Is it a bowling ball?
April 8, 2015 1:09 PM   Subscribe


I think my upstairs neighbour's glass eye falls out and rolls across the floor a few times every night while she's watching very loud TV.
posted by colie at 1:32 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

i was prepared to be all cynical about this video but it was pretty much right on.
posted by ghostbikes at 1:35 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

I am literally moving to a top floor apartment on Friday because I cannot live under people anymore. Never again. The upstairs neighbors slam the door each time they come in and leave, they do not take their boots off when they come home, and one comes home at midnight and the other at three am. The midnight one will sometimes stay up all night, obsessively pacing directly above our heads. When we left them a note telling them they might not be aware of the amount of noise they are making, they posted on social media that it might be fun either to stab us or burn our car.

We have not slept in three years. Sometimes I forget my own name.
posted by maxsparber at 1:38 PM on April 8, 2015 [24 favorites]

I am literally moving to a top floor apartment on Friday.

I can see your thinking here, but it seems like a lot of work an expense. How much does a bowling ball even cost? How long will it take to sweep the bucket of ball bearings back up off the floor each night? If it turns out your new dog is quiet, how long will it take to teach the dog to bark?

I, for one, could not handle the responsibility of being an upstairs neighbour.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:42 PM on April 8, 2015 [67 favorites]

This rang so fucking true.

Now that I have the emotional distance of living on the top floor of a building, I can laugh. But it's a laugh tinged with a sadness that a thousand sleepless nights burned into my soul.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:42 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Our upstairs neighbors seem to sometimes have a toddler, and sometimes a dog. Never both.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:45 PM on April 8, 2015 [13 favorites]

I still cringe at the time I was disassembling an IKEA desk to move and it swedishly collapsed in a heap of wooden and metal parts. It was 3 a.m.

Sorry, downstairs, neighbors!
posted by dhartung at 1:49 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

One time, in law school, I was in a production of Urinetown where everybody in the cast chipped in as part of the crew. The board had, for reasons surpassing understanding, hired two lighting designers, who more or less hated each other, two coordinate on the production, in a "theatre" (note: actually auditorium) that couldn't possibly handle the amount of instruments in the air, with no catwalks, and multiple layers of jerry-rigging to make any of it work at all. I was the "Master Electrician" beholden to the two of them. This story happened somewhere between tech weekend and opening night.

Our rehearsals got out at ten, and then I would have to spend the next hour or two diagnosing the multitude of problems their hubris had created while they fought bitterly with each other and occasionally me. Finally, I get out of there, ready to cry, and head back home.

Once home, I crack open a beer and start to pound on the drums in my Rock Band game just to get the fucking stress out so that I could hopefully sleep in an hour or two. After a few minutes of this, I hear a loud knock on the door.

I throw open the door, still delirious and angry, and see my downstairs neighbor, whom I had completely forgotten existed, staring at me with the biggest, most well-earned What-the-Fuck-Face I've ever seen. With the drum set very visibly right behind me, I made no attempt at explanation and sheepishly apologized.

I was super-conscientious after that.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:50 PM on April 8, 2015 [13 favorites]

Needs more dogs slip-n'-sliding on laminate, but, yeah, otherwise about right.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:51 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

The fellow below me used to work nights and arrive home in the morning dog tired; I often heard him ramming a broom handle into his ceiling when I used my electric toothbrush or the cat jumped off the counter.

Oddly though, jigsawing through metal pipe, taking a circular saw to 2x4s or sledgehammering on jammed bushings produced nary a peep from him.
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:51 PM on April 8, 2015

Gawd. The apartment I moved out of five years ago had upstairs neighbours who were clearly featured here (save that they never ever answered their door). There were a lot of mystery sounds -- is that people washing dishes in the bathtub? What are they hammering together at 4:00 AM? -- but at least one was unmistakable and baffling to this day. Moving a lot of empty wine bottles in a wooden crate has very distinct sonic palate, as they clink together simultaneously at any bump. This sound coupled with a low smooth rumbling led me to the inescapable conclusion that they were moving crates of empty glassware back and forth between the living room and the bedroom on a dolly between midnight and 6:00 AM, sometimes every night for a week at a time. Strains the mind a bit, don't it?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:58 PM on April 8, 2015 [14 favorites]

Finally, I have arrived at the pinnacle - the top floor!
How much suffering have I done re: upstairs neighbors in my life? Can't begin to log it but its like years.
Now, I'm so careful not to be like the ones who ruined so many apts for me..... 'always wear soft slippers or barefoot, lots of rugs, I lift things instead of drag them, and when I do drop something on the hardwood floor I whisper, "Sorry, Amanda!"
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 1:59 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

People above us in one apartment appeared to run an all-night illegal daycare. Since those are a thing, I'm pretty sure that's what it was. Either that or their one kid had slumber parties every single night with six or seven friends.

One time, the guy above us beat up his girlfriend till a neighbor called the cops. We didn't know that's what it was, we only heard thumps, not the screams. That was pretty awful.
posted by emjaybee at 2:00 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I live on the top floor for this very reason. We have rugs everywhere, always take off our shoes, keep very normal hours, and generally I *think* we're pretty good neighbors. But I do wonder. I'm a bit of a clutz and drop things a lot. How loud is it to them when I'm pulling pots and pans out of our cabinet of when I accidentally clang a pot on the stove? Can they hear the garbage disposal? Should I put even thicker pads on the feet of our dining chairs?

