We’re going to try something a little different in this week’s Roundtable. Inspired by the new Seth Rogen comedy ‘Neighbors‘ (which is not, as far as I can tell, a remake of the 1981 John Belushi/Dan Aykroyd movie of the same name), we’d like to tell some personal stories about our own very real experiences with neighbors from hell. Please join us to share some of your own stories too.
Maybe this is just a movie thing, but hot lesbians are supposed to be every guy’s fantasy, right? Well, when my wife and I moved into our old apartment years ago, the neighbor next door was what I think is described as a “lipstick lesbian.” The fact that she always parked her car in the handicap spot downstairs, and stomped around her wooden floors in high heeled boots day or night, was probably overlooked by the majority of the men in the building, because the moment they went to tell her off, they were thrown by how attractive she was.
We unfortunately shared a bedroom wall with her. When she started dating an equally attractive woman, things got interesting. To be honest, the sounds of endless bedroom interludes, accentuated by “Oh Christina! Oh Christina! OHHHHH CHRISTINA!”, weren’t all that bad at first, but when they happened at 9, 11, 12, 2, 5 and 6 AM for days on end, it started to get pretty damn old.
First it was sort of intriguing. Then it started to stir of feelings of inadequacy. Then we just wanted to get some damn sleep before going to work. By the third night, my wife – who is usually the more reasonable of us, by far – was pounding on the wall by the third go-round and yelling at them to shut up. It was a huge relief when they joined the rest of the world’s couples and started fighting a little more and doing it a whole lot less.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
The worst neighbor I’ve ever had to endure was a bartender who lived upstairs. He’d roll in from work around 4 or 5 AM, and then he’d unwind by noodling around on his electric guitar at ear-bleeding volumes. He and his girlfriend didn’t walk around their apartment so much as violently stomp, so I basically wasn’t able to sleep for that whole summer or however long I lived at that awful apartment. I was so stressed out and so sleep-deprived that I couldn’t keep food down. Bringing in the apartment management and, yeah, even the police just made things worse. I was still in college at that point and didn’t have all that many options, and I vowed that once I was on my own, I’d never, ever, ever live in an apartment again.
I’m pretty sure I’ve been the neighbor from hell a couple of times, though, so I guess turnabout is fair play.
Chris Boylan (Big Picture Big Sound)
Interesting topic. Shortly after we got married, my wife Cristina and I lived in an apartment in Elmhurst, Queens. We had this downstairs neighbor, an older Chinese lady, who was apparently very sensitive to sound, and we had no carpeting in the bedroom. So we’d always tiptoe around very carefully in the bedroom in our socks. Even so, if we were up too late (for her) and she heard the floorboard creak, she would roll some kind of device on her ceiling repeatedly and scream, “Go to sleeeeeep!” I never got to see that device, but it sounded like a paint roller that had metal studs embedded into it.
Anyway, after putting up with this for a few months, and knowing that we would be leaving soon, one night we had had enough. She started rolling her device and screaming, and we jumped out of the bed and did a nice line dance back and forth across the bedroom floor, jumping up and down, doing a little Irish jig. I’d say we kept it up for at least 10-15 minutes. Really worked up a sweat. She called the super to complain, but it was worth every minute.
After me moved, I got her phone number and every few months would call her up at about 2:00 AM and say, “Go to sleeeeeep!”
I’ve been fortunate enough to not have any neighbors from hell in my lifetime (so far). The worst I’ve experienced was once or twice a year when the parents next door went on vacation, their teenage son had the inevitable party in their backyard. After each drink, the kids seemed to get louder and louder until finally someone had to go over there and let them know that they were being disruptive. It was annoying, especially since my bedroom window was right where they wanted to sit and chat all the time, but at least it wasn’t very often and we have since moved away from there.
In my post-college apartment days I lived across the hall from a sixty-something-year-old man who suffered from night terrors. Judging from the resinous yellow stains around his door baked in from cigarette fumes, I’m guessing he had lived there 20 years or more. Apparently, the nicotine from two packs of cigarettes a day was not enough to calm his nerves, because sometimes during the night I would be awoken by bloodcurdling screams and ranting things like, “THEY’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE ME ALIVE!”
