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Lunchtime Poll

Lunchtime Poll – 2/16

Not a week goes by that I don’t fantasize about moving to a house in the country where my nearest neighbor is 3 miles away.  Today’s fantasy is brought to you by My Opera Singing Neighbor, who has really been stepping up her practicing recently.  It wouldn’t be so bad except for every time it starts up I think someone is being attacked.  So today’s LTP is: Who is/has been your most annoying neighbor?  Or, for you more positive readers, who is/has been your best neighbor? Anyone you can ask to borrow a cup of sugar or who shovels your sidewalk just out of courtesy?  I guess we can all be grateful that we don’t live next door to Octomom, though!

By Luci Furious

There are no bad times, only good stories.

41 replies on “Lunchtime Poll – 2/16”

We once lived on the main floor of a house underneath a couple. She liked to run her sewing machine from midnight until four a.m. in the room right above where we slept. Her boyfriend was an aspiring techno DJ and liked to work on his beats in the middle of the night. The real loudness came though from her having sex… with his best friend whenever he was out of town. It was dreadful.

She lives across the hall.

She’s an ageless woman, incredibly proud of her Native American heritage. She came from a country club kinda family but spent years of her life living on the streets, addicted to alcohol and drugs. She’s sober now, but the first time you meet her you might be surprised to see that she has exactly half the teeth on the top half of her mouth, and exactly half the teeth on the bottom–on the other side. Currently she’s the longest-seated tenant and the only chain smoker in the smoke free building. If she reports anyone to the landlord it’s pretty much guaranteed they’ll be booted out. If she likes you, she’ll make sure you know when the city is towing cars to remove snow, or when construction is going on in the building, or anything else you might need to know.

Her apartment is a studio, dimly lit and small. There are Christmas lights zig-zagged across the ceiling, pieces of Native American artwork everywhere. The fridge is bare aside from the box of fresh-off-the-tree oranges and lemons her sister just shipped her from the other side of the country. Her tub until recently was packed full of boxes of all manner of junk, belongings she inherited from dead siblings and friends, stuff she has been slowly sifting through. She’ll sit in the easy chair in a Stewie t-shirt and tell you about her son, show you pictures of the pit-rottie dog she co-owns with a woman in the city, and show you pictures of all the people she loves on her cell phone. The only other piece of sitable furniture is the futon that serves as her bed. You’ll stand. As you listen to her conversation, you’ll mix one part understanding with one part smiling, nodding, and hiding your confusion. You’ll have to start telling her you need to leave now about 15 minutes ahead of time.

In addition to her multiple drug-related and other illnesses, she wears full leg braces as a result of having polio as a child. She drives a beat up, souped up muscle car painted gold and covered in rust and bumper stickers celebrating her heritage, warning against substance abuse and lamenting our government’s abandonment of POW/MIA soldiers. The back seat of the car is covered in green plastic recycling bins, crushed soda cans spilling everywhere. This is so that when she drives into the city, nobody can slide into the back seat and hold a knife or gun to her head. The engine grumbles like the beast that it is; this car is well loved. It loves racing at the track and passing sports cars on the highway, slowing down just before it reaches the cop who hides around the next bend. People have lined up to buy this car when the driver choses to give up driving.

Sometimes you’ll hear her talking to people in the hallway, or as you’re entering the building you’ll see her leaning up against her parked car as a couple young men help her carry groceries up to her apartment. As you grab a case of soda and hold the door for them, she’ll explain that they’re deaf and can’t hear you. She takes care of so many people in the community: feeding their cats; staying with them in the old folks’ home; looking after anyone who needs looking after. It is no surprise that so many colorfully diverse people come to take care of her.

Some people might write her off as that crazy old lady across the hall, the worst neighbor they’ve ever had, or at least the weirdest. But you know that she’s one of the greatest people you will ever have known.

My downstairs neighbors are annoying the reverse way as most of these people; they’re SUPER sensitive to noise, to the extent that they get annoyed about noises that DON’T EXIST.

One night we had maybe 5 people over and they asked us if we’d take our shoes off and keep it down a bit. Fine, no problem, we did. The next morning at 10:30 am I got a text from them that said “The noise is super loud right now, can you guys take shoes off and be conscious of the noise made by moving furniture around?” I responded “Did you mean to send that last night? Sorry, I’m just getting it”. They said “No, right now”.

I was at work. I called my roommate to ask why he was apparently moving furniture around. . .and he was asleep.

I had two roommates for about two terms my freshman year of college. They definitely qualify as my worst neighbors ever. My sister and I moved into a quad apartment/dorm – living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, one bathroom with the toilet and sink, second bathroom with the shower. Kind of weird, but whatever. My sister had previously lived in a quad and had a fantastic experience.