Then again, they have screaming fights with each other that wake us up at 3am and at least part-time there's a child screaming and running back and forth. They also just completely stole the first floor neighbors' parking spot and in the past have parked in ways that block people in to our very small lot. And they smoke pot a lot which is fine but in the winter when everything's sealed up the smell permeates our apartment too.

My worst upstairs neighbors were a couple who worked at a bar together - a bar that my landlord owned. They would get home drunk and scream "fuck you!" "no, fuck YOU!" at each other. The contempt for the man in the woman's voice still rings in my head. She would say his name at the end of every sentence she screamed at him. "What the fuck do you think I want, BRIAN?!" "I fucking hate you, BRIAN!" They also had a dog that they never walked and who they just let shit all over the 10'x10' front yard and never cleaned up.

One time I was trying to sleep and someone came home at 3am and it sounded like they were letting the dog play with toys in the room right above my head. I mentioned it to the neighbor the next day when I saw him - "Hey, would you mind keeping the dog out of that first bedroom at night? That's above our bed and it was really loud when he was playing in there last night." His response was a contrite "Oh shit, that wasn't the dog, I was mopping."
posted by misskaz at 2:01 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I, for one, could not handle the responsibility of being an upstairs neighbour.

Years ago, my friends and I rented out a couple of apartments in a converted big, old private house in Brooklyn. It was a very old house, not exceptionally well kept-up, although Sophia, the matronly old Italian landlady, was pretty good about getting serious problems fixed. Anyway, one weekend we threw what I can only describe as a bacchanal between the two apartments. A couple dozen people showed up, it went on until all hours, etc.

A few days later, we're hanging out on the couch and my friend gets called down by the landlady and comes back looking not shaken but at least a little concerned:

"What was that about?"
"Uh, apparently Sophia's been out of town for a week and she wanted to know if we had any idea why her chandelier fell down."

...and then there was a smash cut in all our minds to a brief moment when there were at least five or six people pogoing and screaming along to Gogol Bordello's "Start Wearing Purple" and we all sort of looked at one another with concern.

"So what'd you tell her?"
"I told her I had no idea."

I guess the house was old and ramshackle enough that a collapsing chandelier was just par for the course for her, because she never followed up or accused us of anything. Either that, or the years of reliably paying the rent in cash had stored up enough goodwill for her to just call it even. Either way, bless you and your apparent credulousness both, Sophia.
posted by griphus at 2:10 PM on April 8, 2015 [23 favorites]

I once had an upstairs neighbor lean out of her window and start screaming "help, help, he's killing me, help" while thumping and banging noises went on. That was unfun. I called the cops.

This wasn't upstairs, but a neighbor in the same apartment building rolled an empty beer keg down a flight of stairs and into the parking lot on night at 3 AM. The same people on a different night at about the same time took a Sawzall and sawed off the roof of their huge beater Oldsmobile to make it a convertible (with exceptionally poor handling). That was the loudest thing I have ever heard in my life.
posted by Fnarf at 2:11 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I had an upstairs neighbor who, I am pretty sure, was a horse who liked to do light sawing every evening when he got home.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:17 PM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]

My upstairs neighbors were a dream. I had to complain about loud music late at night once and they were great about it after that. At least until the SWAT team raided them for dealing. Drug dealers are really great upstairs neighbors. They do not want you getting annoyed and going to your landlord/the cops. SWAT raids on an apartment at 5:30 in the morning are less so. And the busted up front door didn't help.
posted by Hactar at 2:23 PM on April 8, 2015 [9 favorites]

Finally, I have arrived at the pinnacle - the top floor!

I have lived on the top (12th) floor. I thought I was finally moving to a quiet apartment. Unfortunately, didn't realize the antennae up on the roof made all kinds of weird creaking sounds, given any wind.
posted by Rash at 2:41 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

They need to have kids, or at least borrow one from a kid rental place... They have those, right?
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:56 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Our upstairs neighbors seem to sometimes have a toddler, and sometimes a dog. Never both.

They have a little werebaby!
posted by The Whelk at 2:57 PM on April 8, 2015 [26 favorites]

My worst apartment wasn't even really my neighbor's fault. Turns out the conrete of our ceiling/their floor was cracked, especially, it seemed, right above our bed. You could hear it over the sounds of the TV in the living room. There were two people in the apartment and one went to bed about midnight and the other went to bed about 3. They both seemed to just hang out right next to their for FOREVER before finally getting their stupid feet off the floor and into their bed. It was so bad we moved our bed into the study (which only had those acordion doors) and our bedroom became storage.

We called the complexed multiple times to report the noise, which they took as us complaining that our neighbors were being too loud. When maintenance finally came out to look, they said they couldn't do anything about it because the people above use have asthma. Of course we asked multiple times to just be let out of our lease, but no. We actually had to call the city inspector out to get them to do something about it. They actually fixed it about 1 month before our lease was up and forced our upstairs neighbors to move.

