Apartment Life

I met my upstairs neighbor tonight.

Until this point, I imagined him to be a hulking creature, at least eight feet tall, four or five hundred pounds, who constantly hurls small objects, or people, across his apartment, usually at 4 in the morning.

I wasn’t far off in my assessment of him.

He is tall. Not eight feet, but a good 6’4″. And he doesn’t weigh five hundred pounds, but is easily in the upper 200s. A lurking, bald, dressed all in black young man.

Normally I only hear him at 4 am. I’ve deducted that he works some kind of night job which causes him to return home between 4 and 5 am. Or he’s a professional raver. Tonight, however, my ceiling was threatening to cave in at 7 pm. I went upstairs, not so much irritated, but more out of curiosity to see who could possibly make so much noise. I knocked. No one answered. I knocked again. Still no one. I rang an annoying buzzer.

He opened the door. I smiled. “Hi…”

He immediately started, “You must live downstairs. Um.. Well, see normally I don’t wear my shoes in the house, but tonight we’re getting ready to go out and I have my boots on…”

I looked down. He did indeed have heavy, steel-toed cowboy boots on.

“… and I was telling a story, and I had to stomp on the floor. And I only have hardwood floors. So I guess it was kind of loud…”

I continued smiling, not having said more than the initial hi.

“…and it was part of the story. And was loud. But normally I don’t wear shoes.”

He stopped for a breath. I seized the opportunity.

“I’m not really concerned about noise now. But I do hear you come home every night. Morning. Around 4 or 4:30. If you could make just a slight effort to be quieter, I’d really appreciate it.”

This is saying a lot. I’m the world’s heaviest sleeper. I have to set 3 alarm clocks to rise in the morning. I’ve slept through many phone calls, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.

He continued. “…well, I try to take my shoes off when I come in. I guess sometimes I drop my boots. That must be loud. I’ll try not to. I manage a night club, so I come home late. Normally I wouldn’t have my shoes on, but we’re getting ready to go out. And I was telling a story and I had to stomp. And the guy who lived in your apartment before you, Joe, no, Larry, yeah, he was always complaining about how noisy I was.”

At this I merely raised my eyebrows. You don’t say?

“By the way, I’m Bill. It’s nice to meet you. Really nice to meet you. I’ll try to be quieter.”

Even if he isn’t quieter, the meeting had merit as pure entertainment.

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