We met our assigned roommates while moving in and the very first thing they said (besides ‘hi’) was, ‘do you have boyfriends?’ Oh great, thought we (not actually having boyfriends). They’re going to want them over here all the time. But we were being positive and we thought that even though our roommates and we were polar opposites (not just about the boyfriends) we could get along and respect eachother without being besties.

Not so! In the roommate contract we drew up, we split up the cleaning duties and so on. Then we asked one thing – please don’t have parties with alcohol in the apartment. Okay, sure no problem.

So it became obvious over the next few weeks that all wasn’t puppies and kittens. They took over the living room to the point we never used it, never washed their dishes or cooking gear, and obviously never cleaned the bathroom. One morning right before Halloween my sister and I ate breakfast at the shared table, moving the candy bowl from the center to the corner. When we got back from classes there was a folded paper sign: ‘the candy bowl should remain in its designated spot’. Seriously? That is taking passive aggressive pettiness to a whole new level! It got to the point that whenever one of us exited our room, the roommates glared. Then came the party; remember the contract? They invited about 20 or so people over and were drinking a lot, very loudly. This was well after midnight and I had an 8:00 class. I asked them to keep it quiet twice and each time they were very apologetic and swore they hadn’t actually been that loud.

I gave up – I called the RA and made a noise complaint. The RA came up, warned them, saw the alcohol, and made them pile it in the middle of the room so he could take a picture of it before disposing of it.

Needless to say, the situation was not pleasant after that. The next day every empty wall space was covered with alcohol-related posters, along with an ever-growing list entitled ‘why I hate my roommates.’ Anything of ours that was out of our locked room risked being destroyed. We called a roommate meeting with the RA and asked for a policy of mutual avoidance. That didn’t work – we stayed out of the room basically all day, but every time we were in there the roommates were having loud, profanity filled phone conversations about that ‘fat bit**’ or similar themes.
When I asked for another roommate meeting about this, the yelling really started. Do you all know just how hard it is to keep your tone steady when two girls are screaming their heads off without letting you get a word in edgewise? I didn’t, but now I do. And really, their arguments were always so cyclic – no natural progression of logic or anything. I mean, really – put a little effort into it (/end sarcasm).

So when my sister said the situation was affecting her more than I had thought, we got an emergency move-out over spring break. With a crew of friends helping us, we got everything moved out of there in just under two hours. And making the situation even better? The place we were moving to was our first housing choice originally! But since I was a freshman, we weren’t technically eligible.

So sorry everyone – this post ended up being a bit longer than I intended, but it was very therapeutic!

My current upstairs neighbors. They have 3 kids under 10 who stay home all day (I think maybe they homeschool?) and run around the entire time. They have a treadmill they use constantly and a vaccuum cleaner they use at least every other day. I just want some peace and quiet. I was spoiled from our first 6 months in this apt with no upstairs neighbors at all.

Our current next door neighbors are pieces of work. The mom recently shared a story with me about how she caught her 13 yo son stealing from Kohl’s. When he asked if he had to go back and confess, she told him “no, Kohl’s has a no questions asked return policy. I’m taking them back and getting the credit.” Are you fucking kidding me??? She shares this with me, the neighbor whose name she can’t remember and could be a cop for all she knows? They also have the MOST obnoxious 6 yo child I have ever encountered. I love kids and think anyone in my life would back me up when I state I have an almost infinite amount of patience for kiddo quirks and annoyances, but this kid bugs the fuck out of me. He is just awful. I pity him, because with a mom like his, it was kind of inevitable that he would have behavioral issues, but ugh, I just can’t deal.

In college the guy who I shared a wall with in the dorms had just started seeing a new guy and the had the loudest sex I have ever heard. Like my bed would shake from the other side of the wall. If that wasn’t awkward enough, a while later my neighbor was dumped by this guy and was pretty distraught about it. So what does he do? He blasts Jewel’s “You Were Meant for Me” on REPEAT. For HOURS. It lasted about two weeks, and I still can’t listen to that song without wanting to scream.

I can’t think of any really terrible neighbors, but I’ll gush about my new neighbors. They’re not actually new: we’ve all lived in the same complex (different buildings) for about 5 years. Because both NeighborWife and I are kind of antisocial with strangers, we never conversed until my husband and I got a dog last year. Our dog met their dog and we got to talking and we all just clicked. We wanted to leave a note at their door with our phone number once, but decided against it because it was too weird; later on, we found out they wanted to do the same. They even invited us to their wedding after only knowing them for a month or so. We have doggie play dates and do dinner at ours or theirs once a week. Being able to go over to someone’s place in your PJs and feel at home (especially because it’s the same layout) is so neat. We’ve even (only half)jokingly made plans to move into adjoining condos when we eventually buy houses.

