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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, March 5

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Qwert / September 1, 2004 12:42 PM


Don't become friends with them. Don't let them know what you have. Don't let them know anything about you because they're simply looking for a reason to dislike you. AND DON'T EVER FUCKING DATE ONE OF THEM!!!

If your neighbors ever invite you to a party, what they're saying in reality is, "We're going to be shitfaced, loud, and obnoxious until 7:00 AM. We're going to vomit all over the place. A friend of a friend will break into someone's car, or rape someone you know, or get into a big fist fight with someone else. Someone will piss in the hall, in the sink, on your dog...anywhere except the toilet. And because we're inviting you, you're okay with that."

There are many ways to make friends with people. Simply living next to someone is the weakest reason ever.

jennifer / September 1, 2004 12:59 PM

the only time i've had to 'deal with neighbors' escalated to me calling the cops every weekend for three months straight, after initially being polite and asking for them to keep the noise down every weekend for the previous two months. other than that i ignore my neighbors, other than internally cursing them when they slam doors.

miss ellen / September 1, 2004 1:40 PM

jennifer, we had the same exact situation in our old apartment. at times, it was comical. but, when it was 3 am on a tuesday & the shit-heads got home from the bars & decided to have a wrestling match above us, it wasn't so nice.

cops were called; landlords were involved; nasty letters were written. illegal activities were planned (though never followed through).

thankfully, we had plans to move already, but they would've forced us out if we hadn't been planning to move. and, now the management company can't get a new tenant in the fitting.

now, i live in a condo building & i was the first occupant. i live on the top floor & so far, it's been very pleasant meeting the new neighbors. shit, one guy on my floor is a total phish-head (just like me). ah, sweet relief ;)

Mickey_Finn / September 1, 2004 1:43 PM

Borrow things and never return them. Crank your stereo up to "11" at 3:00 a.m. (chances are they are also big fans of Slayer). After chugging Irish car bombs all night at the local watering hole, puke in their bushes before stumbling to the safety of your bed/couch. And finally, don't be afraid to walk next door and ask for a "nug" when you're jonezin' -- what are neighbors for?

Shylo / September 1, 2004 1:44 PM

Same thing happened to me. The people downstairs loved to fight, slam doors, and play music with lots of bass.

The landlord wouldn't do anything and I didn't feel like calling the cops on these violent assholes. So I moved. And a badass biker chick moved in my apartment. I hope she straightened them out.

Our current neighbors are fond of music as well -- mariachi on one side, Pet Shop Boys on the other.

vit / September 1, 2004 2:08 PM

Steal the laundry she hangs on the porch, teach myself rude phrases in Polish so I can interject them into the arguments she and her husband have or to yell at her when she vacumes the hallway at 7:30am on a Sunday morning.

Andrew / September 1, 2004 2:15 PM

(Wow, I didn't expect this question to be taken so negatively!)

Actually introducing yourself goes a long way. I've had experiences ranging from lousy to great with my neighbors, and the lousy ones have tended to be with ones I didn't know. Learn their names, invite them over for a drink or to your next party and you'd be surprised how well things go.

Then again, there's always the assholes.

Mike / September 1, 2004 2:17 PM

I've lucked out lately. Our neighbors with the screaming baby moved shortly after bring it home. Our crazy cat lady downstairs only broke up with her boyfriend and he moved. The metal dudes live on the other side of the building and we can't hear anything they're playing. Life's pretty sweet sometimes.
Of course, if I did have a problem, I'd bang on the wall and yell "Quiet, some of us are trying to sell drugs!"

Steve / September 1, 2004 2:33 PM

Neighbors -- can't live with them, but if you kill them their corpses will begin to stink after awhile, and the cops will come questioning you.

The only truly bad neighbor I've ever had in the city was in my first one-bedroom, a huge old place that was right above the janitor's basement apartment. Imagine a combination of that weird dragon creature from Gigglesnort Hotel and Freddy Krueger -- that was Ozzie.

He was half-deaf, and loud as all get out. Which meant he yelled rather than talk. And played his TV, which seemed to be bolted to his ceiling, real loud all hours of the night -- I mean, from my bed I could tell what show was coming on from the theme song (the flute from Taxi at midnight is *not* soothing when you have an early transatlantic conference call to make). Played his bass on 11. And smacked his teenage son around real loud too (from the sounds of things, the kid fought back pretty hard).

