So this past weekend got off to an interesting start. I worked half day on Friday then ran some errands in the heat (hello 105!) before heading home to cool off with Tivo. I know, exciting stuff, right? Anyway, I’m in the middle of Big Bang Theory when I hear a rather determined knock on the door. As someone who rarely has unexpected company, these surprises always make me a bit nervous. So imagine the feeling when I looked out the peep hole and saw two policemen standing there!!
Turns out, seeing the police at your door is something akin to seeing your life flash before your eyes. Every possible thing I might have even sort of done wrong (almost entirely related to my debatable driving) ran through my head before I even managed to get the door unlocked. The cop certainly seemed a little amused when he saw me, which I didn’t understand until he announced why he and his partner were there – my downstairs neighbor apparently called the police because I was being too noisy!!
Now, having lived in my fair share of 1st floor apartments, I purposefully go out of my way to be as quiet as possible. I do yoga instead of zumba, I drag heavy things as quietly as possible rather than dropping them, etc. Given that it’s just me, two cats, and a turtle up there, I’d have to really be trying to be noisy enough to warrant a call to the police (at least in my opinion). I had actually been living under the [clearly mistaken] impression that I was being a good neighbor!
Once the cops established that no one else lived there and that I didn’t have a weight set or enough weight to create such noise, they decided it was time for all of us to have a discussion. I followed them downstairs to talk to the poor girl who had apparently been living with this beating noise for some months now. Once the cops were satisfied that I was actually a nice person and that we could handle things on our own as adults, they cleared out. A mere 15 minutes later we had the problem solved – the subwoofer for my sound system was on the floor, so when it was on it apparently sounded like a herd of elephants stamping around. I simply unplugged the speaker and all was well again.
I could tell my neighbor was really embarrassed, especially about calling the police. I was embarrassed that she felt she had to resort immediately to the level of calling the police rather than, I don’t know – knocking on the door herself, mentioning it to me in the parking lot, mentioning it to my landlord, leaving a note, etc. etc. I just can’t fathom doing that to someone unless it’s an absolute last resort or the people are really, really scary. So it’s pretty sobering to think that I appear to be so unapproachable that she took it there.
I generally prefer just to keep to myself when at home. I know my neighbors and a few other residents and I always try to make small talk when we meet along the way, but clearly I wasn’t broadcasting the positive vibes very well…at all. By the time I get home, I don’t want to have to speak to another human – with work and a myriad of other things going on in my day, I’m done. I need to recharge (told you, I’m an introvert). But in reflecting on the situation, it’s clear I could have been (and will be) doing more. Your neighbors are, after all, the people you have to hope will call the police should a serious occasion ever arise (and apparently, a not so serious situation). Good terms are essential to a long co-habitation.
Most of my friends are outraged for me, and although I do appreciate their support, I can’t help but defend this poor girl. I got that sound system just before Christmas. That means she’s been dealing with that herd of elephants for almost 6 months! And frankly, I can only imagine what her friends were probably saying to her about me in their sympathy sessions. I spent the weekend trying to think of an appropriate way to let her know how genuinely sorry I am to have caused her such angst. I haven’t come up with an idea that doesn’t seem totally trite just yet, but I’m working on it. I’m also making more of an effort with the other neighbors and residents. After all, being neighbors is much like any other relationship – it takes a lot of kindness, cooperation, and (most importantly) communication! I certainly hope that nothing like this ever has to happen again. I’m calling it lesson learned!!
Have you ever had neighbor issues? How did you handle it?