May 6, 2014
Sleepless in Pennsylvania
I should have known it was too good to be true. What do you do when you have neighbors who just won't stop partying?
The first Saturday in my new apartment, the people upstairs, whom I now refer to as Mr. and Mrs. Flaming Asshole, partied with some of their special friends until 3:30 a.m. A week later, it happened again, and at quarter to two, I got up and dressed and dragged myself upstairs, knocked on their door, and asked them politely if they could please keep it down.
The next day, Mrs. Flaming Asshole came down, banged on my door, and yelled at me -- at length, even -- for daring to complain about her. She'd lived here for five years, she told me, and had the right to make as much noise as she wanted whenever she liked, as if there is such a thing as apartment house tenant seniority. She told me loudly that she has her surroundsound speakers on the floor because that's where she wants them, and that my apartment should have stayed empty and I should have asked about my future neighbors before I moved in. (I did, and the building manager said the building was quiet.) Mrs. Flaming Asshole went on to say that she would complain to the building manager about me, and she did. The building manager thought someone complaining about the right to make noise at night was pretty funny.
You know what? It's not funny. Especially since the Flaming Assholes have escalated their partying to five nights a week. (Maybe it's spring fever.) When I moved here, finally free of my full time job, I had happy dreams of spending a lot of time writing and painting, as well as spending time with my family and friends. Instead, I'm spending a lot of time staggering around half asleep and feeling like shit, and taking a lot of naps. My cats are confused, too. They're accustomed to me waking up semi-cheerfully at 6:30 a.m. and feeding them, not swearing at them for waking me up.
I usually sleep like a rock and have intricate dreams about wandering through public buildings that are set up like mazes, so I've never dealt with serious sleep deprivation before. According to WebMD, sleep deprivation can cause all sorts of mean nasty ugly things, such as cognitive impairment and reduced quality of life. I can attest that both now apply to me. I wanted to be halfway through my Orange is the New Black season one reviews by now, but instead I've been postponing, hoping for a couple of full night's sleep in succession so that I can think again. WebMD also says that in the long term, chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to depression, heart attack and stroke. Very encouraging.
So what can I do?
Yes, I've complained to the building manager, verbally and in writing. That hasn't helped yet. I've thought seriously about curses, voodoo dolls and crossroad deals. (Okay, not that seriously.) (Okay, just a little bit seriously.) I've thought about moving again but dammit, I like this apartment, I signed a lease, and moving would be a financial blow to my careful budget, plus I just moved three thousand freaking miles! Moving is a lot of physical effort that I don't want to go through again just weeks after the last time. From things that the building manager and Mrs. Flaming Asshole have said, I suspect the previous tenant chose to move out and pay off his lease instead of dealing with the Assholes. Financially, I just don't have that choice.
There's always playing "The Ride of the Valkyries" at top volume at six in the morning, but that would disturb the other tenants in the building and I'm not the confrontational sort. Several times I've thought longingly of my long time boyfriend and former fiance John, who at times reminded me of Jack Bauer. He would have gone upstairs and intimidated the crap out of them, and they would have never partied after 10 pm again. Oh, well.
Homefront the other night where it happened to Jason Statham. I'm nowhere near as buff or well-armed as Jason Statham.
In fact, after I wrote the complaint letter, I kept expecting the Flaming Assholes, singularly or together, to bang on my front door and spew threats. Daniel and I kept the door locked that evening and decided to check through the peep hole if someone knocked, and not to answer the door if it was them.
Sure enough, there was a loud knock on the door. Daniel went and looked through the peep hole, and then he opened the door and spoke with someone. He came back into the living room and sat down, a huge grin on his face. I said, "Who was it?" And he said, "It was a nun." We laughed like loons. Apparently, the nun was looking for someone from her church and had the wrong building.
Maybe that was a sign. I hope so.
Update: June 10, 2014
Calling the cops twice did no good because they didn't issue citations. The building manager told us that the cops are very reluctant to cite because they're aware that two citations equal eviction. The last time I called the police, Saturday after midnight, the entire building was shaking, but it seems that isn't enough. The building manager is now treating me like I'm the problem, that I'm just too sensitive to noise. (Yeah, I'm really sensitive to drug parties taking place above my head from midnight until 3:30 in the morning. Silly me.)
So calling the police and complaining to management has done nothing, and it looks like it won't ever accomplish anything. Unless I pay the cost of breaking my lease, or pay for a lawyer to help me get out of the lease and then pay moving expenses, I'm trapped here until next March.
The only good thing about this situation is that I can watch television and write reviews any time. So I have decided to try to change my lifelong sleep schedule to coincide with those inconsiderate assholes upstairs. And then I can move out at the end of March. Possibly into an RV or travel trailer, which is what I wanted to do in the first place; I just didn't have the money. I might have it by next March.
Thanks for all of the comments, support and advice. I really, really appreciate it.
Update: December 16, 2014
It got somewhat quieter after I called the police twice, even though the people upstairs continued to party three or four times a week. I bought earplugs for sleeping and just put up with them constantly playing loud dance music nights and weekends. A month or so ago, I decided that holding hate in my heart for them was doing me no good, so every time I got angry, I tried to reverse it and wish them well. I meditated and sent them good thoughts, praying that they would find their heart's desire and that whatever that heart's desire was, it would lead them away from this particular apartment. I'm not religious, but it probably meets the definition of prayer.
I kept those good thoughts going in their direction for a couple of weeks. Yes, I'm not Mother Theresa and it didn't last and I eventually got angry again. But the thing is, two weeks of good wishes might have worked. This Saturday, early, we heard the pitter patter bing bang thump of people tramping around and boxes hitting the floor, and to my utter delight, they moved out. (Who moves out in the middle of December?) I felt euphoric all weekend. And now it's so wonderfully quiet.
Of course, we don't know who is going to move in now. Let's hope for the best.