The management company -- which rhymed with "A. Baloney and Guns" -- didn't give a rat's arse despite my many, many complaints. So while I was tempted to move my bed into my underused dining room to get some sleep, I finally ended up putting speakers under my bed and falling asleep to music of my choice, waiting it out and moving out at lease's end.

Brenda / September 1, 2004 2:41 PM

Not proud to admit this, but I tend to go the passive-aggressive route. Direct confrontation, while direct, also tends to embarrass people and make them more hostile/defiant in the future.

Example: If my neighbor's playing the stereo/TV too loud, I dial *67 before calling his number (it blocks caller ID) and hang up when he picks up. He'll turn down the stereo/TV to answer the phone, and 9 times out of 10 will forget to turn it back up.

There's always passive revenge, too. My preferred form of payback is to listen for my upstairs neighbor to get in the shower the day after he's woken me up at 3 am, then turning on all the hot water in my apartment, which I've learned from experience diminishes greatly the hot water pressure in his shower. In a few minutes, after he's made his shower warm again by turning the cold wayyyy down, I turn my hot water off. blammo! his shower gets VERY hot! It pretty much guarantees his day is going to start out sucky, just like mine ended, and I feel vindicated.

NOTE: This method also works when we get up at the same time and I want him out of his shower so I can have a nice normal one myself.

(is that wrong...?)

Pete / September 1, 2004 2:50 PM

Be neighborly and put up with the noise for an hour before calling the cops.

Or, when living off-campus in Champaign, ring his phone every time he cranks up that wretched old Lee Greenwood tune. (And please don't question my patriotism until you've heard that song 200 times coming through the floor of your apartment, with drunken neighbor dude singing badly at the top of his lungs.)

paul / September 1, 2004 3:04 PM

Geesh people, I think we've underlined the major drawback to living in a city - you live way too close to other humans. If it's something you can't deal with, you need to make damn sure the walls are thick, the neighbors are all monks, or at least party on the same schedule as you do.

I know not everyone has the chance, but my solution is to find a nice two-flat, that way you only have one neighbor to deal with.

vit / September 1, 2004 3:08 PM

Actually, my neighbors are pretty cool, I was mostly being facetious. Although that 7:30am vacuuming is a bit much.

Suzanne / September 1, 2004 3:13 PM

Our downstairs neighbours started a fire. We called 911. They apologized and we haven't almost died since then. Yet.

Sometimes they are up all hours of the night being loud in various and fun ways. I politely ask them to keep the noise down.

Sometimes they can be inconsiderate, but in general they are nice.

And if they do something bothersome,I let them know. I find being direct and polite is the best way for handling minor annoyances.

Eamon / September 1, 2004 3:25 PM

I love my neighbors. Edgewater Glen rocks.

Lisa / September 1, 2004 3:29 PM

I haven't had a problem with any of my neighbors... ok, there was the one time that the cops raided and busted in to the house across the street, but that was more entertaining for me (taking pictures on the sly from my bedroom window) than irritating.

Cinnamon / September 1, 2004 3:35 PM

In the past few years my neighbors have:
forgotten to turn off their tub faucet resulting in having my bathroom ceiline caving in on New Year's morning
asked me to move their car while he was on vacation and paid me with a kick-ass bottle of olive oil from Spain
watched our cats while we were out of town and left sparkly ribbon all over the place for the cats to play witheat, and then leave sparkly yak-balls all over the carpets
given us basil when ours wasn't doing so well
made me cry because they were so sincere when they said they'll miss us
invited us to some really cool parties, and didn't invite anyone who threw up in our bushes

I've had a few neighbors who were miserable to be near, but mostly they've been wonderful people and the more I've gotten to know them the better the relationship. Time to start making friends with the new neighbors.

Naz / September 1, 2004 4:45 PM

My neighbours have been interesting in various ways. I used to have a neighbour who lived above and who would play Rattle and Hum by U2 every single morning as she got ready to go to work. It must have meant something to her but goddamn did I want to smack Bono et al.

