At 19 years old, it seems like I’ve lost the privilege of deciding when I go to bed and when I wake up. No, I don’t live with my parents, and no, my roommates aren’t dictators. I just have really loud, obnoxious upstairs neighbours. Their anonymity makes it easy to bash them in the relative privacy of my own apartment, but standing up to them would shatter my otherwise painstakingly friendly exterior. Not being one for confrontation, I prefer to share my opinions in a newspaper and pray they don’t read it. However annoying they may be, there is always more than one way to look at the story.
So your upstairs neighbours are loud. They stomp. They might be bodybuilders—based on the weight of the stuff that they throw on the ground. You can track their heavy footsteps throughout their apartment, and maybe they shake the hangings on the walls. This behaviour is categorically inconsiderate, but not necessarily intentionally rude. Sure, at night, after a couple hours of sweet peace and quiet, they reappear in the early hours of the morning to yell at each other, and do some late-night home improvement or possibly demolition. But, at least you know that they are home safe, and you don’t have to be up all night worrying if they’ve been kidnapped. You’ll still be up all night because they’re building a roof-top garden shed in their living room, but peace of mind comes at a cost.
One of the most common complaints about living with upstairs neighbours is their music—specifically their volume control. While blasting rap music may help them study, you are often left out of the decision-making process. Maybe you are trying to fall asleep, or work on a paper, or just listen to your own music. But, your neighbours leave no room for sonic discourse. They simply dominate the discussion. On one hand, hearing “Call Me Maybe” 20 times a day might make you want to pull your hair out. On the off chance you actually like their music, it can save you money on your electric bill! Your neighbours have spared you the trouble of hooking up your own speakers to blast deep house remixes at all hours of the day. Moreover, if your upstairs neighbours like to rehearse their acoustic, breathy dream-pop music covers, and somehow they make it big, you now have the material to write a bestselling memoir about your experiences living underneath greatness. Aren’t you lucky?
If you think your obnoxious upstairs neighbours are probably playing sports inside—hockey, soccer, basketball, you name it—remember that there might be more to the story. Maybe their squash partner bailed on them, or they’re just too lazy to get off the couch to play outside. It’s hard to know what people are going through.
Last, and probably worst of all, upstairs neighbours seem to have a proclivity for loud sex. Honestly, I cannot spin this one. I am sincerely sorry to anyone who has to deal with loud sex noises at all hours of the day and night. This is the more explicit aspect of the intimacy of the relationship with our upstairs neighbours, definitely to the detriment of others’ mental wellbeing.
If you don’t have annoying upstairs neighbours, then you are probably the annoying upstairs neighbour, and there is nothing I can do for you. If you’re like me and you, too, suffer from the heavy-footedness of those above you, these are some lies that I tell myself to suppress the temptation to call the cops on them.