I've Got Your Miami Sound Machine Right Here, Baby

Dear Greg,

Hi neighbor! Need to borrow a cup of sugar for that apple pie you're baking? Oh no, of course you don't---your four main food groups are alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, and pizza delivery. Anyway, listen, I know we barely even exchange pleasantries in the hall---in fact all I really know about you is that you get a Playboy in the mail every month, because honestly, that black plastic wrapper it comes in sure ain't fooling anybody---but I think it might be time we had a little chat. See, this is the thing, Greg: I've come to the conclusion that my life as your upstairs neighbor would be a whole lot better if you'd stop throwing raging keggers and blasting your music all night and letting your bartender friends ring other people's doorbells because they're too drunk to remember which number apartment you live in. Even though there are only four.

Wait, night? Did I say night? Oh no, I meant morning. I meant two o'clock in the morning. And three o'clock in the morning. And four o'clock in the morning, and yes, even FIVE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING. Because at five o'clock in the morning, Greg, when Sean's alarm went off so he could get up and go to work, you were STILL partying. And you know what, I guess this is as good a time as any to talk about your music choice. Because this morning's concert in my bedroom sounded suspiciously like Gloria Estefan. I suppose you want me to be grateful that it wasn't "Ray of Light"-era Madonna, as it has often been in the past, or that bhangra music you once experimented with, but STILL, Greg, come on. Don't you have any Wilco or anything? What about a book on tape? Or some guided meditation music? With chanting and whale sounds? I CAN'T TAKE THE GLORIA ESTEFAN.

I bet you heard a loud thumping on your ceiling around 4:15 this morning, right? OVER the Gloria Estefan, I mean? Because that was me, jumping up and down on my living room floor, again and again and again and again. I thought it might make a nice accompanying drum beat to your 80s dance party, oh, and also maybe get the message across that it would be just peachy if you could finally SHUT THE FUCK UP. And then did you hear the loud bang on your front door twenty minutes later? That was me giving it a mighty karate kick. And then that scrabbling you heard straight afterwards was me frantically running back up the stairs in my pajamas, because nobody sees me at five o'clock in the morning unless I've had twelve cups of coffee and the chance to run a brush through my hair. Not even you, Greg. Not even you.

Listen, I guess what I'm trying to say is that there's a way to have a party, and a way NOT to have a party. You should probably choose a weekend to run wild, rather than A MONDAY NIGHT. I mean, a Monday night just isn't very rock n' roll, is it? I can't imagine Jim Morrison having a party on a Monday night. I think he'd just be sitting on his sofa in his leather pants, balancing his checkbook and half watching Road Rules or something, wouldn't you? Even those girls who live on the ground floor---you know, the ones everyone hates because they once let three really fat people get in my hammock all at the same time and it broke---well, even they know the Party Etiquette For Apartment Buildings, Greg! They had a Halloween party last month, and not only was it on a Saturday night, but it was totally over by midnight! Which I kind of thought was a little lame, actually, but whatever.

I think you should know that it's not that I don't enjoy raging against the machine. I enjoy it very much, in fact. True, I don't enjoy raging against the machine to Gloria Estefan, but maybe if you had the Grease soundtrack and enough wine, we could even rage together. We could use our shoes as microphones and lean our heads together to duet. I'm sure Stacy from apartment 1 would be happy to be Rizzo, and we could reel a few others in for the roles of Kenickie and Frenchie. That would be fun, right? See, it's not that I don't like to party, Greg! I just don't like to party on A MONDAY NIGHT. I know a wild and crazy lifestyle just comes with the territory when you're a bartender---and since you're almost 30, I'm assuming you're a Career Bartender, like they have in Europe, and that's cool---but it just means that our schedules clash. (The Clash! If you were even listening to The Clash, it might not be so bad! It's just the cheesy synthetic pop that GOES RIGHT THROUGH MY CEILING AND MAKES ME WANT TO GOUGE OUT MY EYEBALLS WITH A BLUNT BUTTER KNIFE.)

I don't know where to go from here, Greg. You're not responding to me banging on your door or jumping up and down on my living room floor. I know the hammock-breakers from downstairs have called the police on you before, but I'm really too much of a chicken to do that, because what if one day I REALLY needed them because someone was breaking into my house, and they just looked at their caller ID and said "oh, it's that girl who's pissed because she can't sleep again, forget it, let's go get more donuts instead," and so I was strangled to death and left to die in my bathtub? Besides, if I called the cops now, you'd totally know it was me, and you might slash my tires or something. Or WORSE, tell all the bartenders in town not to serve me.

