A Nightmare, Shared

It’s comforting somehow.

I just gotta.

I gotta share this. Been meaning to for some time and now’s the time on the cusp of this move.

My neighbor — my good neighbor to my side, not above — and I got to yakking a few months ago. He’s this young Rastafarian-lookin’ dude who’s lived here a few years so he’s seen folks come and go in my space.

The tenant before me was an older man in his 50s or 60s, he said. “I’m not good with ages.”  The man was apparently retired or semi-retired so home a lot.

And, like me, was bothered by others’ sounds in these tight (and poorly-constructed) quarters.

At that time, S. & Y. — aka the current Clack & Clomp Couple — didn’t live in the above Apt. A. It was a man in a wheelchair. And he was home like all the time.

The sounds of this man wheeling all around the wood floors drove the elderly man below crazy. So much so that he had to move.

Now, anyone who’s never lived below wood floors can’t imagine what even normal footsteps sound like. They’re thunderous. Like a herd of elephants, as the cliche goes. Wood is an energy conductor that transmits and amplifies x 1,000 every sound.

This becomes doubly problematic in housing when the wood is thin and/or insulation lacking. I guesstimate a foot or two of air space is all that separates the upstairs floor from the ceiling below.

So the body weight that our feet bear combined with the WAY of walking — heavy- or light-footed — are inescapable realities of wooden floors.

Now, the combined weight of the man and his wheelchair AND the motions … I TOTALLY TOTALLY got it when my good neighbor told me about it!! My heart went out to the man in the apartment below (and the man above in the chair).

It just reaffirms what I’ve been shouting to the world. Living under wood floors is HELL!! Unless you’re a dolt with muted to deadened awareness of your environment, you cannot help BUT hear!

I suffer much more than the average person because I can’t stand people above me, never mind macho violent dicks (and their submissive mousey girlfriends).

The older fellow here before me didn’t stay long. Around three months, the good neighbor thought.

I made it nine months with TWO people above. Worthy of a bronze or perhaps even silver medal, no?

In conclusion, I’m in the same camp now with friend Ed. Who after a few times of living under wood floors WILL NOT DO IT ANYMORE. He just won’t. He won’t even LOOK at a place if it’s under someone else.

I get it. TOTALLY get it.

And to that former older fellow who too was driven out by noise, whoever and wherever ye be, I’d like to say: I hear you.

I feel your pain. I know. I understand. Even when the rest of the world tells you you’re crazy. You are not.

What is crazy are these crappy conditions that bring & amplifying every SOUND above into YOUR space.

I hear you, Mr. Unknown Tenant.

And that must feel good to you, to be heard, above the din from above!

I hope that wherever ye live now that it is peaceful … serene … calm … comforting. You deserve it. You earned it.

I wish  for myself now the same.

Five days until the move … seven days until I’m completely out and this is finally behind me.

But who’s counting? 😉

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Tha-tha-tha-tha-that’s some thumping, folks!

Thump Thump Thump.

I’m on the porch outside my apartment.

Thump Thump Thump.

The location of the noise is a guesstimated 18-20 feet to my left. Through their floors, the couple above, into my ceiling.

Thump Thump Thump.

I can hear it sitting *outside* as clearly as I do when I’m directly beneath it. So much for peace in the home! Or peace on the patio!

Actually only Sara’s home at the moment. (The boyfriend’s at work.) She comes home every day for lunch from her workplace that’s nearby.

How convenient for her. Miserable for me.

Thump Thump Thump.

She knows how these sounds carry! We’ve talked about it a lot! Also played her a recording.

Yes, so obnoxious … so intrusive … so intense … so NOISY, magnified and reverberating is their walking that I recorded it some months ago.

The recording’s weak, granted. Not much you can capture with a little recording app on an iPhone! I stood there that morning with my iPhone held aloft pointed to my low ceiling for a few minutes as one of them (the boyfriend, based on his footstep that I’ve come to know all too well) traipsed back and forth … back and forth … back and forth across their wood floors in hard-soled shoes. Even with the weaknesses of the audio system, I was still able to capture how NOISY it is.

How shitty it is to live under these people and how poorly constructed this building is. Zero insulation between their floors, my ceiling. Wood floors transmit and amplify every sound by 1,000.

