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January 29, 2007 12:31 PM   Subscribe

A "noisy" blogger in Astoria, Queens receives detailed complaint letters from the woman downstairs. High schoolers in Florida respond.
posted by mullacc (58 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bravo to the teacher. This is exactly the kind of idea that gets kids inspired and engaged (and the teacher scolded). Let's hope the system doesn't beat the passion out of him.
posted by davebush at 12:44 PM on January 29, 2007


Wow. There's a "This American Life" segment in here somewhere begging to be born.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:45 PM on January 29, 2007


Very interesting, nice post! (As it happens, I used to live in Astoria and for a while had a crazy downstairs neighbor who complained about noise, but nothing so picturesque as this, just your typical paranoid/schizo Bad Neighbor.)
posted by languagehat at 12:50 PM on January 29, 2007


Damn, I love the internet.
posted by mediareport at 12:56 PM on January 29, 2007


My neighbor recently left me a note complaining about the loud bass coming from my subwoofer. A reasonable complaint--but I am looking to find a 3rd grade class to mock him for me.
posted by mullacc at 12:57 PM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, and that teacher is wonderful. Getting them to do angry *and* respectful letters is genius.
posted by mediareport at 12:59 PM on January 29, 2007


I'm not Jewish. But one day I will be, G-d willing, and how I dream of marriage! I wake up all the time and just start breaking plates in the middle of a marriage dream. Mazal Tov!

I'm very clean, and so I then start vacuuming my entire apartment, usually every night. At 1am.

I think my neighbors are loud dreamers too, they are always banging on my walls. I try to lull them asleep by playing Celine Dion and Michael Bolton loud enough that they can hear it.

But, strangely, they bang even louder. Maybe they want some klezmer?
posted by four panels at 1:01 PM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I find Rozhinkes mit Mandlen will do the trick, if played gently on a fiddle.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:05 PM on January 29, 2007


Internet: 2. Satan: 0!
posted by Ohdemah at 1:05 PM on January 29, 2007


If I had to have a complaining, crazy neighbor, I wouldn't mind Sophina.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:06 PM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dear mullacc's Neighbor,

I'm amazed that you can hear the bass thumping over the banging of your mother's head on the headboard.

-IRFH
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:09 PM on January 29, 2007 [8 favorites]


What an awesome, inspired teacher. I read the letters last week and laughed, but the follow-up onabout the high school class really gives me faith that there are people out there who are fighting the good fight... and winning.
posted by kimdog at 1:11 PM on January 29, 2007


I like Ironic Sans, and this is no exception. That is all.
posted by Richard Daly at 1:12 PM on January 29, 2007


*very happy to have neighbors who like my djembe playing*
posted by dflemingdotorg at 1:13 PM on January 29, 2007


I had a downstairs neighbor who complained about noise.

I bought a carpet.
posted by dhartung at 1:16 PM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Loved this - thanks for the post!
posted by agregoli at 1:19 PM on January 29, 2007


I notice it is always the least considerate people who say, "It's just the way things are in an apartment." I am glad mine has thick walls & floors, and I live on the top.
posted by dame at 1:29 PM on January 29, 2007


Sophina is by far the most passive passive-aggressive person in the history of the world. I wonder if she has a hunchback or some other physical deformity that keeps her from wanting to be seen.

Fascinating.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:41 PM on January 29, 2007



There should be a test for self-awareness before applying for a lease.

Lowest score gets the basement apt.
posted by wfc123 at 1:43 PM on January 29, 2007


I play loud music whenever I want to. The couple upstairs gets in a loud screaming match almost every night at 2-3 AM. As long as they don't complain, neither do I.

Great post.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:52 PM on January 29, 2007


Every man needs his own house.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:57 PM on January 29, 2007


That was a fun read, thanks!... And wow, what a great teacher!
posted by amyms at 2:01 PM on January 29, 2007


Good stuff. And even though she comes off much like a grumpy shut-in, I must applaud Sophina's epistolary efforts. Sometimes I wish I had a faceless penpal with whom I could exchange letters, written in cursive, spewing gloriously pompous-ass-worded bouts of bitching. I tend to worry that commenting in web discussions does not merit me the "Man of Letters" epithet that I so covet.