I still have nightmares about that place, man.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:05 PM on April 8, 2015

I have lived this life, oh yes. I had the middle floor of a three-plex building, and lived there through several sets of upstairs neighbors.

The worst of the lot were the Clog-dancing bowling-ball jugglers, who routinely came home HAMMERED at 2AM all nights of the week, POUNDING up and down the staircase that abutted my bedroom wall like overweight 10-year-olds. These were a couple of wee college girls who each likely weighed in at 100 pounds wet, max.

So, yeah, their nocturnal athletic pursuits sounded EXACTLY like I describe above - jigging about the length of the unit in wooden shoes on the naked wood floors, punctuated by IMMENSE window-shaking crashes like the dropping of freeweights or perhaps medicine balls.

I called them The Meatsack and The Other One. I spoke with them shortly after they arrived, all smiles and hey welcome friendlies, emphasizing the importance of being careful to stay quiet after 10 since we all had dayjobs downstairs.

Two nights later the Meatsack and her boyfriend came POUNDING up the stairs, giggling like they had pants full of fingers, and proceeded, apparently, to rearrange the heavy wooden furniture upstairs, including tipping over an antique oaken credenza, by the sound of it. Awoken by this amazing crash on my ceiling, I determined that these ladies were not going to receive my message on the "friendly" frequency, so walked upstairs, pounded on the door as hard as I could, and re-tuned my transmitter to "CRAZY."

I'm six and a quarter feet tall and filled the doorway with my wrath.

She moved out THE NEXT DAY.

Problem solved.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 3:05 PM on April 8, 2015 [17 favorites]

Okay, so, years ago, I had a new-ish downstairs neighbor, who, for weeks on end, had been complaining about the slightest bit of noise. No, seriously. I would open a sliding closet door and she would complain that it sounded like I was moving furniture. This wasn't even late at night, or anything. Just the sounds of normal, day-to-day living were too much for her. Not sure if she'd ever lived in an apartment before.

So then came New Year's Eve, and I was having a party. One that may have gotten slightly loud and boisterous. Maybe. Okay, definitely.

By around 1:30, maybe 2:00am, I was myself slightly intoxicated, by which I actually mean stumbling drunk and incredibly giggly. There's a knock at my door. Who could that be? I wasn't expecting any other guests ....

I go over and open it, and there's my downstairs neighbor, looking furious. She opens her mouth to say something, and I ... uhh, well, I mentioned I was drunk, right? .... I point at her and laugh out loud before gently closing the door in her face.

Never heard from her again after that.
posted by webmutant at 3:07 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think my upstairs neighbour's glass eye falls out and rolls across the floor a few times every night while she's watching very loud TV.

Oh, oh, I can solve this one if she's anything like our family. We have a wireless trackball we use to drive our media center PC setup. It's almost a daily event that it gets dropped to the floor, the ball itself pops out, and rolls as far away as possible under the couches. I betcha it would sound just like your eyeball hypothesis if we lived above someone, which we don't thank heavens.
posted by RolandOfEld at 3:19 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


2003 Bermuda International Film Festival. About half of my group is staying at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel, and my GF and I have a room overlooking the Harbor, seemingly as far away form every other guest as possible. (We'd learned that our reputation had preceded us when we arrived and signed in. The other half of our group had shown up the day before and gotten the festival director throughly hammered, and apparently we were, like, the only Americans at this thing aside from David Ansen and Karen Allen. It was a weird festival. Anyway...

Last night of the thing, and we all have fun at the closing party, and then at a quarter to midnight they're all like, "whelp! everybody out. Bermuda is closed now!."

Now, thankfully, we were not the only ones who found this premature, and the final party had been in the ballroom at our hotel, so we run into this kiwi dude named Bron and his entourage, who begs us to continue the party in our room. I'm up for this, but warn him that he needs to find a way to supply the booze. After tons of working about with room service (closed) and the bar (closed) he finally arranges to just purchase the entirety of our minibar. Time to get this going!

This party rages on for about an hour or so and is fan-tastic, but sooner or later we're running short on alcohol and everybody's about ready to go, when we hear a timid knock on the door. Everybody freezes, and I go out to try to deal with it.

Standing in front of me is a tiny Sri Lankan (IIRC) manwith his hands behind his back. He explains that he is staying downstairs. I apologize. He asks if we're having a party. I apologize. He pulls out a bag containing the entire contents of his own minibar from behind his back and asks if he can join us.

Needless to say, that party continued to be amazing. Fuck yes you may join us downstairs stranger.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:22 PM on April 8, 2015 [38 favorites]

(Oh, and then it turned out that Bron had put the entirety of our room charges on his card, not just the minibar, so bonus.)
posted by Navelgazer at 3:23 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

When I had upstairs neighbours they made all their YouTube videos not available in my country as well so this really takes me back to a darker time.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:35 PM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]

The upstairs people who also bowl on their floor and have a toddler with lead boots that runs up and down the apartment all day every day have apparently turned into Marley's ghosts since now it sounds like chains dragging back and forth over and over and over and over and...
posted by Evilspork at 3:43 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't mind the noise as much as the flooding.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:49 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

So, I was a very quiet upstairs neighbor when I lived alone. Socked feet on carpeted floors; cooked at normal hours; vacuumed at 3 PM on Saturday; played video games or watched TV only at Reasonable Hours. Then I got married.