I used to have these two girls who lived across the courtyard who would parade around topless and occasionally naked, as they changed and posed in front of the mirror. This would not be a complaint, admittedly. They'd always bring home guys every single night and the guy would leave after a few hours. I always wondered what that was about. I ended up making small talk with one of them once but never did ask.

Neighbours having sex - sometimes sexy, sometimes okay, sometimes not.

Though, getting to know your neighbours is a good thing, they're much more receptive and willing to both be respectful and tolerable both on both ends.

robin.. / September 1, 2004 4:53 PM

i like things with neighbours to be set on equal footing: i accept an amount of noise because i create an amount of noise; i say hello in the vestibule because i expect to be greeted as well; i respect possessions in common rooms because my bike is in that common room, too. HOWEVER, i will also bolt upstairs in my pj's with the hammer and the phone when he throws her across the room during a fight and she starts crying. the note she slipped under our door explained that as the daughter of a cop, she'd never let anyone push her around and that she'd fallen, but thanks for asking. yeah, sure... after that (month 2? 3?) we decided that confronting them about other bullshit wasn't even worth the breath. once, i rapped on the floor with the broom at 4:00 AM during one of their 2-hour long screaming matches (seriously, who has the energy to fight like that for that long?) and they stomped back, like i was the one disturbing _them_. my upstairs neighbours were T-H-E reason we moved--not the small apt, not the bugs, just the fighty-fighty he's-an-ass-and-she's-a-drunk neighbours. with their broadway-meets-riverdance parties 'til 1:00 AM every tuesday that ended in more screaming and fighting..."you're just like your sister, renee..." *shudder* i hope she leaves him, and i hope he's miserable for the rest of his natural life.

Craig / September 1, 2004 5:31 PM

"Wow, I didn't expect this question to be taken so negatively!"

Well, "Dealing with" is not really a positive term...

Andrew / September 1, 2004 5:34 PM

Yeah, I suppose not. But I meant interacting, not seeking revenge.

cd / September 1, 2004 7:23 PM

Hafta let 'em know from the get-go that you won't take any shit. The first time they do anything that even gets your attention, go over and let them know you're angry and put a stop to it right there and then like.

They don't know you, so if you let them know you're crazy, they will tend to tread lightly when they know you're there. The second time, you go over in your underwear, pound on the door with your baseball bat so they know you mean business. Let them know you don't intend to call the police.


Mickey_Finn / September 1, 2004 7:44 PM

Some other ways to "deal with your neighbors" are to steal their morning paper(weekend editions too!), leave smelly bags of garbage outside your door because "Damn, it's cold out!!", smoke in all of the building's common areas, and leave your laudry in the washer and/or dryer all day until someone eventually gets tired of waiting and removes the clothes themselves at the risk of you catching him or her "handling" your underwear, bras, etc. That's never awkward.

Qwert / September 2, 2004 6:51 AM

For the plus side of neighbors:

My current neighbor to the north speaks spanish and the one to the south speaks arabic. The common language we communicate with is gifts of food. Have you ever had home made apricot and pistacio candy? Or a pound cake made with yeast? I :heart: Egypt and Puerto Rico.

Melissa / September 2, 2004 8:49 AM

Move to a very remote area where you don't have to deal with them! I'm serious. I have always hated having neighbors. I live in a two-flat right now and the guy who lives on the first floor is really nice, but his girlfriend is a skanky whore who is SO FREAKIN' LOUD all the goddamn time! She stomps when she walks and it sounds like there's an elephant downstairs. She seems like a very bitter, angry person who always has a scowl on her face and feels the need to slam every door and cabinet in the apartment. She also stomps around at all hours of the night and wakes me up. I HATE HER GUTS! God, I hope they break up (again...they've broken up three times in as many months) VERY SOON!

Anthony Ina / September 2, 2004 9:51 AM

I find pounding on the ceiling to be quite effective. The non-verbal way of saying: "SHUT THE FxCK UP."

Carly / September 2, 2004 9:52 AM

The neighobor below me used to have sex with his girlfriend on occasion, and apparently his bed is directly underneath mine.

Some might be OK with this, but it's sort of disconcerting to be awaken in the middle of the night by it.

Anyway, it's ceased for awhile now and I'm thinking they: do it in a different room, do it at her place, or don't do it at all anymore.