When I think about the topic, “Neighbors from Hell’, it implies that the neighbor does something malicious or evil towards you, but he never did that. He was just very clearly in his own hell. I bought earplugs.
Right before Mrs. Hickman and I were married, we scrambled to find a cheap apartment near the university we were attending. Without researching the area or putting much thought into it, we picked the only good deal around – a two-story townhome/condo-ish apartment with neighbors sharing both walls and the ceiling above us. Had we not been in such a rush, I may have noticed that the neighbors on both sides were complete tools.
Without naming the university, I’ll let you know that the apartment was closer to another university, one that was way too rigid and pretentious for my liking. Our neighbors fit into the category of people that you’d assume attended that university. (If you know where I live, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out which college I’m referring to.)
The neighbors to the right were twentysomethings with two kids and a lot of pride. Their noses couldn’t have been any higher in the air. They were the kind of people who wouldn’t say hello when you bumped into them just outside the door.
But the neighbors to the left were the worst. Via rude letters left on our front door, they openly made it known to us that they didn’t like us. They complained that we made too much noise at night, yet would vacuum their own floors at 7 AM. The husband even ruined our front porch. I’d just changed my car’s oil and left the old stuff in a large jug in an area between his front door and my patio. I went into to wash my hands with some Fast Orange and, when I came back out to haul it over to the local Jiffy Lube, the dude had kicked it over so that four quarts of used motor oil covered my entire concrete patio. It took hours to clean and never looked good again.
I’ve been driven out of two apartments by bad neighbors. The first was your typical obnoxious asshole who blared loud music at all hours of the night. (This was around 1998, right when Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life” became a big hit, and he ran that damn song in a repeat loop for hours on end.) He couldn’t be talked to, and the building management was useless. Mrs. Z and I finally moved specifically to get away from the prick.
We lived in our next apartment for almost 15 years without incident, until the resident crazy-old-bat in the building tried to poison us. Yes, really.
This woman was a real battle axe piece-of-work, but we’d managed to stay out of her way and maintain peace for years. That came to an end the summer before last, when we found ourselves repeatedly choking on the exhaust fumes from her car. You see, her parking space was right below our living room window, and she started leaving her circa-1988 Buick clunker idling for a couple hours a stretch at random times during both the day and night. After the third or fourth occurrence, I went down to the parking lot to ask her to turn the car off, assuming that she’d be sitting in it reading a newspaper or something. But no, the car was empty, running by itself!
It turns out that the woman had the damn thing hooked up with an automatic starter and a timer. Her mechanic had instructed her that she needed to run the engine every day for some reason that sounded pretty dubious to me, and even though she drove it fairly regularly, she also felt the need to set up this timer contraption.
I asked the woman nicely to stop doing this. She blew a gasket that I would have the audacity to tell her that she couldn’t do something she needed to do. I asked if she could leave the car with the mechanic until it was fixed. She screamed at me that she needed the car and couldn’t afford to have it fixed. (Meanwhile, she ran the thing probably 6 to 8 hours every day. I can’t imagine the amount of gas she wasted.) I offered to switch parking spaces with her (our space was in the back of the building, and not under anyone’s window). She flipped her lid that I would want to make a poor old lady like her walk an extra 20 yards to the other side of the parking lot. (The woman was elderly, but she wasn’t immobile or anything.)
No matter how nicely I tried to reason with her, she just became more and more irrational. She insisted that I was making the whole thing up, and that there was no way the exhaust from her car could get into our apartment. (Her tail pipe was literally aimed right into our window.) She started running the car more frequently just to spite us. The toxic fumes flooded our apartment every day. We couldn’t breathe there.
After weeks of this, building management finally forced her to change parking spaces, but we never heard the end of it from the evil old bitch. By this point, we decided that we’d finally had enough of apartment living and needed to buy a house. Although home ownership has certainly come with its own share of challenges, that was the best decision we ever made as a married couple. I feel sorry for whoever moved into our old apartment. I have no doubt that crazy Gloria is still there making their lives miserable.
I bet that our readers have some fun horror stories about neighbors from hell. Let’s hear them in the Comments.