Nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor’s noisy party than being there. ~ Franklin P. Jones
One of the upsides to living in a 100 year old building is the amazing hardwood floors. One of the downsides to living in a 100 year old building is the amazing hardwood floors; heavy footsteps, the bass line of movie soundtracks and the latest party music can make it difficult to catch the punchlines when you’re watching a rerun of Cheers.
A few weeks after moving in, I received the best welcome note ever under my door, it was from my upstairs neighbor. It started out like this:
It’s me Dave Baby Boomer….the fella in #301.
I have been meaning, meaning, meaning….planning to drop by long before this…mostly to check in on the noise level.”
The note included additional welcoming thoughts and a $20 gift certificate to Spirit World and in closing he said,
“When you have a mo’, do lemme know how life is in #201, wouldja?”
Truth to be told, I do hear the floors creak if we’re both home at the same time – but it’s more comforting than annoying. In a quiet space, it’s a reminder that I’m not alone.
The heavy bass line is another story though, when I start trying to guess which movie he’s watching, it’s time for a text or a phone call. Thankfully it doesn’t happen often, and a reduction in volume is only a phone call and an apology away.
Not having met my downstairs neighbors, I wasn’t sure quite how to handle it last week when the level of noise invaded my apartment and spilled out into the hallway. My first instinct was to stomp on the floor and hope that they would get the hint, but I figured it would be close to impossible to distinguish a stomp on the floor from part of the song.
After waiting several minutes, it became apparent that without an intervention, the evening would only get louder. I padded down to the first level and knocked on their door.
I knocked again.
One more time, as hard as I could without hurting my knuckles.
My hand was on the doorknob, it twisted freely toward the right. The door was unlocked, do I dare? I did.
I’m not sure what caught them more off guard, the fact that someone who wasn’t invited to the party opened the door without permission or the fact that a woman, old enough to be their mother was standing in their living room – wearing pink and black leopard print flannel pajama bottoms, bright blue and white polka dot fuzzy socks and a Penn State hooded sweatshirt.
Without looking anyone in the eye, I pointed my thumb toward the ceiling and twisted an invisible volume knob down, turned around and closed the door behind me. It was instantly quiet.
The following day, about thirty minutes before guests were schedule to arrive for dinner, there was a knock on my door.
“Hi, my name is Jack College. I wanted to apologize for the noise last night, it’s been eating at me all day.”
“Nice to meet you Jack, I’m Beth. Thanks so much for stopping by to apologize, it means a lot.”
Shifting from one foot to the other, “Ummm, I also wanted to give you my phone number. Just in case it happens again, you know, so you can just call me.”
“That’s a great idea, I’ll send you a text so you know who’s calling. Thanks again, I really appreciate it.”
A few minutes after he left, we exchanged a few text messages:
It was very thoughtful of him to stop over and apologize and give me his phone number, but I can’t help but giggle and suspect that there might have been conversation after I closed their door behind me. It might have gone something like this:
“Dude, we gotta find a way to keep the old lady from upstairs from walking into the apartment again; what if she calls the landlord or worse yet, the cops?”
“I know, you’re right. I’ll come up with something.”
After stewing about it for the better part of the day, I’m guessing Jack was hit with a stroke of brilliance.
It would appear that, after weighing the risks associated with my having his phone number vs another unannounced visit or a phone call to the “authorities,” he mustered up the courage to face the woman who is brave enough to be seen wearing leopard print flannel pants and a Penn State sweatshirt in Nebraska.
The conversation was amicable, we now each know our neighbor by name and most importantly (to me) there’s been no breech of acceptable sound volumes since exchanging phone numbers.
Life in the multi-generational lane. 🙂