I’ve explained that to her (and him).

Still, they walk as if these lengthy and friendly conversations never happened.

I passed my wit’s end some time back. In March, I’d say, three months after living with this.

I’ve just crossed the six-month mark living here. And I think about moving all the time!

Now’s not the time. Can’t be done. I’m so torn thinking about moving. And not only because it’d be, what, Move #53? It’s not the inconveniences and WORK and financial impact of moving that deter.

It’s that for a rare change I actually LIKE where I live! A lot! Without the neighbors and noise, this place could really work for a while — two years or so.

People ruin everything!

It’s not only the noise they produce. It’s that someone’s almost always there! I very, very rarely am alone in my apartment.

They’re there in the mornings of course. Except for weekends (that’s another story), they go to work while I’m sleeping. When I get up, she’s just coming home for lunch. A looong lunch — around 1.5 hours.

Then she goes back to work (yay!), leaving me in my NOISE-FREE!!! studio alone for a couple hours. Until he returns from work about 5:05, immediately followed by her. If I’m not already gone, that’s when I bolt, to avoid them.

Yes, I know their schedule that intimately! It’s impossible NOT to!!!

How ironic that I “live alone!” According to the lease, I live alone. Look around and you’ll see only my stuff, not someone else’s.

Yet I’ve got roommates. Very much so. The Clack and Clomp Couple above.

I’ve been fighting this battle — situation — for six months. It’s more than exhausted me. The stress of it has triggered serious and new health issues and more. I’ll just leave it at that.

It would be so simple to “fix this.” Well, short of inserting insulation between their floors, my ceiling. No f-ing way will the landlord or owner approve that!!

The fix: Rugs.

One or two throw rugs strategically placed at the “hot spots” would help soften the thumping and reverberating blows considerably. The topic was broached in a talk; for whatever reason, they don’t oblige.

And mindfulness.

Watching how one walks. Take a look at your feet. Are their shoes on them? Remove them. Are you stomping? Are your heels hitting hard? Ease up.

Soooooo simple. So freakin’ simple!

It’s called consideration. Neighborly consideration.

Or it’s called moving.

what earplugs can’t cure, perhaps prayer can

It never stops.

I’m dubbing theirs The Apartment Renovations from Hell. They never stop. The renovations. Or the couple above in Apartment A. He especially. They’re young and active, that I know by living under them for 3 months. Now I’m beginning to wonder whether he’s ADD.

(And I am NOT one to rush or succumb to medical labeling and the ubiquitous liberal-led/PC blaming of it to describe everything from a character flaw to natural childhood rambunctioness!)

Let me tell you what living under Couple A — he especially — is like.

1. At approximately noon, she comes home from work. Her hard-soled ladies shoes clack clack clack clomp clomp clomp on the wood floors. Drawers and closets are opened and slammed shut.

Note: They have wooden floors, which amplify EVERY SOUND 1,000 times, which you know if you’ve ever lived below them. If you haven’t, you cannot understand. Plain ‘n’ simple.

2. She spends the rest of the day at home, which means intermittent reverberating heavy footsteps, sounds of furniture being dragged (cleaning? rearranging?) and other tolerable and reasonable sounds for daytime.

Could she lighten her steps? Put down throw rugs to muffle the clomping? Yes. BUT hers is an energy fairly unobtrusive. She’s very loud vocally. Last night I could hear ever word of her phone conversation and her laughs and shriekings (computer games?) are likely audible in the next building. Examples. These are mere examples from the many in 3 months.

3. At exactly 5:10, he returns from work. You can tell by his footsteps. LOUD. HEAVY. Elephant-ish. They reverberate across my ceiling and throughout my studio. Yes, they are so loud that I’ve been awakened out of a dead sleep in my bedroom — which is just on the sidelines beneath their floor plan, thank god! — with the door closed.

4. When he returns, hell breaks loose. I do not mean domestic violence. I mean let the thunderous herd begin! I swear to god, he never stops moving!

Open and slam closet and drawers. Stomp stomp stomp here. Stomp stomp stomp there. Drag heavy furniture across floors. Pound walls. Drop things. The reverberating of even a hammer falling onto a wooden floor can rattle you to your core!