My wife (and even more, my mother-in-law) are creatures of a City. A City where population density is higher, quite probably, than anywhere in the U.S. They don't care about noise. Is 9:30 PM a good time to use the meat grinder to produce fish balls? Yes! Is 1 AM a good time to pack for the flight home? Yep! When is a good time to get out pots and pans? All of them!
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:26 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

For some reason, the Chicago apartments I lived in had amazingly insulated ceilings, or something, because I never heard anyone above me. Not even the tiniest creak. (Of course, two ceilings in my apartment also collapsed while I was there because pipes burst, but, y'know, can't have everything.) When I moved to my current job and became the Upstairs Neighbor for two years, though, I did my best to maintain complete silence--floors were carpeted, no music without headphones, no late-night TV, no cleaning at odd hours... But I had not counted on my cats. The downstairs neighbors complained that they could hear the cats running around. When they were kittens.

It is impossible to explain to cats that the downstairs neighbors dislike the pitter-patter of their little feet on the wall-to-wall carpet.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:31 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't mind the noise as much as the flooding.

This literally happened to me. The upstairs neighbors weren't usually too bad - a couple of elephant-footed toddlers, but their sleep hours bracketed mine so no biggie. time their water heater sprung a pinhole leak, and unbeknownst to me it flooded the spare bedroom closet floor, then the entire spare bedroom carpet, then out into the hallway...I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and got the surprise of my life when I stepped into a puddle in the hallway!

Long story short, this is really a complaint about the landlord who, although he had to replace the water heater:

(a) he didn't really do anything about the water damage in my apartment, causing me to have to rent one of those carpet cleaners from the grocery store and suck up all the water I could with it, and

(b) even with all my efforts the carpet in the spare bedroom stayed damp long enough to get moldy despite repeated requests for the landlord to handle it somehow. His response? "Ehh, just open the windows" the middle of a humid southeastern US summer, yeah, real effective plan.

Fortunately, I was able to deduct the cleaner rental from my monthly rent, none of my belongings were damaged, and I moved out a couple months later so it was someone else's problem. I even got my full deposit back!

So okay, I guess not really a horror story per se, but it sure felt shitty when it was happening.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:50 PM on April 8, 2015

The upstairs neighbors ... do not take their boots off when they come home,

Leap not to conclusions. I had a new neighbor move in upstairs, and always knew exactly when he came home and when he went to bed by when the noise of what I imagined were his hobnailed Doc Martens started and stopped. So one night, in the middle of his stomping around, I went upstairs ... and met a slightly-built guy wearing slippers on his carpeted floor. I can only assume that the floor under the carpet was drum-skin or something. I moved to a top-floor apartment as soon as one opened up.

My experience with drug-dealer neighbors was not as pleasant as Hactar's. My one request for less volume on the stereo late at night was met with furious demands that I get the fuck back upstairs. Later, I was blamed for calling the cops on them, which I hadn't done. Of course, as long as they were convinced it was me, I might as well do it. One of his favorite amusements in the Summer was luring skunks on hot nights, with bread tossed off his 2nd-floor balcony. When one came within range, he'd throw something and hit it, then rush back inside and close his door. The rest of us who had our windows open would get gassed.

I do not miss apartment life.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:52 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Frankenstein Just Got Up

(Why is that so tinny? Wish there was a better version online.)
posted by hydrophonic at 5:04 PM on April 8, 2015

This reminds me of my place right now. My upstairs neighbor, that i actually kind of liked, just moved out. And weirdly my downstairs neighbors are the ones my landlord asked me if i ever had a problem with.

He was a bartender at a high end hipstery restaurant with a small bar(i refuse to call it a "gastropub") a few blocks away. He always worked closing shift.

His hobby was coming home at ~3am after closing completely blackout drunk, usually with friends or some random lady(maybe a coworker?) and then just staggering in to his house and tackling shit. Bookshelves, whatever was on the coffee table, his TV, speakers, you name it. Then he'd slur out a really loud AWW FUCK and try and clean it up. Sometimes the vacuum would come out.

The crazy thing was he'd do this two or three times a week. I still don't understand how he had any furniture or possessions left since it was always a HUGE smash noise, and you'd often hear things breaking after he fell down too. And he was like, 6'9 and built like a fridge.

He'd also often go "eh, whatever" and have really loud drunken sex right after he had just demolished his living room... in his living room.

He was otherwise an awesome neighbor. It just always sounded like he had angrily tackled an engine off an engine hoist, or sometimes 2 or 3 in a row when he'd stand up and fall over grabbing on to something else and taking it down with him too. Sometimes it sounded like whatever thing was about to just blast right through my ceiling too, and this building is built like a bunker.

It never ACTUALLY bothered me because i couldn't hear it at all in my bedroom, too. I'd only hear it if i was in the living room late, and then i'd just chuckle.
posted by emptythought at 5:19 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

DO YOU LIVE ABOVE ME??? No seriously they might be my neighbors.

posted by bibliogrrl at 5:28 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

I have a very light tread I guess, to the point where I am constantly inadvertently terrifying roommates and such when I'm, like, slipping past them in the kitchen or walking through other common areas, and it's given me unreasonable expectations of everyone else's ability to WALK FUCKING QUIETLY. What is up with all of you MONSTERS who cannot move about without sounding like unto a herd of buffalo?? What is up with the stomping? Yes, yes, I know I'm being unreasonable.

