For about the past two years I’ve had a noisy upstairs neighbor. She was fine during the daytime hours walking softly and barely making any noise. But around two or three o’clock every morning she stomped around her apartment for no reason. She’s elderly and doesn’t work, so it’s not like she had anywhere to go at that time of the morning and she didn’t even walk outside. She just made noise, on purpose.
How do I know it was on purpose?
Because she didn’t like the sound of our bathroom exhaust fan and the fact that the fan ventilated near her window. I get both of those things being annoying, it’s not a great design at all, but it’s an old building and that’s just how it is. Besides, I don’t own the old building and I didn’t design the old building. I have no control over either one of those things and since the landlord didn’t want to do anything about them, she either had to learn to live with it or move.
But that’s not what she did. She just started being an asshole.
When she first moved in she would bang on the floor periodically throughout the night and in the wee hours of the morning, waking my then 15 year old and waking me right into a panic attack. When I finally calmed down enough to get back to sleep, she would do it again. It’s like she knew when we were sleeping.
I tried talking to her about it and explaining that I couldn’t do anything about the sound of the fan and that, no I couldn’t turn it off because, despite the dehumidifier that we keep running constantly, if the exhaust fan isn’t running as well, mold will quickly form because of all the humidity. She didn’t care and kept banging on the floor until we called property management who told her that the sound cannot be helped, if she can’t find a way to deal with it by putting a rug down on her floor to muffle it or using earplugs at night that she was welcome to find another place, but the banging had to stop.
She stopped the banging. But then she started opening and slamming the door at 3AM every morning. After notifying property management again (who got her son involved this time, because he was apparently the lease holder), she finally stopped. It was relatively quiet for a while after that.
Then the 3AM stomping started.
It wasn’t real loud at first, it got louder with time though. But it was just once a night now instead of for hours. My kiddo was wearing earplugs to bed and was no longer bothered by it. I also wore earplugs to bed and just tried to ignore it as much as possible. I got used to the 3AM wake-up call. Or so I thought.
It still took me several hours each morning to go back to sleep and by the time I did, it was just in time to wake up again. My sleep has been a wreck for so long though that originally I thought it was just because of the CPTSD and panic attacks. But I haven’t had any flashbacks or panic attacks for quite a while, months and months in fact. And then I thought it was just the insomnia bullshit that I’ve dealt with off and on for years. But nope, apparently it turns out it was just her. Because for the last five nights, I’ve slept almost the entire night through and the one time I did wake up, I was able to go right back to sleep without issue.
So today I’m enjoying the fact that after about five years, first of constant panic attacks and flashbacks and then her, I’m finally getting to sleep again. I’ve even been getting up early like I used to and going for short walks and completing my entire morning routine, which I’ve been struggling with for a while.
I’m trying not to stress about the future right now and the new neighbor that I eventually will have upstairs. But I won’t lie, I’m also “thinkin’ and dreamin’ and wishin’ and hopin’” that whoever my new neighbor is, they aren’t such a dick. Wishing for a neighbor that sleeps the whole night through like a baby and doesn’t have a weird work schedule and need to get up at odd hours. And that they walk with the soft footfall of a ballerina. That they close cabinets and doors softly and don’t drop shoes and bags and other crap on the floor. That they listen to soft jazz and classical music. That they have a full social life, but maintain it in places that do not include their apartment. Is that too much to hope for?
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Not too much to hope for, Vickee. It is your right as a human being, a tenant, and a member of civil society to have your needs for reasonable quiet at night (and during the day, too) respected. You'd think the "asshole" would not need to be repeatedly awakened to this fact. I appreciated your description of your frustration; I could feel what it was like for you to be at your wit's end. I also appreciated that you separated your own history with disrupted sleep from the disruption that was clearly and intolerably caused by the gal upstairs. May you never again have to deal with such an aggressively obnoxious neighbor.
Glad to hear you are sleeping through. How wearing, both physically and mentally to have your sleep disrupted!
Is that photo really your house? It looks beautiful. I also live in an old house (1810 or so), but it’s our house and just us to annoy each other.
My work is with dogs ( or was, I’m on my post transplant sabbatical) and a common symptom of canine dementia is being wakeful and noisy in the small hours...made me think of your unreasonable former neighbour!
Fingers crossed for a new era of undisturbed nights. 🤞🏼