the apartment and our jobs, but the banging only continued.
For months, she would hit her ceiling/our floor whenever we walked around. Bed at 10? BANG. Wake up at 5:30 for work? BANG. Sitting on the couch but decide you want snacks? BANG. Around Christmas, she comes up to our door again.
My boyfriend answered and this time, I recorded. I’m so glad I did. This woman came up and looked my boyfriend in the eye and said “You have to stop following me”. Uhhh? What? She says: “I know it’s not the cat or the dog or your girlfriend, because I know your footsteps.
I don’t know how you figured it out, but you’ve figured out how to listen to where I am and you’re following me around my apartment and I’m sick of it”. My boyfriend calmly responded that she sounds crazy and that we don’t care about her.
She again reminded us that she doesn’t live alone. Her boyfriend is a small Latino man in his 60s who is very polite and has never said a word to us. Cool, she’s insane, whatever. The banging continued with us stomping every time we heard it.
She didn’t like that, but it made it more fun. We’d already explained the situation to the landlord and the super and they were on our side. Our town was the first in the US to be locked down under quarantine, so for the first few days, the banging gradually increased until one day this woman lost her mind.
I’ll admit that we’re early risers on the weekends. On this particular Sunday, we ended up waking up super early, but not doing much for the first few hours.
We drank some coffee and sat on the couch until almost 11. At that point, we decided to get up and clean the apartment. That’s when she lost her mind. She had to be running from one end of her apartment to the other.
She’s banging her ceiling so hard that we’re convinced she’s damaging it. At one point, I hear what sounds like muffled yelling after she followed me into the bedroom. We had plans that day, so we ignored her, finished cleaning, and started to leave.
She must’ve been waiting for us to leave, because for the first time ever, she walked out of her apartment right as we go to her landing. I was holding the dog while waiting for my boyfriend to come down as she starts to descend the stairs.
Of course, she decides to turn around and say something. She says: “Tell your boyfriend to cut it out”. I say: “Cut what out? Walking? You’re hitting the ceiling because of me and the dog moving, not him”. She continues to spew some other dumb stuff as my boyfriend gets down to me.
She proceeded to stay exactly three steps ahead of him, slowing us all the way down the stairs. She tried to block us going out the door at the bottom, but backed off when he just didn’t stop moving. She’s continuing to yell at him all the way to the parking lot.
Of myself and my boyfriend, he’s typically the hot head while I’m the calm one. Amazingly, he kept his calm the whole time, calling her only a crazy lady and ignoring her as he walked past her and her car to the dumpster. As I passed her car, she decided to continue talking at me, and I was just furious that I couldn’t engage.
She said: “I’m serious, it’s done”. I replied: “Okay, what do you want us to do, crawl? I already told you we have a 60 lb. dog, and we’re all just walking around”. She was talking over me, saying: “And you need to remember that I don’t live alone”. I was like…okay…neither do I? You see my boyfriend right there, so what’s your point.
By the way, that’s the third or fourth time you’ve said that and that could be taken as a threat. She says: “You think it’s a threat? Fine, it is”. I said, “Cool, I’m calling 9-1-1”. She goes: “Okay me too”. So, we both call the authorities, and they pull up.
They talk to her first and then come talk to us. I don’t know what she told them, but when they came to talk to us, I told them everything she’d said and done for the past six months.
The officer explained that it was a civil matter that would have to be dealt with by the landlord, but ensured us that they explained to her that it is perfectly acceptable to WALK AROUND YOUR APARTMENT AT 11 AM ON A SUNDAY.
They also told her not to knock on our door ever again and that she’s not allowed to bang on our floor over footsteps at any point. For a couple of nights, she got back at us by banging at 1:30 am to wake us up. We had already reached out to our landlord again and this time, he told us he’d see what her problem is.
That’s still not the last of his troubles with her though. We ended up talking to the people that live below her and telling them about the banging. It turns out, they’ve heard it this whole time and had no idea what it was. Now that they know, they’ve also reported her to the landlord.
The banging has stopped, we don’t expect her lease to be renewed, and we may end up in a better apartment in the next couple months.