Anyway my upstairs neighbor story is that in my complex, any activities undertaken in the bathrooms are basically guaranteed to be audible to everyone in the complex. All the bathrooms have windows, and they're echo-y, and the tile conducts sound appallingly well. This is fine when it's just normal bathroom noises like toilets flushing and showers turning on, and even hair dryers even though that gets annoying. You know what's not okay, neighbors? LISTENING TO NPR IN THE BATHROOM WHILE YOU SHOWER AT 5 AM. I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt given the mystical sound conducting properties of the bathrooms, and even had a brief moment of horror that I was subjecting my neighbors to something similar when I listened to podcasts through my phone speakers while brushing my teeth at night. But when I checked, you could hear barely a murmur from my phone, whereas I would have considered the NPR loud if it was in my actual room let alone coming from upstairs. I'm a fairly mellow person and accept most noises as the consequence of existing in a city, but this particular habit of my upstairs neighbors drove me to a boundless rage, and I wasn't the only one given the agonized shouts of TURN IT DOWN and ARE YOU KIDDING ME and slamming windows whenever it happened. They have, thank god, stopped doing this.
posted by yasaman at 5:42 PM on April 8, 2015

I'm a downstairs neighbor, but for the past week I've been learning to make and use a bow drill.

It's not a particularly loud hobby, but I'm curious what my upstairs neighbors make of squeaking and sawing sounds interpolated by the smell of cedar smoke and smoldering dryer lint while I mutter "Come on! Come on! Shit."
posted by justkevin at 5:44 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I awoke one night at about 4 a.m. to my upstairs neighbor either vacuuming or using the world's loudest vibrator. I really couldn't tell. Either way ...

My new neighbors have children and boy do they like to run around. They sound like a heard of baby elephants, but I think baby elephants are lighter on their feet.

These neighbors are better than the guy who used to play the same Beatles song on repeat forever (I've blocked out which one -- but I'm talking HOURS) in the middle of the night and used to watch porn really loudly. I will take elephant toddlers anytime because at least they occasionally sleep.
posted by darksong at 5:58 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Now that I think about it, all my apartments have always been on the top floor.

I'm sorry, you guys.
posted by Mogur at 6:06 PM on April 8, 2015

I live in an old, poorly insulated California building. My upstairs neighbor composes techno for a living. Really. He's kindly turned it down from deafening levels, but I've also gotten used to it. I'll often absentmindedly pump my fist over my head for a few beats while reading on the couch or washing dishes.
posted by missmary6 at 6:39 PM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]

I live on the 2nd floor of a 3 story building. My upstairs neighbor is a dream. I'd think she was dead except that her car is moved every day. The last time I heard any real noise upstairs was the day she moved in.

My downstairs neighbor is a fucking asshole. He screams at sports, he screams at video games, he screams at his kid, he turns up the bass enough to shake my coffee table, he practices his white guy rapping skillz. When I moved in, I tried to be very conscientious about taking my shoes off, not dropping things, etc. Now? I put on boots and clomp around as much as I want. I throw things on the floor. I encourage my cats to charge down the hallway at 2 am. I do anything that won't also disturb my upstairs neighbor.
posted by desjardins at 6:57 PM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]

I have had plenty of crazy upstairs neighbor problems over the years. I remember at the peak of the worst drama with most psycho neighbor I ever had, I talked to a friend about it and he asked me if I had ever seen Roman Polanski's film The Tenant. I said no, the title sounds interesting, I'll go rent it and watch it this weekend. He said, "NO YOU MUST NOT watch this film, you will die. You cannot watch this movie until you move out of here someday. Maybe not for a long time afterwards."

I watched it about five years after I moved out of there. He was right.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:02 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've never had any problems with upstairs neighbors but this was incredibly funny.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:25 PM on April 8, 2015

Stories? Oh I just can't. I mean I really can't. I just wrote one up, 2700 words. Then I decided not to post it. It's not a story, it's a chapter of the novel I have been trying NOT to write, and that you don't want to read.

Just go watch The Tenant.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:28 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Our upstairs neighbors have 3 kids under the age of 10 and a giant pit bull.

Sound itself doesn't travel but right this very second it's thump thump thump. I've basically learned to tune it out completely.
posted by Windigo at 8:32 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

So many stories, living in New York, some mine (neighbor with the idiot 11-year-old who routinely bounced his basketball against the bedroom wall adjacent to my bed, who told me in Spanish to tell the gentrifying landlord to build a bigger wall), some my fault (I played Dance Dance Revolution in our fourth-floor apartment), some friends' (downstairs neighbor sawing and drilling through his ceiling and their floor).

But the biggest torture: my current upstairs neighbors. Not the psychotic brace of Yorkies, not the toddler. There were a few months when the toddler would apparently only fall asleep to one version of You Are My Sunshine, a plonky acoustic guitar duet in which one of the singers was very, very flat. And they'd leave that one song on repeat for hours at a time. And all I could hear was the worst parts of guitar and vocal drone. They apparently had the speakers flat on the wood floor.