So Greg, please just stop. I promise I won't tell anyone about the Playboy subscription. Or the time you had that naked girl who wasn't your girlfriend staying at your house and she wandered upstairs into our apartment. Or your penchant for Gloria Estefan, which you've got to admit, is totally embarassing. They'll be our little secrets, I swear. Just please stop with the weeknight partying, and we'll all be happy. (But seriously, do run up and knock if you ever want to duet on Grease.)

So! Until we meet awkwardly again in the hallway,


Nov 15, 2005

Slip a copy of the grease soundtrack under his door- if he's going to force you to share his music it should at least be something tolerable. Gloria Estefan? I'd be calling the cops, no one should have to endure Miami or its Sound Machine any time day or night.

Nov 15, 2005

That's terrible! Granted, I live in a college town, but I've had neighbors who did the SAME THING! Except they lived across the parking lot from me. We could still hear their crappy music til all hours of the morning. What was worse is that their "friends" always ended up throwing trash in the back of my truck, leaving beer bottles on my porch, and enjoying a smoke on my bench seat (right outside my front door)!! We DID call the cops on them. They were invading MY SPACE at crazy, un-godly hours. Do you have an apartment manager or superintendant who you could "discuss" this issue with?!?

Nothing But Bonfires
Nov 15, 2005

I have a three hundred year old landlady. But Greg is her golden boy and she thinks he can do no wrong. It's possible she even likes Gloria Estefan and would want to come over and hang out. She'd probably already be up at 5am anyway.

Nov 15, 2005

i suggest you actually print this letter and mail it to him. or, if you can get into his mailbox, find a way to slip it into the centerfold of his playboy. he won't miss it there.

now that you have introduced us to your downstairs neighbor, i feel that i can no longer complain about my own. but, i still want to, because the people who live in apartment one play mexican music at ungodly levels, and when i am sleeping in my comfy bed at 5am, i don't like to be woken up to the sounds of their bassing mexican tunes. and the people who live across from apt one, they smoke.

but when i say they smoke, really, it doesn't explain that cigarettes are constantly burning in the house, and windows are never opened. and when i'm walking up the stairs to my apartment, and one of them opens their door, i am nearly knocked over by the stench that immediately begins to excrete from the open airway. and if i ever did fall over, i would totally sue them because that would mean that i would go rolling down the concrete stairs, and i'm certain i would break several parts of my body, plus get lots of scrapes on my legs, and one can't go around having scrapes on one's legs.

Nov 15, 2005

I lived for an excruciatingly long two years in Charlotte, NC. In one of those apartment complexes just like the other eight hundred million that dot the southern landscape.

As I was moving into said apartment (on a Saturday afternoon), I turned on my cheesy 1980-something stereo with the $4 speakers so I could enjoy some tunes from the next room. This stereo had noticably less spunk than most "boom boxes".

A knock on the door interrupted my unpacking. (See, I could HEAR the knock on the door from the back of the apartment - which should tell you how NOT loud the music was.) It was the cops. Some neighbor was complaining about the "loud music."

I said, "It's only five in the afternoon! And it's not that loud!" See, where I come from, the noise ordinance took effect at 11:00pm. The cops informed me that ANY noise that disturbed ANY person at ANY time was an offense. They left off the, "Welcome to the South, ya damn Yankee" - but I heard it loud and clear. I'm sure the NY license plate on my car was the inspiration for the neighbor's call to the cops, but....

The moral of this story is: call the cops! They love enforcement down there. More to the point, ask for a copy of the report, and collect them. Present the lovely landlady with a handful of these, and she'll have to do something!

Or, call in sick to work and do a little clogging, stomping, and tap dancing when HE's sleeping! It will be hard to find music that will offend him, because obviously his taste runs to the lowest of common denominators, but perhaps show tunes would do the trick?

Good luck!

- M

Nov 15, 2005

greatest letter ever. you absolutely have to tape it to his door. i had a next door neighboor not unlike this, except she was a girl my age and an attorney at a well known firm, which i never understood. how she managed to party all night on weekdays and get up and go to work in the morning was beyond me. i always wanted to say something to her, but i was too chicken shit to do it.

Nov 15, 2005

Up here, we have an expression to deal with fucktards like Greg..."payback's a bitch." My suggestion? When you leave for work in the morning, blast your stereo (up to volume 11, if possible.) 'Cause that mofo's got to go to sleep sometime. Blast something bad and loud and then just leave for the day. Only problem is what to play. What kind of music do you use to annoy a guy who actually LIKES Miami Sound Machine? What's the exact opposite music of Miami Sound Machine? Hmmm...I'll have to think on that one.

By the way, if all else fails, drop a dime and call the cops on his ass. Monday morning parties are uncool.

