Sorry for not posting yesterday. H arrived, at long last (well, six days, but it felt long), so I spent the morning in a frenzy of grocery shopping, errand running, and cleaning. (And no, for those family members who are wondering, I did not utilize my legendary “discovery” that rather than actually cleaning sink and tub surface, one could achieve the same visual effect much more quickly by simply wiping them with a Windex-doused paper towel. That discovery came when I was twelve – which was a looong time ago!)
And now that he is safely here, I can post about my newest gripe: loud upstairs neighbors. The apartment we have rented for the summer is charming, but the building’s stairs and floors are 100% wood, and they could use more installation. New Yorkers learn to tread lightly on their floors – and the upstairs neighbors are new to New York.
They are also night owls, or perhaps simply haven’t begun their day jobs yet. On Thursday night, they came in and out of the building: welcoming friends from 9:00 to 10:30 or so, and then returning at 2:00 when the bars closed. They weren’t intentionally loud – they weren’t playing loud music – but they were loud. Lots of standing in one area of the apartment and talking to people at the other end, and lots of stomping around on the floor.
Honestly, I can’t imagine what they were doing from 2:00 until 3:00 or so, when I finally found earplugs, that required so much movement. Aerobics? Long jump practice? Whatever it was, it was loud.
Over dinner on Friday with my friend S, I tried to explain what the noise was like. I didn’t want to sound like a weenie – after all, I lived in New York for nearly eight years before moving to Paris and then Beirut, so I’ve logged a lot of time in old brownstones. And I didn’t want to sound too finicky – after all, no one has much sympathy for “I’m a light sleeper” divas.
So I tried to prove my sleep credibility using the only example that came to mind.
I’m not the world’s heaviest sleeper, I told her. I do wake up when it thunders or something big happens. But I’m not the lightest, either. I sleep through gunfire all the time.
After S stopped laughing, she said:
Maybe that’s what you should say to them. “I’m sorry to be a pain, but your noise goes beyond my volleys-of-gunfire tolerance level.” I bet they’ve never heard that before.
I bet not. But I’m too worried about being known as the grouchy neighbor to really be serious about talking to them. And the idea of being known as the grouchy weird neighbor is even less appealing.
So I think I’ll gnash my teeth in silence for a bit, until my ears readjust themselves to accommodate both heavy foot-falls and post-zaim speech rat-a-tat-tats.
Its a different world, this city .