And good on that teacher - connecting with students and able to incorporate technology. Gives me hope. Sadly I won't be too shocked if/when the system pounds him back into formation, reminding him to "Just read from the Teacher's Edition and resume the standardized testing. It's not how much they learn, dammit, it's how well we score."
posted by krippledkonscious at 2:06 PM on January 29, 2007


Amen, Burhanistan.
posted by hojoki at 2:26 PM on January 29, 2007


Apartment buildings are like a laboratory experiment set up (by a cruel God) to test the veracity of the statement "Hell is other people."
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:27 PM on January 29, 2007 [5 favorites]


I was looking at an apartment in LA once where my prospective landlady, who lived next door, actually said, "We just had the floors done. You said you have some rugs. Could you tell me where you would be putting them? And could you tell me where you will be walking?"

I looked at her and said, "I will be walking everywhere except for a two-foot radius in that corner of the dining room." She stared at me and nodded with concern. At that point, I decided it was a good idea to walk to my car & rent elsewhere.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:31 PM on January 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Ooof... I forgot to clarify... she said that she wanted to know exactly which floorboards I would be using to walk due to "wear and tear, as well as unpleasant noise considerations..."
posted by miss lynnster at 2:42 PM on January 29, 2007


Perhaps I should have written a letter to the previous tenants of the apartment above mine. They had a large dog that liked to run around a lot. It sounded like a herd of elephants was stampeding through the apartment. Worse, the dog not only liked to bark at other dogs that walked past its front door, which was unpleasant in and of itself, it also would charge the door, which freaked out the neighbor who lives across the hall from that apartment with her teensy dog.

I always enjoyed the combination of the barking, a mad dash across the apartment toward the door, and a loud bang as the dog slammed into the door.

Forty pound aggressive dogs should really only be kept on the ground floor, IMO. Either that, or the rules about no animals over 25 pounds ought to be enforced.
posted by wierdo at 2:56 PM on January 29, 2007


Everyone who lives in an apartment, dorm, motel, hostel, or other communal living facility should invest in a white noise machine. I use a broken fan, and I can sleep whenever I want because of it.
posted by notswedish at 3:08 PM on January 29, 2007


I just had the Internet done. Some of you apparently have blogs. Can you tell me where you will be blogging? And could you tell me where you will be surfing?
posted by CynicalKnight at 3:22 PM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Every man needs his own house

Too true. But if you choose to live in an apartment (i.e. in the city) expect annoyances. Student halls are the best for the sheer volume of (noisy) people. Flatmates can also be inconsiderate sods, there's no need to leave your apartment to find someone who'll keep you awake all night having sex/drinking/using the washing machine at 3am.
posted by cardamine at 3:30 PM on January 29, 2007


I will be surfing everywhere except for a two-foot radius in that corner of AOL.
posted by InfidelZombie at 3:30 PM on January 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


Every man needs his own house.

Because farmland, functional watersheds and wilderness are so over-rated compared to putting up with minor annoyances like someone else's noise.
posted by jb at 4:37 PM on January 29, 2007


i once lived beneath a couple whose bedroom was directly above my own. i was an insomniac. they were physically interesting, since she was about 6ft and rather large, and her boyfriend was the tiniest, skinniest little dude i'd ever seen. they had a mattress on the floor. the floors were over 100 unremodeled years old.

i still can't forget.

it seems to me that this Sophina is perhaps a sequestered woman, with long hours of obsessiveness to fill. she is perhaps from a culture or household that doesn't think she should be meeting strange men from upstairs, or even writing letters to them. i note that the best bedroom is being occupied by a guest who won't leave. sounds like a lonely one.

or maybe she's just batshitinsane.
posted by RedEmma at 4:44 PM on January 29, 2007


What a fantastic post. Kudos to that teacher.

it seems to me that this Sophina is perhaps a sequestered woman, with long hours of obsessiveness to fill.

Our upstairs neighbors have a Great Dane. No. Not the pianist comedian. The actual dog. It is frigg'n crazy loud.

But it's more about our attitude about the entire situation. My wife and I are SO frigg'n happy to back in the city after five years in the pseudo-burbs (West Seattle) I frankly wouldn't care if they had a horse up there. I sleep like a baby.

I had MORE trouble sleeping in the burbs because it was too quiet. I could hear every tick and creak that old house made and it drove me insane.