When they came back from their honeymoon, we’d stocked their fridge ala Ina Garten with juice, milk, bread, etc. When we came back from two weeks away for Christmas, they had done the same for us. They can come and walk our dog if we want to go out of town for a day and we do the same for them.

Yes, we’re those obnoxious neighbor friends, but I love it. They’re practically family to us now.

My most annoying neighbour was my current one… she’s improved since she stopped doing major renovations to her condo at 1:00 IN THE MORNING! Once those finished, she’s been good — plus she apologized at one point, so that went a long way…

Most awesome neighbour? The one just prior to current neighbour. She was the absolute perfect balance of friendly, leave-alone-y, and quiet. I miss you, Monica! *sniff*

I’ve had all manner of noisy neighbors. Currently, MrWine and I like to lie in bed and tell stories what the upstairs tenants could possibly be doing that sounds like bowling with the furniture

But the worst was a next door apartment neighbor who scared the crap out of me. He was a dealer who spent most of his time threatening clients and distributors over the phone, never quieter than a bellow. He would get into a rage and start hitting the wall that separated our apartments. He parked his black benz all over the place, just as a general fuck you to everyone. His girlfriend worked at a club until 2 am and every night she’d come home, they’d have a drunk/high screaming match, she’d go out into the hallway and sob (in front of my door), they’d have a reconciliation, he’d invite her back in, and then have ear-splitting headboard-banging makeup sex. I called the police a few times because i was fairly sure he was beating her, but I was afraid of complaining too vocally for fear of pissing him off. I asked around, and no one was willing to deal with him. Finally, the top-floor apartment opened, and the landlord convinced him to take that unit and the world’s quietest man moved in next door. Peace reigned.

Fuckin’ Nance.
At my last place, we rented the downstairs of a house that the upstairs were rented by the owner. We shared cable/internet with them and the signal always sucked, so we’d have to try to get ahold of them to ask them to reset it. They also one night had a party that went until like 4am on a Tuesday, and their deck was right above my (open, as it was 90 degrees out) window.
All in all there were just minor annoyances, but the one we ended up interacting with the most’s name was Nancy, but we only ever referred to her as “Fuckin’ Nance.” We also think this would be an excellent band name.

Most horrible Neighbor- the one that shot my cat while I was asleep on the front porch. They knew I wasn’t an entirely stable person, that I was struggling to live on my own, and that I was a cat lover. I woke up after accidentally falling asleep on the porch with him to him jumping on my lap with a bullet hole through and through his little abdomen. He gave one horrible cry, and then… well, he stayed concious up until the other non-horrible neighbor with a vet degree put him down, but he was quiet and trusting and looked at me knowing I’d do whatever was right for him. (Another neighbor poisoned a bat, which Tribble’s mom and my BABY GIRL cat ate and then died from while I was out of town over my and her birthday. Yes, we had the same day & month.)

So yes, horrible neighbor story. not so much annoying neighbor- they’d get that one, too, with their loud partying and wanting to buy out and tear down the houses around them for an ever expanding yard, but yeah.

I am also a member of the loud neighbor club. When I lived in an apartment there were many neighbors who would blast music all the time. To make it worse, it was ranchero or duranguense music (of which I am NOT a fan).

One night our upstairs neighbor was playing said music at full volume for over an hour. I couldn’t concentrate on anything or even hear the tv, so I finally went upstairs to ask them (nicely!) to turn it down. I banged on the door for a good 5 or 10 minutes but nobody answered. I finally called the police. They dispatched an officer, and because I am an eavesdropper, I stood at the stairs listening to the whole conversation. Upstairs neighbor didn’t open up for the PO either at first. After a good while they finally opened the door and got a good tongue lashing from the PO who was really angry that they did not open the door for him.

I felt bad because I knew that upstairs neighbor was undocumented and I am sure he was scared shitless when the police came, but we never had to deal with loud music from him again.

Worst neighbor? A woman who lived downstairs from me who physically threatened me after I mentioned to the landlord that the shared hallway smalled like cigarettes and she was caught smoking when she wasn’t supposed to be.

Best? When I lived above a Chinese ex-pat social club where they played mah-jong into all hours of the night and would come out to offer me dinner when I was heading up the stairs to my apartment. Those old dudes were a blast.

