Before Youthlarge and I moved in, the previous tenant and friend warned us about the Friday salsa parties in the apartment below us. She never worried about it too much because she felt it was only fair to have to listen to their loud music because they had two kids who ran throughout the apartment all the time.
So we were warned. But finding an apartment is such a pain in the ass that we didn't care about that.
For close to a year, we dealt with the loud Friday music usually between the hours of 6-9 pm. Often, the loud music also surfaced on Saturdays and Sundays. Still we said nothing.
Then the downstairs neighbors bought a new soundsystem. One Sunday morning when I was at the gym, they decided to try it out. And man was it loud! Things falling from the walls of our apartment kind of loud. Youthlarge went downstairs, knocked on the door and politely asked them to turn the music down a little. The response she got was terribly annoying. Downstairs Asshole claimed he didn't understand English. It was at this point that Downstairs Asshole's Son appeared at the door and spewed profanities at Youthlarge. "Fuck you, we play fucking rent here too and we can play our music as LOUD as we want to. My mom keeps complaining about you running up and down the stairs all of the fucking time! Fuck you!"
Mission Not Accomplished
Not to mention there are four different apartments on the two floors above them so I'm not sure why they think it is us who is running. Besides, we don't run up and down the stairs.
So Youthlarge called Stingy Landlord to complain and he promised that he would take care of it. Yeah right.
The next Friday, the music started again.
At this point, Youthlarge and I knew we couldn't win but at least we would let them know how annoyed we were. So we pounded on the floor with heavy shoes and did some jumping jacks during the music parties to no avail. This has gone on for a number of months.
A couple of weeks ago, as the music commenced yet once again, Youthlarge started running across the apartment. Former Tenant's Son/Ringbearer at Our Wedding gave me an idea a few weeks before - play some basketball in the apartment during the loud music. Unfortunately, I don't have a basketball but I do have the orange kickball that Apes gave me for being in his wedding.
I started bouncing the ball as hard as I could on the floor. It was fun and I was able to get a little exercise to boot!
And then ...
There were knocks on the door.
It was Downstairs Asshole Who Supposedly Doesn't Speak English.
I opened the door. He was calmly smoking a cigarette.
Downstairs Asshole: What are you doing?
Listmaker: Me? Nothing. Just practicing a little basketball.
Downstairs Asshole: You can go outside and practice on the courts across the street.
Listmaker: Hmmm ... I'll consider that. But I'd rather do it here. You could perhaps play your music outside.
At this point, I think Downstairs Asshole understood why I was upset with him but in his mind he was the wronged one.
Downstairs Asshole: Let me show you something. You don't know what is going on downstairs. My wife was in an accident and she is trying to sleep. She has many broken bones.
Listmaker: What? How can she sleep with the loud music?
Downstairs Asshole: The loud noises from your apartment make her upset.
Listmaker: She can sleep with the loud music?
Downstairs Asshole: Let me show you something. I work tomorrow morning at 5 am. I like the music. I live here for 32 years. Everyone knows me. I don't mind the white people moving in here but I pay rent here and I like music. Maybe you don't like the Latin music?
Listmaker: Actually I do like it, but that isn't the point. The music is so incredibly loud that it makes our walls shake.
Downstairs Asshole: I get up at 5 am. My wife is hurt.
Listmaker: All we want is for you to turn your music down just a little.
Downstairs Asshole: I've lived here for 32 years and I'm a good neighbor. I like quiet, very quiet. But then you make so much noise! Every night at 2 am, you are moving furniture and jumping up and down. I don't know. But I never complain. My wife says, "Oh I can't sleep, why do they make so much noise?" And I say, "Don't worry honey, it will be okay."
Listmaker: I have no idea what you are talking about. We aren't up at 2 am moving furniture.
Downstairs Asshole: Mmmm? Yes, you are. I like quiet.
Listmaker: Except when you are playing your music so loud! We like quiet. We are respectful. We even take our shoes off as soon as we get home so we don't disturb you. But when you play your music so loudly, we are going to make noise!
Downstairs Asshole: Do the people make noise upstairs?
Listmaker: Yes, she makes noise when she wears her high heels.
Downstairs Asshole: Ah hah! But you don't complain. Because she is white! I get along with everyone. But then your Chinese wife called the landlord to complain. He told me not to worry about you because I have lived here so long. I never complain to the landlord. I'm a good neighbor. The people downstairs play their white music loud all the time but I don't complain. I don't like the music but I'm a good neighbor. I like quiet.
Fact: The woman upstairs is black, not white.
Anyway, this went back and forth for a good while longer. He did speak English, but not all that well. However, it didn't matter because he wasn't listening to a word. Eventually, Youthlarge made an appearance as well. At one point, he threatened to call the police on us. He kept referring to the fact that we didn't like him because he wasn't white. He kept coming back to the point that he liked white people and that everyone knew him and he was a good guy and that his wife needed to sleep. Never did he even admit that his music was loud. We were the problem.
Eventually, he went back to his apartment but didn't turn his music down. We figured we had made our point so we didn't pound anymore.
The next morning, the music began again! Youthlarge started jumping again and then miraculously, the music was turned down a little!
Later we realized that the loud banging noises that the radiators make must be what the Downstairs Neighbors thinks is us jumping and moving furniture. It reminds me of the scene in After Hours when Griffin Dunne's character is hiding from a vigilante mob who thinks he is a robber. As he hides on a fire escape, he witnesses a man across the way shoot and kill a woman. Dunne mutters to himself, "I'll probably get blamed for that."
This saga is sure to be continued.