I know my upstairs neighbors by how they bug me.
When I first moved into this apartment, the guy above me had a leaky air conditioner that dripped through the ceiling onto my bed and caused water damage that took my super 4 months to get someone to repair. Once he left, a man moved in for a short amount of time and moved furniture all over most nights. Next, the person above me watched TV loudly–never for very long, but still. After that, the woman upstairs would always come home screeching into her phone.
The current upstairs neighbor? Stomping. Just stomping noises in the evening. Sometimes at a half-reasonable time of 8pm, but often at 10pm or later, when I’m lying in bed and can’t focus on anything other than what’s going on above me. It had to be something that made more sense than actual stomping, of course, but I couldn’t figure out what. There had to be some explanation for why, at 10:30 last night, I heard a couch being moved and then the stomping, over and over, for a half hour.
What kind of exercise is that? I wondered, in between trying unsuccessfully to ignore it and wondering whether I should finally go find out.
I’d never ventured up there in the middle of the night before because–well, because it was the middle of the night. I was in bed. I was not wearing clothes. I was exhausted. And, okay, I was a tiny bit afraid that I’d encounter a large man who would angrily retaliate my questioning his late-night exercise by doing it even later.
But last night I couldn’t take it anymore.
I pulled on a tank top and shorts, confirmed that my sleep-deprived face looked only slightly crazy, and climbed the flight of stairs. I knocked on the door, nervous as only a New Yorker who has gone years without seeing her upstairs neighbors face to face could be.
And…a woman half my size opened the door.
“I don’t know what you’re doing,” I started, “but ever since you moved in, I’ve been hearing stomping.” It wasn’t until later I realized that not only did I not introduce myself, I didn’t even say I lived below her.
In my defense, it was 11:15pm on a Thursday and I was up way past my ideal bedtime of 6:30.
Anyway, I explained how I couldn’t sleep due to her noise and could she please not do it after 10pm.
She was fairly apologetic, or at least enough so that she explained what was causing the sounds.
“I’m in a walking competition, and I was trying to get in my last steps.”
She was literally stomping around her apartment.
I never would have guessed that the stomping noise was truly stomping.
So let this be a lesson to you: sometimes the simplest answer is the right one. And sometimes the person above you isn’t part of an elaborate plan to drive you insane.
Sometimes, they’re just trying to reach 10,000 steps. At night. Right above your head.