The Condo Queen
Our worst neighbor is also the head of our condo association. We like call her the Condo Queen. When AtomicBoy and I were getting ready to move in, we would come by almost every day to do some seriously necessary cosmetic work on the place.
On our second day doing work, we found a note taped to the front door that said, “The speed limit here is 5 mph. You have been repeatedly in excess of this. Please note that violation of this limit will result in a $25 fine. P.S. Pets live here, too!” Our driveway is only about 75 yards long; you can’t speed if you want to!
A few weeks later, we found a large branch in our parking spots. It had fallen from the overhanging tree which sits in the property next door. We pushed it aside and went about our tasks. A few days later, the branch reappeared in the middle of our parking spaces with the following note taped to it: “I don’t know what is wrong with people around here who can’t just pick up their own messes. I am not a damn searveant SLAVE!” We liked this one so much that we kept it.
After that incident, AtomicBoy was refinishing the casement windows in the basement in July, windows open, but was using Krylon to make the frames a little nicer. Condo Queen WALKED INTO OUR PLACE to see what the smell was. AtomicBoy all but shoved her out the door.
Then, of course, there’s the dumpster inspection that she routinely partakes in. She will open tied trash bags to ensure that you are properly separating your trash/recycling. And, rather than separate it there, if you’ve been in error, she’ll put all the trash back on your porch. (We haven’t been on the receiving end of this, but I’m sure I’ll accidentally throw out a yogurt cup one day!)
She also feeds all the squirrels in a 10-block radius, as well as a plethora of stray cats. Now, I love animals, but having all those animals around all the time is worrisome. Our cats are indoor, but what if they got out? Those two puff balls only know how to roll over to get belly rubs! They’d be toast in a fight with a stray.
Now, why do we stay? Well, this place used to be my grandmother’s. My father now owns it, and since her passing several years ago, allowed my well-intentioned brother to rent it to some of his acquaintances. The last of these renters was a recovered crack addict who relapsed. He never paid rent, never cleaned, and, when AtomicBoy and I started cleaning, we even found a crack pipe. My parents want to sell the place; AtomicBoy and I want cheap rent. So, in exchange for rent that’s only $360 a month (it covers condo fees, and taxes, we pay utilities, usually only $200/mo.), we are fixing the place up. So we have a 1400 sq ft condo in a relatively crappy neighborhood in desperate need of repairs presided over by the Condo Queen.

Did I mention the rent is $360/month?

My Most Annoying Neighbor Award goes to my current upstairs neighbors. They won’t bring in their recycle bin so all week long it’s either in the hallway in front of our door or laying out on the sidewalk. They’re just little pixie things, but they STOMP all the time. It sounds like they’re constantly moving furniture up there, and for some reason are constantly dropping heavy stuff on the floor. All that, and the sounds of awkward n00b sex. And they’re just rude in general.

Best Neighbor Award goes to my current next door neighbor who is a music producer, sommelier, and an honest to god ninja. He’s possibly the most awesome person I’ve ever met and he’s super nice.

One neighbor from way back when always made me laugh. His antics were the best. He lived in a studio apt next to my place along with his two Jack Russell terriers. The Terrors. On some evenings I would hear various songs from The Village People come through my walls and if I held my ear up to the wall, I could barely make out him singing along. In my mind, I pictured him dancing and singing to his favorite band while he either cleaned or cooked dinner and that thought just made me so happy. I never minded Macho Man after that first night.

The Terrors on the other hand. Those dogs yipped like fingers run down a chalkboard. They also peed in the hall, in the elevator and possibly in the lobby. If they didn’t move in just months before the no dogs policy went into place, they would have been kicked out long ago. When my neighbor got home from work, he would open the apt door and let them just RUN down the hallway, yipping and peeing everywhere. Then, after a few minutes he would round them up and go downstairs to “go out,” as if they needed it. (Though, the bit of joy they offered was the side conversations my landlord and I would have about those dogs. She hated them but couldn’t bear to kick them out. The owner had lived in this building for over ten years. All she could do was bitch about it and I sure loved to listen.)

But a word of advice – never live with someone who is 10 yrs younger than you or being treated for multiple mental issues (one issue is manageable, three? no dice). You don’t want your worst neighbors to be those living one room over and potentially sharing hot water.

I’m sorry. I should have been more specific. She was trying out new medications every month and when the balance wasn’t right, she was a threat to both herself, me and those who came over to our house. There was just a lot going on and it would have been best if she lived with her family or someone who could provide live-in care. I had no idea how to help her. It was just… rough. For all of us.

