The Vine: December 26, 2012
I have a bit of an apartment problem. Our upstairs neighbors are stompy walkers. I seriously don't understand how normal human beings can make this much noise when they walk. It's not a normal "all neighbors make noise" situation. I've lived in apartments for years, and my husband and I have lived in this particular apartment for a year and a half. We never had this problem with the old tenants. We could hear them occasionally, but that's what you expect in an apartment. This is different.
I've never complained to neighbors before, and I'm wondering if I should say something to them? It's just a little weird because this isn't something people normally complain about, like "your music is too loud" or "your dog barks excessively" or "I'm bothered by the smell of your home deer-processing operation." This would be, in essence, asking them to walk differently. Normally, I would just try to ignore something like this — you can deal with morning aerobics hour or evening sexytimes because it's not constant and you can just move to another room during the offending activity. But walking is a different story. What should I do?
I Live Below A Neo-Minister Of Silly Walks
I'd wait for a stomping interlude that's during or close to accepted "quiet hours" — late-ish at night, early-ish in the morning on a weekend — and go upstairs to mention it. You don't have to ask them to stop, or tiptoe, or put down carpet. Just introduce yourself (if you haven't already), then adopt a so-sorry-to-trouble-you-slash-curious tone to point out that the sound of walking is traveling downward in a rather pronounced fashion, and at this hour…but then they must hear you guys all the time. So annoying, right? Your husband with the banging the cookie sheets…you can't stand it either. Sorry! It's some weird acoustics of the building itself, maybe — do they mind if you just stick your head in and see if they have different flooring from yours?
You know this isn't the issue, of course, but I've had pretty good luck in the past turning it into a construction mystery the two of us can collaborate on together, versus "either buy a carpet or quit dropping your fuckin' weights on the floor at 7 AM, dickhole." I've also been on the other end of the issue, and in retrospect, I really appreciate that 1R pretended she was offering valuable intel, known only to a select few initiates, about getting my speakers off the floor, instead of saying "I work nights and I must now end you," which I'm pretty sure is what she was thinking.
See how it goes. Most people will close the door on you, cringe, and jump on O.co to find a few throw rugs. Some will be like, "Enh, fuck her," which is why I have a column, but send up a flare about it and give them a week or 10 days to modify either the floor coverings or the behavior. If nothing changes, mention it again, tattle to the landlord, and write back. In the meantime, the skeleton crew of readers at their desks on Boxing Day might have useful advice for you as well. Good luck!
Tags: city living etiquette roommates