The other night … Wednesday wasn’t it? … I came home at 8.30. Early for me. Often the minute he walks in is my signal to flee my apartment for the night, waiting to return until after 10-10:30 when they retire.

This particular night I came back early. Mistake. He sounded like he was scraping paint off walls! Or the finish off the wooden floor! I never could determine (and from the limited window view could see nothing) but OH THE SOUNDS. DREADFUL! Thunderous SCRAPE SCRAPE SCRAPING. Past 8:30 at night!! Then a THUNDERING move of some weighty piece of furniture from one end of their apartment to the other. Directly above me.

A bit late for heavy-duty renovations, I think.

And what I don’t get is how they can have so much still to remodel in an apartment after 3 months of living there! Good lord!! It’s not a dump! You move in! Get settled! Settle in. End of story!

Moreover, this is all taking place in an apartment with VERY STRICT LEASE CONDITIONS. I mean it. For example, no nails permitted. But if you choose to use them, you will be charged for their repair when you leave.

His constant noisy activities and stomping continue past 10 or 10:30 p.m., especially on weekends. Almost every night. For three months. And gaining.

5. Between her being there all day and the both of them at night, it’s VERY VERY VERY rare that I have a quiet moment or the place to myself. Sounds contradictory to write that. I live alone in a small studio. But truth is, I am never alone. Either one or both of them are above. Being noisy. Inducing stress. Rattling my nerves to such a high pitch that I am either (a) losing sleep / experiencing insomnia for the stress or (b) being awakened early by their stompings and remodelings. I mean, how many fucking times can you move a TV console or table or whatever else the fuck they’re moving?!?!?

6. Take this morning. After a few hours of sleep, I’m awake at 5 a.m. by stress. I try try try to get back to sleep. I work tonight past midnight. I need to be rested.

At 9:15 a.m. … CRAAAAAAAASHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

I’m jarred out of a dead sleep. The neighbors upstairs moving furniture again and it sounds like a piece fell. Like a decorative ball made outta wood or something. Whatever it was, the ruckus reverberates ACROSS MY ENTIRE CEILING from one end to the other!

Then more SCRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPE across the wooden floors within a marble’s throw above me. Then STOMP STOMP STOMP. Into another room. Then more SCAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPE. Another piece of furniture being moved.

IT. NEVER. ENDS!

I don’t mean that literally. Of course it ends. When they sleep. Or when they’re at work. Otherwise, there is SOME noise being produced, either intermittently in her case or constantly in his from noon to 10 p.m. and past.

Now, I ask you people who have read this far, what would you do?!

It’s rhetorical. There are many more elements in this scenario that are unwritten that make moot a sound judgment on your part.

I don’t really want any opinion or thought other than my sister’s (whom I trust and who better knows the extent of the situation).

7. Lest I forget — and were that I could! — the police have been brought to their apartment three times — the last time being several days ago (blaring their TV apparently after again rearranging it along with others furnishings & somehow all that scraping was a part).

I cannot say this emphatically enough. I DO NOT WANT TO CONTINUE IMPOSING ON OUR FINE POLICE DEPARTMENT FOR DOMESTIC DISTURBANCES.

Three police visits in three months is a lot, in my view. It does not speak to neighbors who are neighborly or considerate.

In truth, not a one of their actions in these past months speak of mindfulness of others. At. All.

The landlord is an off-site landlord with a major property management company. She’s unaware of any issue until it’s brought to her attention. She’s been informed — in the simple FYI style that she prefers — of ongoing noise issues as well as the two police visits. I’ve not yet informed her of the third and most recent one (and will, next week; since she’s been out of the office this week, I don’t want to relay the information until she’s returned & caught up on more pressing/important matters.)

After hearing of police visits, what the landlord does or doesn’t communicate to the A neighbors, I do not know and it isn’t my business. They seemed to quiet down some at night (reduced raucous partying, blasting audio) after the second visit so apparently something was said.

They quiet down for a spell and then ramp back up. It is out of control, this continuous noise and disruptiveness. Yet there is nothing that I can do personally to stop them. My only true and best course of action is to inform the authorities and let them handle it.