Yes, after the year with the roommate, I learned a lot about various medications, side-effects and what happens when meds are mixed. The Welbutrin month was particularly dangerous. She started self-harming at an alarming rate and being more violent towards others. The one month where she took the meds I called “Happy Bouncing Balls” (after the commercials, I am horrible with remembering names as opposed to images) was nice. We watched a lot of Buffy and she seemed genuinely comfortable.

I hope your med mill thing is more like that last month. If you ever have to do it again. (And I may send you messages about Asperger’s? My neighbor was just diagnosed with it last year, she’s 14.)

My med mill… It left me terrified of seeing a psychiatrist, unable to lose weight enough to get within what my doctor ID’d as a goal weight, and is prolly what triggered my fibro myalgia initially. I’m mega leery about it.

(And yes, absolutely- I’m actually director of advocacy for Autism Women’s Network, and our forum is open to allies too as long as they are pro-women and pro-Autistics/those with ASD Dxs. http://autismwomensnetwork.org/ )

My sophomore year of college, I lived next to a girl who blared her music 24/7. I’d be sitting in my room with the door closed, and her door would also be closed (and for a dorm the walls were actually pretty thick and insulating) and it was like I had my iTunes on full blast, I could hear her music that loudly and clearly. And I lived in a designated “quiet” dorm (all the dorms had quiet hours starting at a certain time of night, but this dorm had quiet hours 24/7, which was why I as a really light sleeper wanted to live there)! My roommate and I constantly knocked on her door asking her to turn it down, and the girl finally called a meeting with the RA. The RA asked if we could find some times that the girl could play her music that wouldn’t bother us, to which I responded, “I don’t give a shit when she plays her music, I just don’t want to be able to hear every word of it – I play instrumental music almost all the time when I’m studying and you can’t hear it outside the room and that’s how it should to be, especially in a quiet dorm.” As far as bad neighbors go, I know it can be far, far worse than that, but it was really disruptive and frustrating and evidently I am still slightly bitter about it, haha.

Oh man, that’s bad. I lived on a ‘quiet’ floor my senior year of college and I LOVED it. I would have flipped if anyone interrupted that quiet.

Your story also reminds me of my first year when my neighbor would blast her music. It wasn’t that bad; I didn’t mind the music and she would only do it during the day. However, she would also be on AIM (am I dating myself with that reference?) and didn’t realize that she could control the AIM sound volume seperatly from her music. So, every couple of seconds there would be an extremely loud ‘ping!’ when she got a new message. I finally went next door and asked her to put AIM on mute and she stared at me like I was crazy, until I showed her how to do it.

I think I was almost even more annoyed with the RA – I’m sorry, we all got sheets with the special quiet dorm rules at the beginning of the year and I don’t feel the need to try to compromise; play your music quieter or put in some damn headphones, you know?

I can see myself being annoyed by the really loud AIM sounds too (and if you’re dating yourself then so am I – all of us were on AIM 24/7). Irregular noises like that drive me bonkers, and I love that you actually went over and showed her how to turn it down!

I would have been really upset with the RA too- if you could hear the music than it was too loud for a quiet dorm, no questions asked.

Yeah, at first I was really really annoyed with my neighbor and the AIM sounds until I realized that she legitamately did not know how to turn them off. Then I just felt sorry for her.

My most annoying neighbors are the ones I have right now. I live in a split level and are in the upstairs apartment. The residents are 3 members of a band and one band members sourpuss biotch of a girlfriend. They’re loud, rude, and messy. They practice their horrible music all the time (guitars, drums, keyboards you name it), tend to have parties on Tuesday nights, and they keep a ton of weird recycling (boxes and bottles) on the stairs up to their apartment. They still put some stuff out for the recycling collection, but the stairs to their apartment are always full of bottles and boxes.

If I ask them to quiet down (usually no earlier than 1am) they get really huffy. Once, the girl wouldn’t even open the door when I asked them to quiet down, just bitchily said “FINE” through the door. They stop all over the damn place, have no common sense, and do laundry in our loud as fuck broken shared machines late at night. I hate them. They are the reason I don’t think people should have guns, because I know I would have shot directly into the ceiling by now if I had one.

Oh, my God. My last year of grad school, I lived next door to these international students who ate curry-smelling something every single night. It was awful. In the winter, it would get stuck in the corridor, and our whole wing would smell like curry. In the spring and summer, I’d open up the sliding glass door to get some air from the porch, and it would waft in from their open porch door. At the end of the spring semester, one of the guys’ families came to visit. I have no idea how they crammed five additional people into that tiny apartment for an entire week, but they did, and Mama Neighbor Lady made curry-smelling something Every. Single. Meal. for an entire week. I don’t even understand this. How is it even possible to eat so much curry? I still can’t walk by an Indian restaurant without making a scrunchy face.

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