My neighbor Fred and I are in a middle school relationship. We hardly talk to each other or spend time together, but I talk about him to my friends for what seems like hours on end so I can figure out just what to do about my relationship with Fred. We communicate by passing each other short notes written on lined paper with three holes along the side. This week, I yelled at a mean girl he was hanging out with. When I can’t seem to get the right message to Fred, I ask someone else to talk to him for me and then report back. In this moment, our relationship feels incredibly significant to my life, so much so that I am having trouble sleeping because of Fred.
Some of you may recall that a very long time* ago, Fred had a late night party right outside my bedroom window and this party led to a note exchange between Fred and me in which Fred offered his “sincerest apologies” and promised this would “never happen again”. Apparently, Fred meant this will never happen for the next two weeks, because he was back at it again Friday night. When I got home at 10pm** with plans to go to sleep almost right away, Fred’s party was going full force. I decided that instead of being the mean old lady next door that tells the young partiers to quiet down, I would go to sleep with the window closed and then I could open it if/when I woke up later in the
night. I had, after all, been a young partier not long ago (I think it was three weeks ago) . When I woke up at 3am, I was really hot and wanted to open my window to enjoy part of the reason I live on such a high floor in New York City (I can open my windows and the rush of traffic sounds more like waves on the ocean than taxis speeding down the west side highway). So I opened the window and was hit with the sounds of Fred’s party still going full force. I shut the window and decided I would just sleep on the living room couch. But the noise in there was basically the same. I then did what any sane person would, I went back to my bedroom, turned on the light, opened the window and yelled at the group on the terrace “You have to quiet down, I am so effing*** tired.” This had no effect and the party continued for another 30 minutes until I decided that I would rather be sleeping than watching DVR-ed Jimmy Fallon. I called down to the doorman and he sent someone up and the party ended and I went to sleep for two hours because I am incapable of sleeping late.
I woke up tired, angry at Fred and even angrier that I was out of coffee in my apartment. When I saw the doorman on my way to get coffee, he told me I could file a noise complaint and then the management company would send a “legal notice” to Fred. As angry as I was, I just wasn’t ready to take that step with Fred. It felt like I would be reporting him to the Principal and he would only take action like a middle school boy can by picking on me more and I would sleep less. The doorman, who apparently sees Fred all the time coming home really late at night, said he would tell Fred to knock it off and would also tell him I am the wrong person to make angry (I have a reputation from the apartment flooding fiasco).
The doorman made me feel a little bit better, but not as good as the note I wrote to Fred (written on his original note to me, of course): FRED – We have to figure something out here. This is not working for me. Rebecca
And then I slid it under his door, hoping he was not home. Because like any good middle school girl, I don’t know what I would actually say to him if I had the chance to talk to him.
**Don’t judge me, I worked non-stop all week and was exhausted.
***I used the real world.