In past experiences, I've found that walking around in my shoes (on hardwood floors) and blasting hip hop is an effective passive aggressive way to get someone back for vacuuming at early hours on the weekends, fighting at 3 am, or playing loud (super shitty, of course), music.

Wendy / September 2, 2004 11:00 AM

If the little dingbat who lives in the studio upstairs doesn't know to take her shoes off right away before she clomps all over her hardwood floor at 12:30 a.m., it might be because it's her first apartment. Ask her if it is and then very patiently explain the unwritten rules of apartment living.

I try to briefly introduce myself to upstairs neighbors as soon as I hear them moving stuff around, hammering things, etc. They really can't help making noise at that point, and if you cheerfully acknowledge that and just say hello, it gently reminds them that you're there and you can hear stuff.

Callie / September 2, 2004 11:08 AM

Actually, I'm the one getting complaints from my neighbor upstairs rather than the other way around. It's a combination of my speakers being on the ground (don't ask me - but it's ONLY when I have those speakers on that he complains) and him having to work apparently all the time.

I never have stuff on past 11pm, but if I have music going or a movie on those speakers, he'll be knocking at my door until I have to turn the stuff OFF because he needs it so quiet.

One time, I was watching a movie, and he complained, and I ended up watching the movie on the floor right next to my TV so I could have the sound down low enough.

And that was at about 9pm. On a Saturday night.

emily / September 2, 2004 1:41 PM

leave passive aggressive notes about their loud sex/loud dog/loud piano/loud stereo and continue to smile and greet them every time you pass. then enjoy the silence after they've moved out. and dread the noise the new occupants will bring.

wonderful neighbor experiences we've had:

1. couple upstairs having screaming, sqealing, moaning, groaning, bed rattling sex at 5am monday morning.

2. sex couple moves out, girl with miniature pinscher moves in. it's amazing how loud a 5 pound dog can be when he jumps up and down in front of the door for 7 hours on a sunday.

3. meathead downstairs constantly yelling at his dogs to knock it off, in the scariest, deepest voice imaginable, then wimper like a girl when he fought with his girlfriend.

4. upstairs playing the sex in the city theme song on a grand piano at 9am on saturday morning.

5. downstairs grumpy loud terrible emo rock at 5am after coming home from the bars and yelling out the window into the alley to "let the girls in".

i can't wait to have a whole house to myself.

josh / September 2, 2004 3:41 PM

I feel bad that you all have such horrible neighbors. I live in a 6-unit building in bucktown and people are really nice. I sometimes dogsit for the woman who lives below me. Both she and the couple who live across the hall have a set of my keys and regularly let me in when I'm locked out. I've lived there over a year and I have no complaints about anybody. We watch out for each other, people are nice but not nosey, and everyone seems to respect each other. I guess I better not move -- every other building in Chicago seems to be a disaster.

Nash / September 30, 2004 11:28 AM

we have this neigbhors who since last 12 years are troubling us by making very Loud noises from their kitchen sink, they start cooking at 6 am, and goes on till 11 pm, the noise of the pots and pains they wash in their apartment is so loud that we just cant even use our phone in kitchen, they turn the faucet right on top so the loud water noise makes us crazy, and if that is not enough they enjoy slamming their apartment door, I have given in writing, 200 complaints to the management office, but this guy who is a president of the condominium corporation gets away with this ongoing noise problem, some time I wish we can move to a new place, but the houses are so expensive here that we just can't efford , this family has made our lives a living hell, I pray to God everyday to help us and guard us from this neighbors but I think God! is on his side too, just like other members.There is not a single day when I don't curse them this just comes out right from the bottom of my heart ( I know that by doing this I am putting on bad karmas on my soul.) but I can't stop cursing this family, I am just writing this to bring this ongoing pain out from my chest, Please kindly pray for us, maybe God! Allmighty will here your prayers and will help us to move to other place where we will find good nighbors and a Peace and privacy to live in our own place.

Trixie / October 3, 2004 8:46 AM

I have one neighbor that loves parking cars all over their yard. Looks so attractive!

Nash / October 21, 2004 10:52 AM

What Can you do with neighbors who spit on grounds and show fingers at you?

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