The upside was that when I bemusedly asked the upstairs neighbor if his speakers were on the floor, he very worriedly said yes and offered to put them up on a table. Problem solved (aside from the rest of the toddler, and the hysterical Yorkies).
posted by gusandrews at 8:40 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Our upstairs neighbors seem to sometimes have a toddler, and sometimes a dog. Never both.

They have a little werebaby!

I have read this fanfic and it doesn't end well.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:52 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]

We've had a spate of middle apartments, apartments 2, apartments B. Things are always interesting, though rarely terrible. In the last building though, there was little-to-no soundproofing between the apartment above us and ours. Sure the TV was occasionally loud, or the stereo. The guy was a musician though, and he was relatively respectful, and easy enough to talk to if the music or tv got too loud. He even had joint custody of his daughter, and she made cute pitter-patter sounds on Sunday mornings.

The thing that was bad? The thing that I couldn't discuss with him? The fact that the least soundproofing was in the bathroom. Such that if we were in one end of the apartment, and he was taking care of things at the other end, there was no mistaking what he was taking care of.

On the other hand, I am confident that he had no urinary tract issues whatsoever, and would have been at least as effective as the McKenzie brothers if the building had caught fire.
posted by aureliobuendia at 8:54 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

My upstairs neighbor(s) in this place have been a fucking nightmare, with heavy construction projects weeknights only between 1am and 5am and at no other times at all whatsoever. Hammering, jigsaws, what I initially suspected to be a $5,000 fucking machine but turned out to be a floor polisher; all this paled in comparison to when he either went off his good meds or started in on the meth again because suddenly the screaming nude roid rages on the fire escape were a regular thing again. The bathroom ceiling leaked for 3 years, and to my knowledge they have never once answered the door when the super tried to get in and make the leak stop.

Then they had a "baby" (i scare quote the baby because it never made a single normal baby sound, no crying, no gurgley laughter, no whining, no adults talking baby talk at him, no throwing of toys, nothing) and things calmed down a lot for about a year until the "baby" turned out to be Pyramid Head, who would spend many hours in the late evening, 11p-1a or so, toddling very slowly across the floor while dragging what could only be the Great Knife behind him. The entire building was oddly silent throughout these ominous toddles.

Now there's only one person up there anymore, the other two have disappeared into the shadows hopefully never to return. I assume it was the girlfriend and her son, escaping the godawful douchebag who like using disc sanders at 4am on tuesdays, but whoever is up there now is pretty quiet, although they do seem to gently herd a small family of bowling balls in through the door sometimes a bit too late for a weeknight.

tbh i think it's that the heinously inconsiderate parents were banished and now above me lives Baby Pyramid Head. i feel pretty good about it, all things considered. Baby Pyramid Head keeps inoffensive hours and has never to my knowledge exposed himself angrily on the fire escape, nor does he appear to have gruesomely slaughtered anyone with his Great Knife.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:13 PM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]

My wife and I had these terribly catty downstairs neighbors who didn't like us being awake at 7 in the morning and getting dressed for our jobs. They complained about the noise. We apologized and made an honest effort to keep things as quiet as possible.

One day, my poor wife was suffering from a migraine and they had music just blasting in the middle of the day. So I went down and knocked. No answer. Knocked again. No answer. Pounded on the door. No answer.

So I went downstairs and cut off their power.
posted by device55 at 9:19 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

I can't find the source cartoon, but when I lived on the ground floor I would always use the joke, "Upstairs neighbors breeding rhinos again?"

To which the answer is, "No, I think they're practicing the javelin toss."
posted by ob1quixote at 9:41 PM on April 8, 2015

I should add, it's just part of living in an apartment, especially a lower floor. There's little point in complaining. That's why I would make the same joke every time.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:43 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

You know, maybe I've just been lucky to live in places with sturdy construction, but I don't think I've ever had a troublesome upstairs neighbour. Sounds like it sucks to be all you guys, though.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:57 PM on April 8, 2015

I was the upstairs neighbor once. I lived alone in a one bedroom with an 18# cat that liked to play fetch.

We stopped that game after my long suffering (and very nice!) downstairs neighbor asked if that was a bowling ball he was hearing rolling back and forth for hours on end every night.

So embarrassed!
posted by jamaro at 10:48 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've had downstairs neighbors that were this loud. Are they dancing in wooden shoes? why are they playing basketball and sanding the walls at 3 am?

Convinced that they were running a meth lab, I got the hell out of there.
posted by BYiro at 10:57 PM on April 8, 2015

You should move out to the sticks like we did.

One thing we have learned is that the sticks is where the awful upstairs neighbors go when they buy a house. Men who live in the sticks tend to have a fragile masculinity which constantly needs to be reinforced with Noisy Manly Things, like shooting guns.

I can tell you, no matter what kind of neighbor you think you are, if you shoot guns on your property your neighbors fucking despise you as the inconsiderate asshole you are. You absolutely cannot enjoy anything if guns are randomly being fired 500 feet from where you are.