* * *

All said and done, my patience has been tested full-tilt. For three months I’ve lived with this and never once complained to them, banged the ceiling with a broom handle (almost always a bad move leading to retribution and worsening of the problem!). My gut tells me he is a man not to be messed with. That to speak up would be a HUGE blunder. He’d apologize and smile and shut the door and then stomp intentionally harder. Just because he could.

No. Letting the authorities handle it is the way to go. Yet my patience is stretched to a filament and my exhaustion borne of anxiety and distress from the continuous invasions of noise and disrespect they’re showing all their neighbors — there are two tenants/studios beneath their comparatively massive one — are eroding, nee destroying the pleasures of being here.

I want to emphatically express that. I LOVE where I live! This place and space! Is it forever? No. For this time of my life, it is ideal. I need to be here and WANT to be here.

The ONLY problem, the absolute thorn in the side, are the neighbors above. It’s not just their noise that eats away at me. It’s really their complete lack of consideration. Their lack of caring. Or both.

Human beings like that should not be permitted to rent in community/apartment complexes! The world would be better off if there were like dedicated spaces and the sole requirement for getting into that metaphorically gated community is: Everyone hates living around you. You are thoughtless. Inconsiderate. You care nothing about the impact of your lifestyle on others. Application completed!

Welcome to the Community of Rejects. Where the Mannerless and the Rude and the Assholes of Community Living Come to Maybe Make One Another Miserable.

Of course the single flaw in that imaginary scene is that the Arrogant and the Self-Absorbed are missing that “sensitivity chip.” (Who can not think of Jennifer Aniston on that reference now?!?) They know not the disruptions and discomforts and worse they bring to others and therefore they themselves will not feel them inflicted by others.

So even their own community of the Arrogant and the Self-Absorbed is a lost cause.

* *

Is mine? I do not know yet. My love of this place, apart from the neighbors, compels me to fight to remain here. Much will depend on what the landlord is willing and unwilling to do (in response to new information about continued noise issues and a third police visit in three months).

In the meantime — ha! what a concept, these entire three months have been a state of “in the meantime … trying to survive the streaming noises from above!” — but anyway, as I was writing …

In the meantime, I will continue to do what I’ve been doing. Praying. Praying for peace. Praying for a resolution. Praying for peace and harmony to be introduced at this property. And for mindfulness of others in a community to prevail.

Whether they go and better tenants move in … or whether they are forced to learn mindfulness by way of the landlord … or I am forced to leave, defeated and powerless to create the serene environment that I need for myself here … I cannot know. It is too early to say.

AND in the meantime, right after this, I am sitting down to create a vision board. I create them regularly and usually at a new moon (as we just had Thursday … so this vision board’s coming a little late).

It was only after being VERY rudely awakened by the neighbors this morning that I decided I’m going to do this month’s vision board after all.

Not hard to guess what it will feature! I’ve lost my grip on that proverbial end of the rope. It’s become a frayed mess anyhow — was continuing to unravel before my very ears and eyes anyways. I need a new approach. I need to find my way through this gawd-awful thicket of other people’s inconsiderations and uncarings.

I don’t know what that’s gonna look like until I sit down on the floor with my candle and calming Buddhist / Asian / Zen / meditative music and create the vision board. (I never know what a vision board will look like! That’s part of the Flow of creating one!)

I know this is a long post. I don’t expect anyone to read it in full — or at all. Since comments are few to none, I’m not believing that anyone’s reading my posts as it is! Which I suppose is “license” to write whatever the fuck you want! But that’s another topic.

This had to be written, not for any alleged reader. (I don’t blog for that reason regardless.) It had to be written: for me. For my heart. My mind. My spirit. In the depths of fatigue and exhaustion at the continued noise and mindlessness (as compared to mindfulness) of the neighbors above.

I need help and I need support from above (and from the one, maybe two or three people on earth who can truly give it).

I need to find the path that will lead me through this overgrown field of tall pointy weeds and foxtails that burrow into the clothing and painfully into the skin.

I need to find the path from these fairly tortuous — and certainly obnoxious! — “neighborly” conditions into the clearing.

