Noise and Neighbors

I have lived in my current apartment for just over six months now, and getting used to the thin walls and noise from the next building over has been difficult. The first week we moved in, we got a complaint from our neighbor downstairs and after that made a concerted effort to tread lightly and keep our music down after 10pm or so. But that didn’t stop us from getting a noise complaint when we had three of our friends over for dinner and a movie about a month later.

We learned to really watch our noise levels, and had to deal with the fact that we just couldn’t have people over to our apartment at night. For about two months, things went really smoothly; we had no complaints and our relationship with our neighbors was much better. Then one night in late June, I was sitting on my roommate’s bed swapping stories from our weekends when we heard a man yell from the next building over. “Keep your voices down! People are trying to sleep!! Do you know what time it is?!” I glanced at her clock; it was ten minutes past eleven.

We were both kind of shocked; even though our windows had been open, we hadn’t been talking loudly. At first we didn’t say anything, until he asked if we had heard him. My roommate, being the more aggressive of the two, spoke up and said yes, we did hear him, sorry we were just trying to have a conversation and we weren’t meaning to be that loud. He made some rude comment and before my roommate could prolong the argument I just apologized again and shut our windows.

Since then, he has yelled at us two more times, both of which I wanted to avoid conflict so I would just apologize and shut my windows. But Sunday night, my roommate and I we cleaning our apartment just before 10 p.m. when I called to her in the other room to ask her if she had any towels she wanted to wash. Before my roommate had a chance to respond, our neighbor from next door screams over at us to be quiet. This was just ridiculous. We weren’t playing music; we weren’t screaming or being loud. We were talking at normal voices and it was barely ten at night! I wake up at 6am to someone’s radio every morning, and at 7:30 a.m., in an apartment next door, someone starts their exercise video. I never scream loudly, yelling at them to be quiet, instead, I shut my windows.

So this time, instead of stammering an apology, I told our neighbor that if our talking bothers him so much, I think he should shut his windows instead of yelling and disturbing even more people. He yelled some other rude remark before we heard his windows slam shut.

Hopefully my response won’t cause us more problems, but I was tired of being pushed around by him, when for the most part, our “excessive” noise was just normal, day to day activity… I mean come on, we were talking about laundry! We live in a busy city, in a part of town where the apartment buildings are close together, you can’t count on everyone else to have the same schedule as you. So if he really is that bothered by us, he needs to go invest in some earplugs, buy a fan, and shut his own windows.