04 April 2007

In which I make an unallowed amount of noise.

When you live in an apartment building, you live with a certain expectation about the noise that will be made above or below you--or both. You live with raised voices, with radios, with alarm clocks left on too long, with parties, with big televisions on too loud. Hammering in the walls, furniture from IKEA being assembled, sex, clicky or clompy shoes on around the house, the dryer running later in the night than you'd like. These are just a few examples of allowances made for renting.

My penultimate apartment in Chicago, near Rockwell, was in a building that muffled sound between floors not at all--a distinction we were only able to make in hindsight, with the contrast of our last apartment. Anyway, the apartment off of Rockwell had a set of very, very loud upstairs neighbours. It all began on move-in day, with an argument. Il dit, "Just pick it up, Rene!" Elle: "I can't LIFT it!" "Just PICK IT UP, Rene!!" "I CAN'T LIFT it!!!" "JUST PICK IT UP!!!" I CAN'T LIIIFT IT!!!!!" There was sex at various hours (not a real problem; at least they were happy for a while...), a combination show-tunes/Riverdance night every Tuesday (CLOP CLOP CLOP Heeey BIG SPEN-DER....), and much, much fighting (YOU'RE JUST LIKE YOUR SISTER, RENE!). At about 3 or 4 in the night. As apartment dwellers, we endured as much and as long as we felt was appropriate, and then responded in the appropriate apartment manner: broomstick rap on the ceiling. At 4 in the morning, having a screaming fight, throwing things, in the bedroom above our heads, and those selfish unhappy people actually knocked back, like our broom raps were interrupting their perfectly good row. We yelled "TAKE IT TO THE FRONT ROOM!" and they did. They were one of the major reasons we moved.

So I think I know about living in apartments, and I don't think I am callous about peace and quiet. I keep it down during the appropriate hours and expect to be allowed some latitude with volume within a certain level and time frame.

But tonight my dumbass suburbanite downstairs neighbours thought my 9:00 pm wooden xylophone (actually a Javanese gambang, but raise your hand if you know what that is...) was a bit loud for them, and they pounded on their ceiling/my floor. My downstairs neighbours of the loud parties, the loud ass television, the vibrating ENTIRE HOUSE from whatever huge sewing machines operate in this building, the stomping children, the fights, found me a bit loud at 9:30 in the evening. That's 9:30 eastern time--an hour and a half before the evening news comes on. Come the hell on. I put up with your shit and you put up with mine, all within reason and within acceptable hours--that's the code of apartment living. Your television noise is okay, but my music--not even my radio music, here--is not.

Like I needed another reason to HATE THIS APARTMENT.

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But here's a reason to party: our lease is indeed tenancy-at-will, therefore month to month. So no penalty for leaving three months early. Fuck off and die, crappy suburban living!

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