As I prepare now to create my vision board, I ask for the presence of angels, guides, divine beings, loving beings, Archangel Michael, Archangel Raphael and Ganapatei to be with me. In my studio (that I’m struggling so to make into a home) and at my side. Every step of the way.

Please make your steps gentle, kind and loving. Not the thunderous ones from Apt. A above!! That’s my final request, in sincerity and levity.

Thank you.

And may all movement from this time forward be for the good of all. The peace of all. The comfort and relaxation and serenity of all. Amen.

Bring in ‘da landlord, bring in ‘da peace

I couldn’t say it had to happen.

But it became necessary.

It became necessary when after another night away from the home to avoid the intrusive noises from the Clomp and Clack Couple above I returned at 10 p.m. to their TV blasting.

It became necessary when after weeks of their constant excessive and imposing noises — a long laundry list I don’t care to detail or revisit — they showed no signs of developing consideration or awareness of others.

I had a little help getting there … taking that step to write a letter to the landlord — all informational with just a splash of personal about the enormous stress and toll it’s taken … help from an excellent and skilled tarot reader.

Involving the police (which became necessary in week 1 with the new neighbors) is one thing; maintaining and restoring public peace is their job. The officer doesn’t know you or you him/her; no names were involved and the noisy neighbors had no way of knowing which neighbor made the call.

Involving the landlord’s another thing. You know each other. You can’t know how — or in some cases if — the landlord will respond.

You don’t know how the neighbors, once they’ve been made aware of a complaint, will respond … whether they’ll retaliate or make matters worse (by for example stomping or cranking up the TV even more loudly) or attempt to initiate a war.

Sometimes speaking up escalates a problem. Sometimes it fixes it. With a landlord I barely know and neighbors I know only through their intrusive, inconsiderate and disruptive behaviors, speaking up is fraught with risk.

So I consulted an excellent tarot reader. He not only picked up on and described my situation to a T with no input from me, he understood my caution about contacting the landlord and risks and affirmed there’d be no retaliation from the Noisy Neighbors.

On that green light and confidence in the reader’s credibility, I proceeded to pen a letter to the landlord. An informative letter not of emotion but fact in the style of Joe Friday’s “just the facts ma’am.”

I know my landlord to be a reasonable, reasoning, competent, articulate business-type woman with no axe to grind (toward me or I daresay most people) or agenda. She’s been in the business a long time and has certainly encountered tenant complaints, justified or otherwise.

I trust her to read and receive the letter in the spirit in which it it intended and to act as she sees fit.

That’s a really GOOD feeling — REALLY good, especially after still stinging from the behaviors and emotional prejudices of my former landlord (and his small crew of chronic complainers).

“Just the facts, ma’am.” I WANT that in a landlord!! Need that. I need fairness. Reason. Justness.

The letter’s gone, thank you, cyberspace. Now that it’s written, long weeks after saying nothing amid the constant noise, bangings, blaring TV, stompings, impositions, disruptions etc. wrought by neighbors out of control and focusing on myself to be still and Zen amid the intrusions, I feel good about bringing the landlord into the loop.

I feel good about it on in the context of communication and information for ALL residents and neighbors impacted by their behaviors.

I will continue to practice stillness. I shall continue learning Zen amid the assholes — no shortage of ’em in this world, eh?! And I shall continue changing and growing and monitoring my responses and consciously choosing new and better ones.

The work — the work of remaining still while the rest of the world is being an asshole — continues. But this was about so much more than that. So much more. Childhood experiences and issues still to be uncovered and healed.

In the meantime, I’ve no regrets about how I handled the VERY ACTIVE and oblivious Clomp & Clack Couple above. I did not fight fire with fire. I did not go banging on their door or seek to consult with them to alleviate the problem.

I remained inward-focused, mindful of the teaching/lesson about Zen amid the Noise and assholes. And when things got really bad or out of control, I let the authorities (police and landlord) handle it. No interference or involvement from me beyond passing on information about behaviors affect the group as a whole, not only myself.

Yes, it became time to speak up (inform the landlord) for the good of all. As for me, I’ll keep on growing and LEARNING to trust that authorities (i.e., police, landlord) will do the good thing rather than the bad thing.

Looking forward to a GREAT and peaceful 2015!

