"I think it's time to
talk to the landlord," I sigh, as David and I are leaving for work this
morning. And I cast a baleful glance in the direction of the apartment
located directly above ours.
David nods in bleary assent.
He looks as wrecked as I feel.
another 3 a.m. wake-up call, courtesy of Upstairs
Neighbor Guy and his stoopid broken closet door.
I understand that noisy
neighbors are an unavoidable fact of apartment life, like having
your welcome mat stolen, or finding unfamiliar boxer shorts in your
laundry basket every once in a while. I used to BE
the noisy neighbor. And although I would infinitely prefer to live in a
*real* house, most of the time I'm OK with the idea of living here in
this funky little apartment complex. I have no problem with the
apartment itself, other than the fact that it's cramped, moldy,
ant-infested, has absolutely zero storage space, has no windows to
speak of and features the world's ugliest pink kitchen
appliances. And I certainly have no problem with my roommate,
other than the
fact that he talks about the fudking STOCK
MARKET entirely too much these
days. (That is, when he isn't talking about bike-riding, the California
gubernatorial race or Japanese garage rock from the 60's.) I
would rather live in
an apartment with somebody I'm madly in love with than live in the
house of my dreams with someone I can barely tolerate.
But more and more lately, it's
the little irritations of apartment life that are getting
to me. The noise. The lack of privacy. Cigarette smoke. Cooking odors.
Ducks in the swimming pool. Coming up with enough quarters for the
laundry. That claustrophic sense of knowing that there are people
on all sides of you ... people upstairs, people downstairs, people
next-door, people across the hall from you ... and that most of the
time the only thing separating you and those people is a thin layer of
plaster. I find that intensely creepy.
But nothing -- I mean NOTHING
-- rubs my last viable nerve raw like that stoopid broken closet door.
I don't even have to
look at the clock anymore. If I am suddenly wrenched out of a deep and
life-affirming sleep in the middle of the night, I can be certain that
it's somewhere between 3:07 and 3:29 a.m., and that Upstairs
Neighbor Guy is on the prowl again. I can also be pretty sure of what's
coming next. All I have to do is lay there and wait --
movements as he shuffles back and forth between the bathroom and the
bedroom (he wears shoes in the middle of the night, from the sounds of
it) -- and after a while, there it is: a hideous, nerve-shredding skreeeeeeeeeeeeeking
noise, as the closet door skids perilously along the side of the floor
track, followed by an ear-splitting THUD
as the door eventually detachs from the ceiling track and derails
It's a little bit like
like being trapped beneath a trainwreck. Over and over and over again.
And that's what drives
me nuts about the whole thing. He doesn't just do it once. It's almost
as though he looks at his closet door and says to himself Gosh,
my closet door appears to be broken!
... and then he opens and closes it again, seven or eight or sixty-four
times in a row, just to make sure.
All along, I've been
trying to maintain a sense of humor about the situation. He's clomping
back and forth in the kitchen all night long? (Maybe
he's rehearsing for 'River Dance!') I've tried to maintain
perspective. He doesn't have a job, he doesn't
have visitors, he almost never leaves his apartment, but he's still
getting dressed at 3:07 a.m. every morning? (Maybe
he's an early bird.) I've tried
to be patient. The manager has talked to him, the building
superintendent has talked to him, we've left notes on his door ... it's
a quick fix with a screwdriver, forcryingoutloud ... but the door never
gets fixed? (Maybe it will get
fixed tomorrow!) I've even tried
to develop sympathy for the man. He's old, he's sick, he's alone, it's
Christmas. (Maybe he would like
this nice delicious leftover candy!)
But all of these good positive charitable thoughts fly right out the
window at 3:07 a.m., when I'm laying wide awake in bed, listening to
that infernal door slam back and forth for the second or third or
fourth night in a row. Then he turns into precisely what he is: a
creepy, annoying, thoughtless old fart with a closet fetish.
And I'm fed up.
I'm sorry if I'm
sounding a little harsh. I'm not feeling very Oprah-like at the moment.
Come back when I've had an uninterrupted night of sleep and I might be
In the meantime, tonight
when we get home from work, I'm marching straight to the landlord's
door -- or maybe I'll have David
march straight to the landlord's door -- and we're going to ask her --
is going to DEMAND
-- that she do something about this, once and for all. I don't care if
Upstairs Neighbor Guy never, ever answers his door. Break it down. I
don't care what he's got in that closet of his. I don't care if it's MRS.
Upstairs Neighbor Guy. Those closet doors are coming down tonight, even
if I have to tear them down myself with my own two hands.
And then we're replacing
them with a goddamn BEADED CURTAIN.
throw a rock