Tuesday, March 22, 2011

the neighborly BLOW OFF

Moral dilemma alert. I need your help, readers. Here's the situation. A few years ago, I moved into my very own apartment for the first time. No roommates, no boyfriend. Just me and all my own things. Even though I had great living situations prior to living alone, it still felt heavenly to decorate everything just the way I wanted, leave dishes to pile in the sink with no guilt, and have the TV all to myself. It was bliss until I met...my downstairs neighbor.

I had an inkling that he was sensitive to noise before I moved in. The landlord wouldn't let me tear out the carpet in my bedroom, even though there was hardwood underneath, because the neighbor had complained in the past. BUT that alone did not prepare me for his craziness. Here's my mea culpa. A week after I moved in, the BF moved to LA from NY and stayed with me for about a month before finding his own place. After his first few days of staying with me, the neighbor knocked on the apartment door (while I was at work) and complained to my boyfriend about making too much noise when he walked around the apartment. Okay, fine. No big deal. One noise complaint. I could handle this.

Then, the notes and the yelling began and they continued long after the BF moved out. One night, he screamed at me for having music on in the middle of the night (I needed to listen to music to fall asleep). Seems reasonable of him except my Ipod was seriously at the lowest decibel-- like I could barely hear it myself. Clearly this man had super human hearing powers. The screaming was scary, unhinged, and borderline psychotic, so I stopped with the music. The notes were usually left on my front door or on my car. One time, I came home to find a note reminding me to be quiet. WTF? After all these years of wanting to live alone, I ended up with the most anal retentive roommate in the world. Another time he left a note in my mailbox telling me he'd be out of town for the weekend so I could be as loud as I wanted.

Early on, I decided to face the situation head on and went to talk to him in person. What followed was a barrage of ways I could keep the noise down: cover the wood floors in the living room with rugs, NEVER wear shoes in my apartment, keep the window by the TV closed at all times, close my hallway and bedroom door after 10pm (his bedtime) if I was still up watching TV. It turned out, he'd been living in the apartment building for over 11 years, paid very little rent, and wanted to keep it that way. Mind you, the building was on the corner of a VERY busy street where the traffic noise alone should have made this guy nuts.

Things between us calmed down over time, mainly because I spent a few days out of week at the BF's place, and because he had a new neighbor to harass. His favorite way to retaliate against his new enemy was to turn his music up super loud in the morning and leave for work, so the whole building would have to suffer. It was a nightmare and the day I finally moved out, he actually said he was sorry to see me go, because I was so quiet. Of course I was. I was literally walking on eggshells the whole two years I lived there.

So. Here's where the moral dilemma comes in. The poor girl that moved into my apartment after me tracked me down on Facebook, because she is having the same issues with him, and they've escalated way beyond what I dealt with. She's in the process of getting him evicted, but her lawyer said she needs other witnesses to testify against him and she asked if I would be willing to do it. I feel terrible for her and I really don't want to blow her off, but I'm also afraid he'll track down my address and murder me, because the guy is obviously off his rocker. What would you do if you were in my shoes?


  1. I'm going to suggest testifying. What your neighbor did was nothing short of harassment and he made you a prisoner in your OWN HOME!!!! His bullying shouldn't be allowed to continue... The closer for me was him blasting his radio when he left for work in the morning. Juvenile.

    Your fiancee is a large man (or maybe that's just because he's standing next to you in pics), but you are just answering and telling the truth when asked. You shouldn't feel any remorse if he gets evicted - that's the judge's call.

  2. God what a crazy s.o.b.

    But I remember hearing about this neighbor the one time I slept over. I'd feel bad about getting the guy evicted, but he clearly needs a wake-up call and something drastic like this might just do it for him.

    I don't think you'd have to worry about being murdered. Why would he go through the trouble of killing you when he could just kill the girl who's actually bringing the case against him? Whereas with you he'd have to go through all sorts of trouble to track you down, with her he obviously knows where she lives! And the rage is probably ten times stronger at her anyways.

  3. Thanks guys! I'm going to testify. Keep your fingers crossed no one gets murdered.

  4. Sara, you should stay for the whole trial and blog about it. hehe...