Monday, June 29, 2009

Won't you be my neighbor?

Photo courtesy of dannyO., aka dboy

Imagine that you have just moved into a new place that is totally awesome. You have a short, quaint drive to work (in comparison to haul you had to make previously). You live in a really quiet community. You have amenities that you have never had before. Everything is totally rockin'. And then, then, one day, you are unloading nearly the last car load of crap miscellaneous items and your downstairs neighbor stops you because she's been meaning to talk to you. Keep in mind you've only been in said new place a whole two weeks at this point. And, thus, conversation ensues:

Me: Hi.
Neighbor: Uh, hi. Uh, yeah, I've been meaning to talk to you.
(My Friend who is helping unload car passes pretending not to be paying attention.)
Me: Oh, really?
Neighbor: Um, yeah.
Me (waiting): Ok, sure.
Neighbor: I need to talk to you about the noise.
(My Friend walks by again with dagger look trying to keep quiet.)
Me (surprised): Oh, really? We’ve been noisy?
Neighbor: Well, Marge* at the front desk said I should talk to you. I am a nurse and I can hear you in the morning when you get up at 7:00.
Me: Do you hear the tv or anything like that?
Neighbor: And I hear you going up and down the stairs.
Me: Oh. I didn’t think I had been all that noisy. I’m hardly here. So what exactly is it that’s bothering you?
Neighbor: Well, I can hear the shower in the morning and I can’t sleep.
Me: Ok, well, I apologize. I will try to be quieter. What shift do you work?
Neighbor: I’m a nurse and my 80 year old mother lives with me too.
(My Friend passes with most irritated look on face.)
Me: Um, ok. Well, I’m really sorry if I’ve been disturbing you. I’ll try to keep the noise level down.

Where do I even begin to tell you how dumbstruck I am over this? She seemed to have a hard time approaching me to begin with. I am a sympathetic person and I, too, have a hard time with confrontation. I really tried to be open to what she was saying and understanding. Really. I did. I want to be a good neighbor. But come on. She went to the office because she can hear the shower running in the morning? Is that not an expected noise to hear in the morning when you live in a complex? Seriously? And, she doesn’t hear the tv? I mean, if anything, you can hear the tv. She also totally avoided my questions.

My Friend was completely annoyed by the whole thing. I almost busted up laughing at said Friend’s expressions as I talked to the neighbor lady. My Friend was way more upset than I. It helped make the situation more comical.

Honestly, I am a very accommodating person, but I see no way to keep the peace on this issue. I tried to discern what exactly she was expecting or wanting me to do, but I still don’t know what that is. I have wracked my brain over it for two whole days. I am a light-stepper (thanks mom for not allowing stomping or elephants in the house), I don’t like to slam doors or cupboards (again, thanks mom), I do occasionally drop the soap or shampoo in the shower, I don’t have yelling matches or screaming fits, so I don’t know how much noise I could possibly be making.

So there you have it. I’m already making the neighbors mad and I just moved in.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.


  1. There's nothing you should, or should be expected to do. Shower noises come with the territory, and the only thing this person is accomplishing is their attempt at ruining your stay in your new apartment.

    Don't let them! Remind yourself that you're doing nothing wrong, because you aren't.

  2. The shower? Really? What, she wants you to stop showering in the morning because she's a nurse and she can hear it? And her mother is 80? What?

    Doesn't sound like you're doing anything wrong to me. Except, maybe you can shower more quietly? You know, turn the volume on the water down or something?