Meet the Clomp and Clack Couple

Not Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers. Rather, Clomp and Clack the Couple Above.

The moniker for the active couple in the apartment with wood floors above, described prior as an elephant herd of two. (No offense to elephants.)

For those unfamiliar, Click and Clack are two brotherly heaps of hilarity named Ray and Tom who host a most informative nationwide radio show called “Car Talk.” Their unique brand of wit, sarcasm, intelligence and mechanical savvy make ’em certainly among the most sought-after advisors for callers with car woes. (I tried to get on once; not a chance!)

Clomp and Clack the Couple — so named because he CLOMPS CLOMPS CLOMPS and she CLACKS CLACKS CLACKS in high heels and hard-soled ladies shoes — have quieted down some in the past coupla days, only because they finally finished moving in.

If thumping and scraping of wood against wood are any indication, they hauled in enormous amounts of furniture, including one piece that required assembly with a hammer based on ears-deafening and brain-nullifying volume and force of pounding.

POUNDPOUNDPOUNDPOUNDPOUNDPOUNDPOUNDPOUND. {pause} POUNDPOUNDPOUNDPOUNDPOUNDPOUNDPOUNDPOUND.

Talk about a pounding headache! {not theirs.}

Furniture items that included something that fell to the floor with a CRASHING shock and then proceeded to roll.

ROLLROLLROLLLROLLLLROLLLLROLLROLL across the floor, a decorative ball, loosened perhaps from a piece of furniture, somersaulting with the velocity of a ball heaved by world champ bowler Bill O’Neill.

Whatever the item, the CRASH and reverberations into their wood floor unleashed such the torrent of shockwaves across my ceiling and into my eardrums that I sprung a foot up in my hands-and-knees position on the floor. A linoleum floor I was liberating from apparently 10 years of ground-in dirt.

I don’t have their nice fancy wooden floors but if I did, I certainly wouldn’t wear shoes with neighbors below. Actually, I wouldn’t wear shoes at all, neighbors or no, but that’s really not the point. Point is, I’m considerate of others … and others aren’t.

The Clomp and Clack Couple are a couple on the go. Go go go.

Between ’em, when they’re not shifting and dragging furniture, stomping or shouting “huzzah!” (I can only hope they’re watching TV sports), they’re working irregular schedules.

I’d think they’re employed based on their youthful age, evidenced by strides replete with vim and vigor, rent and a verrrrry expensive BMW (?). Their second car’s a low-rent hillbilly spankin’ bright blue big pickup. These two ain’t hurtin’ for $.

Someone’s always home. When he’s gone, she’s there. When she’s gone, he’s there. Sometimes they’re both there. I’ve yet to experience their apartment still and silent for any duration. And since she’s most always there — as identified by the comparatively lighter marching and Clack Clack Clack of ladies footwear — wouldn’t surprise if she works at home.

Oh ode to joy!

COV_GagMe

Way I see it, I can be miserable or I can make light of the situation with the oblivious couple; if I don’t, I may shoot someone. Or, better still, power up my trusty Craftsman — only after inserting the biggest bit, of course — and begin drilling, well, let’s call ’em airholes into my ceiling, their floor

As explanation to the landlord police, I could claim my apartment’s small and stuffy (it is) and woefully lacking in circulation and cross breezes (all true) plus some parts get little to no light (again, true).

“Really, officer, have a look inside. I was just tryin’ to create some air flow. {cough cough} It’s so {cough} stuffy and {cough} stagnant-y in here. {cough} We each and all need oxygen to {cough} live. {cough cough}”

Don’t see the cough clause holding up in court.

Rather than drastic measures to cope with the Clomp and Click Couple, I’m opting for the path of peace, like mentioned in post prior.

Too, I find keeping busy, listening to music at a skull-crunching reasonable pleasant volume and consuming copious moderate amounts of alcohol to be tickets to the Peace Train.

Call me Yusuf Islam. Just don't call me late for the train.

Call me Yusuf Islam. Just don’t call me late for the train.

Oh how pissed off proud would be Cat Stevens if he knew of my shameless pilfering of his renowned song title.

I bet he doesn’t wear shoes on wood floors!