Any repetitive high-pitched noise especially. The more on the edge of hearing the worse it is. I once walked two blocks at thee AM to track down a faint beeping noise. It turned out to be my neighbors cell-phone battery warning. He left it in his truck with the sun-roof open. I thought I was being tortured by the CIA.


That was a very nicely designed blog, BTW.
posted by tkchrist at 4:59 PM on January 29, 2007


Christ. Isn't this sort of thing part of what you learn to live with when you live in an apartment building?

It'd be one thing if he/she were deliberately making noise by playing loud music or something, but they can hardly be blamed for when they come home from work.
posted by Target Practice at 5:07 PM on January 29, 2007


"hello, that walking thing you do... it's just gotta go. do you think you could, you know... float?"
posted by tehloki at 5:35 PM on January 29, 2007


I gotta say, I've lived in three different apartment buildings, and in every one, I could hear the people above me CONSTANTLY. Living in an apartment, you learn what every single physical action sounds like coming from above (or at least you learn to conjecture)... kids jumping off furniture, heavy people stomping around, pets running back and forth, midnight quickies, showers, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, chopping vegetables (i assume that's what the rhythmic pounding in the kitchen every night is...hm). It's just something you get used to and learn to sleep through.

HOWEVER. Every morning at like 6:30 a.m. there is a DAMN BIRD CHIRPING OUTSIDE MY WINDOW. Every morning I am woken up, not by my rude noisy neighbors, but by NATURE. This bird has this really annoying chirp. It sounds like this: "Eee. Eee. Eee. Eee." And it's really high-pitched and not beautiful at all. May I just say, I hate that bird.

Fortunately, this post has given me some ideas. I think that bird is going to be receiving a very strongly-worded letter. Or um, maybe a card with a picture of a ceiling. Or ceiling CAT. That ought to get his attention. Yes.
posted by crackingdes at 6:00 PM on January 29, 2007 [4 favorites]


Been like, oh, 5 years now I've been stuck in an apartment in West L.A. and I despise it. The first dude I lived below got up at 5:45 every morning and stomped around the place, so loudly that my tinny wall-heater started clanging like a crash cymbal and shedding dust. I couldn't believe I had to actually ask someone to walk differently, but I did. He was nice about it, but I wanted to leave right there.
posted by toma at 6:06 PM on January 29, 2007


I live in Astoria as well. My landlady lives downstairs and complains of hearing water running, even when were not home. Must be something in the neighborhood air.
posted by jonmc at 6:20 PM on January 29, 2007


Also, back in Bridgeport we used to live next door to a Latino couple. They're bedroom abutted ours. Four nights a week, I'd hear creaking springs, banging boards, sounds of exertive breathing and the occasional 'Aiii, Ramon."

I figure they were either having sex or bullfighting on a trampoline.
posted by jonmc at 6:49 PM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


The next time my boyfriend says he wants to sell the house and just get a damn apartment because he's sick of the maintenance, I am SO forwarding this to him...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:06 PM on January 29, 2007


I used to live above an insane cranky old woman in Tokyo. The noise complaints got more and more bizarre to the stage where she was blaming me for people walking past the apartment speaking in Japanese even. It got to the stage where I was tip-toeing around the apartment one afternoon in the middle of the day, while across the road rumbling delivery trucks went back and forth from a depot and I realized how stupid it all was. I realized it was her problem, not mine, and she could complain to the landlady as much as she wanted. The landlady actually lived next door and her bedroom was right up against our apartment and she never heard us so she never passed on the complaints.

To this day I wonder just how many there were....
posted by gomichild at 7:06 PM on January 29, 2007


storypitch@thislife.org to submit TAL stories.
posted by oxonium at 7:26 PM on January 29, 2007


Oh noes, she left him POLITE NOTES?!?!?

Screw a bunch of high schoolers, I woulda set the five-O on that crazy's ass!!!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:18 PM on January 29, 2007


Among her litany of complaints, an ex-girlfriend once accused me of breathing too loud.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:38 PM on January 29, 2007


*takes credit for entire post, scampers away*
posted by SassHat at 8:53 PM on January 29, 2007


Her notes were entertaining...but I'd hardly call them polite. Passive-aggressive is the best description I think.

Am I the only person who would never, ever, ever live in an apartment except if I'm on the top floor? I mean don't we all just know that?

In some ways her notes reminded me of internet bulletin boards - the anonymity makes it much easier for her to take shots and make unreasonable requests. Thus the fear when he shows up at the door.