But their endlessly barking, bored-to-death dogs and meth-fueled domestic arguments help make up for it.
posted by maxwelton at 11:32 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]

Not to spoil the fun, but the maddening upstairs 'bowling ball' or 'crate of bottles being dragged' sound is nearly always aged plumbing in fact.
posted by colie at 12:09 AM on April 9, 2015

Oh man, reading this thread while brushing my teeth made me laugh so hard I just knocked my water glass into the porcelain sink. Sorry, downstairs neighbors!
posted by salvia at 12:56 AM on April 9, 2015

Our upstairs neighbors on Ankeny St. in Portland left their pants on a room heater that cycled on and caught on fire. I think they were growing something too--there were some pretty bright lights up there.The landlord raised the rent for the building as a way of evicting all of us.

I don't understand why everyone is cheerfully bragging about waking up their downstairs neighbors at 3:00 a.m. with their drunken parties.
posted by mecran01 at 2:43 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

In my previous apartment, my next door neighbor was apparently a stoner (according to a friend's judgment from the exaggerated coughing, blocked-out windows, and constant smell from their front door strong enough to pick up from the corner of the block) who would play Rock Band loudly at least once a day, usually at odd hours of the night. I have since moved into the apartment above them.

I have very few reservations about my plan to take up playing DDR as a form of daily exercise.
posted by NMcCoy at 4:02 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nintendo Rock Band (with the drum kit) is emerging as a powerful source of neighbour hell.

I was playing it with my 9 year old daughter at 5pm a while back, and managed to get complaints from the neighbour two floors above (i.e. we had rocked through an entire empty apartment and into the one above that).
posted by colie at 4:29 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

One thing I like about the post-iPod world is that most people are listening to their shitty music on smaller speakers.
posted by peeedro at 4:36 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

I am an upstairs dweller and am always paranoid my kids sound like rhinos, but I've had three sets of downstairs neighbours swear we're not that bad when I offer random apologies, so either we're not that bad or I've lived above a lot of overly polite people. Most of my horror stories revolve around a seemingly-always-drunk-screaming-and-listening-to-LCD-Sound-System-at-wall-pulverising-volume-every-night-until-2am next door guy, and noisy renovations that occur in one apartment or other every 6-12 months as my building gradually gentrifies. This week is special, I have 2 sets of downstairs neighbours whose walls connect to mine doing renovating things that involve drilling into said concrete walls for hours on end beginning at 7am, EVEN ON FREAKING EASTER SUNDAY.
posted by threecheesetrees at 5:45 AM on April 9, 2015

Most of my horror stories revolve around a seemingly-always-drunk-screaming-and-listening-to-LCD-Sound-System-at-wall-pulverising-volume-every-night-until-2am next door guy

Oh hey, we lived next door to that guy, too! So glad our bedroom bordered his party room.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:20 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

Every night at 12:06am I hear my upstairs neighbor walk ten gentle steps, presumably to get into bed. I never hear anything else from up there. It doesn't bother me at all - I'm just impressed by his consistency.

12:06am. Every night.
posted by moonmilk at 7:01 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've been living on the top floor for the past few years, but when I lived on the second floor my neighbors were always awesome. It was only when my building burned down and I wound up in the third (and top) floor in a different building that everything went to hell--random sirens everywhere, some asshole who used to hit his girlfriend (and who I called the cops on several times, once to find out that two other people had called them first), the cat that belonged to the people below me mewing so loudly that I became concerned that he was in some sort of actual danger. (He was not. He was just bored.)

I moved again to a different-top floor place and it's much better. Now the worst thing is the lady below me, whose bloodhound sometimes gets sad and waily in the evenings. Frankly, that's a piece of cake.
posted by sciatrix at 8:31 AM on April 9, 2015

Being upstairs is nicer in some ways, but isn't always safe. I lived in the top story of a duplex when I was attempting to both work full time and take 12 hours of classes at the same time. Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted - so the impromptu dance parties the neighbors below me would throw on weekdays weren't appreciated. Most of the time, I was so exhausted I could sleep right through it, but every once in a while, the "uhn tiss uhn tiss" of the shitty music would be so loud I couldn't think.

The problem is that whenever this would happen, I would be so exhausted that trying to engage in a rational manner was difficult at best.

One morning I woke up, and paused when I walked into my living room and saw a stool in the middle of the room, surrounded with a circle of books. I was completely confounded by this - and right as I slowly started remembering what I did, there was a knock at my door and a very sheepish neighbor who game me his cell phone and told me to call if they were ever being too loud. He seemed terrified of me - I'm sure my wild hair in the morning didn't help. It was only after he left that I had the full recollection of myself standing on top of the stool, screaming in a primal fashion, slamming reference books down on the ground.

So yeah, I apparently am one of those people who was not cut out for apartment life.
posted by MysticMCJ at 8:53 AM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]

This is why I will never, ever, ever again be an upstairs neighbor (if I can have any control over the situation whatsoever at all).

First floor for life! (I can not be the only one.)
posted by likeatoaster at 8:58 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

BTW, I think the bowling ball sound in some cases - depending on your neighbors drinking habits - is often a bottle someone drops right as they pass out in their couch. At least that's what one of my friends told me that HE did when I was complaining about the bowling alley to him....
posted by MysticMCJ at 9:08 AM on April 9, 2015

We are pretty passive when home. Reading or watching movies we won't get up for a couple hours at a time. The couple above us though are always fucking moving. They never sit still for more than a few seconds at a time. I simply cannot imagine what they are doing all the time. Plus by the sound of power tools and hammering they seem to be building something. I would pay good money to find out what some of the noises we hear are.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 11:46 AM on April 9, 2015

One thing I like about the post-iPod world is that most people are listening to their shitty music on smaller speakers.