And yes, I did once have a note left on my door because I was walking in my apartment and NO I wasn't going to walk 'differently' just because it bothered her...well, maybe a little prancing, but just on the weekends.
posted by django_z at 9:13 PM on January 29, 2007


I live on the top floor of a Brooklyn apartment. Occasionally, but not often, I hear a strange vibrating sound from downstairs the exact tone and timbre of a dildo, but too loud to be a dildo. Not a big deal, and pretty rare, and always during the day. That's it.

In apartments where I haven't been on the top floor, I've never had any complaints. Also, apartments are cheaper than houses, and being in NYC, I don't have to pay a water bill either.

(blows raspberry, runs off)
posted by Navelgazer at 10:08 PM on January 29, 2007


I live on the top floor of a Brooklyn apartment. Occasionally, but not often, I hear a strange vibrating sound from downstairs the exact tone and timbre of a dildo, but too loud to be a dildo. Not a big deal, and pretty rare, and always during the day. That's it.

You're thinking of a vibrator. A dildo is usually non-motorized. Though there is a Venn Diagram in there: Vibrator in one circle and Dildo in the other, with magical overlap in the middle.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:47 PM on January 29, 2007


HOWEVER. Every morning at like 6:30 a.m. there is a DAMN BIRD CHIRPING OUTSIDE MY WINDOW. Every morning I am woken up, not by my rude noisy neighbors, but by NATURE. This bird has this really annoying chirp. It sounds like this: "Eee. Eee. Eee. Eee." And it's really high-pitched and not beautiful at all. May I just say, I hate that bird.

Just be glad it's not a FUCKING WOODPECKER I'D SHOOT THAT FUCKING THING IF--

Ahem.

Sorry.

It sounds exactly like someone knocking loudly on my door(which is a noise I'm conditioned to wake up to X( ), except it's right by my head. Since I don't think the neighbors or cops would appreciate the BB-gun solution, I usually end up going outside and threatening it with a pole. Of course, it seems to have gone away now that it's winter.
posted by sleeplessunderwater at 12:34 AM on January 30, 2007


PareidoliaticBoy writes "Among her litany of complaints, an ex-girlfriend once accused me of breathing too loud."

I think I dated her brother. I also, apparently, tied my shoes in an annoying manner. (WTF?)

Navelgazer writes "Occasionally, but not often, I hear a strange vibrating sound from downstairs the exact tone and timbre of a dildo, but too loud to be a dildo."

Maybe it's a super-powered model?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:46 AM on January 30, 2007


Maybe it's a super-powered model?

It fights crime and horniness?
posted by jonmc at 9:24 AM on January 30, 2007


My ex-boyfriend, a Yugoslavian who talked like Dracula, one got all riled up that I prop up pillows "incorrectly." Under my own head. Apparently, you are supposed to lay them vertically, directly atop eachother. I, on the other hand, had done a diagonal stack against the bedframe so I could watch television with my back against them. He emphatically insisted that I'm a smart woman who should I know better that to do such a thing.
I responded that if he was really that desperate to pick a fight with a woman he should just go visit his ex-wife & let me watch tv.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:00 AM on January 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


y'know, miss lynnster, I like your style.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:08 AM on January 30, 2007


Why, thank you. :)
Hey, I may be single now, but at least I can prop up my pillows any damn way I like. There are benefits...
posted by miss lynnster at 11:18 AM on January 30, 2007


Lesson learned: Do not date people with severe Asperger's and/or OCD. They will try and tell you that everything you do is inefficient and wrong.

My ex-girlfriend once said that my "thrusting angle" was "not optimum" and actually stopped me halfway through sex to point it out.
posted by tehloki at 1:01 AM on January 31, 2007


The weirdest part of Sophina's letters for me was when she basically said she heard the guy turn down his tv (or "whatever") to listen to a loud argument she was having with the person in her apt.

My only weird neighbor situation involved upstairs neighbors who were heavy sleepers and let their alarm clock go on too long. Someone thought it was mine and left me an anonymous note in my mailbox. Not knowing who to reply to, I printed out a "To Whom It May Concern" note and posted it above the mailboxes to let the person know.

I'm actually amazed that I hear no noise from upstairs neighbors - it's gotta be vacant. I now live on the 2nd floor of a 6-story older building.
posted by PY at 5:50 AM on January 31, 2007


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