The flipside to that is that more people are watching shitty action movies (and playing shitty action games) on bigger and bassier speakers. Bang bang boom boom <dramatic music swells dramatically> BOOOOOOOM.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:05 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

I would pay good money to find out what some of the noises we hear are.

Tom Waits has you covered.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:10 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

> The flipside to that is that more people are watching shitty action movies (and playing shitty action games) on bigger and bassier speakers.

Former roommates of mine decided it would be a good idea to hook my 350 watt bass amp (that I used for performances and never turned up above 3 or so) up to the communal stereo for use as a subwoofer. The music and movies were mildly entertaining to them, but apparently not nearly enough - They started playing "Colony Wars" - A (not particularily great) space shooter with ridiculous explosions and loud engine noises. I found this out as I returned from working second shift and heard ridiculously loud bassy explosions as I pulled into the street we pulled onto - windows closed and music up on my part, no less. You could hear the windows rattling as I walked in.

I was pretty pissed off, for several reasons -- I couldn't believe they didn't get the police called, as it was about 1:30AM. Their excuse was "well, our neighbors our deaf, right? Don't be mad, check out how the house shakes when we blow up this thing!" as books started falling off the shelves. In fairness, we never heard anything about it from the neighbors, but it still seemed - well, rude.

I guess I got what I was asking for - The day before that, I was playing around on the bass, and they expressed interest in the amp and its capabilities -- At their encouragement, I found the oscillating frequency of large chunks of our plumbing, amongst other things.

Moral of the story to me at the time was to not have roommates in the future, but I don't think that was the actual lesson that needed to be learned.
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:20 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

ricochet biscuit:
> There were a lot of mystery sounds -- is that people washing dishes in the bathtub?
> This sound coupled with a low smooth rumbling led me to the inescapable conclusion that they were moving crates of empty glassware back and forth

There's a very good chance that you lived beneath night-owl homebrewers. I've been one responsible for many of the exact mystery sounds you describe. Washing 5 gallons of bottles is a massive pain in the ass.
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:24 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

I could seriously read threads of horrible apartment stories like this ALL DAY, these are all awesome. They are also terrifying to me, as we are considering picking up and moving to the Seattle Area - which likely means living at least short term in an apartment or the like. Neither of us have lived "not in a house to ourselves" for several years.... While this is hilarious, it's also reconfirming my fears.
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:29 PM on April 9, 2015

Their excuse was "well, our neighbors our deaf, right?

When I was 22 or so, I shared an apartment with a guitarist, and our landlords/downstairs neighbours were indeed deaf (their thirtyish son who lived elsewhere had his hearing, so he did much of the communication with us). I was coming home one fine spring afternoon and heard what I initially thought to be a stereo turned up somewhere in the block.

It turned out that my roommate had been sitting on our back deck when he looked at the Niagara Escarpment half a mile south -- the Escarpment is the 300-foot cliff that Niagara Falls flows over a little ways east of our town -- and decided that maybe he could get an echo off of it. He hauled out his Les Paul, plugged it into the biggest amp he had, and noodled around in pentatonic scales until I arrived home and belaboured him about the head and shoulders with a truncheon.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:34 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

There's a very good chance that you lived beneath night-owl homebrewers. I've been one responsible for many of the exact mystery sounds you describe. Washing 5 gallons of bottles is a massive pain in the ass.

That could well be. I surmise that their customers payed them in buckets of nickels which they would clumsily knock over from time to time; this would explain other of the odd sounds.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:36 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

Jeez, we live in a one-story, 1600sqft house and I always know exactly where in the house my hubby is because the only way he knows how to convey himself from room to room is to stomp. And he was raised in apartments, never lived in a house before he met me.

Lesson learned: If ever some day we have to move into an apartment, it will be ground floor.
posted by vignettist at 12:39 PM on April 9, 2015

ricochet biscuit! Where did you get that phrase? I've been muttering "I oughtta belabour him about the head and shoulders with a truncheon" and the like to myself for years, and I can't remember where I first read it.
posted by moonmilk at 2:29 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

The buckets of nickels would be the bottle caps. You get them all flattened out from the brew shop, then use a big blocky lever contraption to squeeze them shut over the bottles, just like they were commercial 6 packs. Also you can buy things with them in the wasteland.
posted by mcrandello at 6:53 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

ricochet biscuit! Where did you get that phrase? I've been muttering "I oughtta belabour him about the head and shoulders with a truncheon" and the like to myself for years, and I can't remember where I first read it.

The closest I can come to thinking of the source -- and this is not precisely the same wording -- is Edward Gorey's The Fatal Lozenge:
The Keeper, when it's time for luncheon,
Flings his charge down on the bed,
And taking out a home-made truncheon,
Belabours him about the head.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:08 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ha! Yes, that must be where I got it. I particularly remember the Resurrectionist and the Invalid.
posted by moonmilk at 5:51 PM on April 10, 2015

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