Nov 15, 2005

Oooh! Here's what you do. Get a garbage bag and tape it to his door (don't open the bag up, leave it flat). Seal it to the door so that it makes a kind of pocket that you can fill with garbage. Make sure the bottom is sealed to the door so that the trash doesn't fall out the bottom of the pocket. Fill it with all kinds of crap you wouldn't want in your apartment: sugar, flour, syringe needles, you know, the usual. Then bang on his door and run like the wind. When he opens it, all the crap goes cascading inside! Not that this will help you with the Gloria Estefan. But it is funny, right?

Ha ha ha ha ha! Oh my god, college was so stinking fun.

Nov 15, 2005

Oh lord, I'm having college flashbacks. Make it stop.

Gretchen C.
Nov 15, 2005

Aaaaah! Wonderful, wonderful. I have lived next door to cousins of Greg; at one time, sadly, I lived in a Newport Beach apartment complex populated almost entirely with Gregs. The problem with living in a beach town is that it is populated with the sort of people who live in beach towns.

Print a copy and mail it to him. Tape it to his forehead. Whatever it takes. He will probably get his comeuppance someday, but wouldn't it be much more fun if you were there to see him get it?

Nov 16, 2005

Try living above a couple, who when they were doing "the deed", the woman sounded EXACTLY like a Canadian goose. "A-wah, a-wah, a-wah!" It could wake me out of a dead sleep. After about a year of it, I cracked and also jumped up and down on the floor like a wild woman.

You should definitely print up the letter and give it to him!

Nov 16, 2005

I like the blasting music while you're gone all day idea. He's a bartender and probably sleeps until 4:00 every day. I have some nice opera you can borrow. He'll probably bleed through his eye sockets for opera.

bad andy
Nov 16, 2005

That sucks!!!

Right now I have a couple that seem to like to bother their dogs and then fight about it every morning. When I lived in San Diego, we had this couple that threw parties as least once a week. We could hear the music, the loud laughter, their toddler screaming. They would get so drunk that they wouldn't notice the beer bottle the knocked off their balcony onto the entrance to my apartment (sigh). One time I have a friend visit and it was hot so we were watching TV at about 8pm and he would actually whistle at us to shut up because he was trying to get his daughter to bed. Where the hell was the whistling when you were throwing your party????

I would talk to your neighbors.. find out if its just as much a problem for them as it is for you. Talk to the super old Landlady. Then I would look at your lease for any special rules (quiet hours). If this guy is violating rules and the landlady isn't doing anything about it then you should think about terminating your lease, or refusing to pay rent. I would then check with any housing authority to see what additional rights you have outside your lease.

Nov 16, 2005

Steal his Playboys. Tell his girlfriend the SO VERY FUNNY story about the naked girl. And get yourself a CD of Christian children's music, sung BY CHILDREN, and leave that playing all day. Loudly. My sons had one of those things, and every time we listened to it, I deveoped a tic in my face. Seriously. If I could remember the actual name of the one we had, I would tell you. Hell, I would SEND it to you, except it was never the same after I drove over it.

Nov 16, 2005

Once during a four-month internship in another city I reluctantly agreed to live with two Gregs. One weekend they had a HUGE party when I was gone, and when I got home Sunday afternoon there was shit everywhere. Beer bottles, cigarette butts, chips in the beautiful shag green carpet - the works. It was horrible. Since they weren’t home, and I didn’t want to live in a garbage dump until they got back, I cleaned up the entire place. You know what I got for that? A large box of maxi-pads from the boys as if to say “you were such a bitch to clean up after our party that you must be having your period.”

I moved out the following weekend.

Nov 16, 2005

Yeah, I've had neighbors like that also. In gradschool, one neighbor liked to sit outside in the parking lot at 2:00am and drink beer and sing loud country music. Everytime he finished a can he would toss it into the back of his pick-up truck where it made a loud CLANG! I was really trying to be nice and ignore the incomprehensable drunken singing and the clang, clang, clang every 15 minutes but when I finally got up and looked out the window to find him peeing on my mailbox that was the last straw. I called the cops on his ass. It was a small town which means the cops didn't have much to do. There was a big blue and white party in the parking lot about 10 minutes later. 3 cop cars pulled up with lights blazing. They didn't arrest him but apparently they succeeded in scaring the piss out of him (pun intended) because he never did it again.

Personally, I think you should buy a CD of Polka music and blast it while he's sleeping.

Nov 16, 2005

Oh, my God. This is a wonderful letter. You should give it to everyone in the building and have them sign it and then give it to the really old landlady.

Nov 17, 2005

I've lived in single family housing for the last 15 years. I'll kill before I ever go back to multi-family dwellings. I had a 100 watt Marshall amp for just such an emergency but I sold it. Damn. A few power chords and all would be well.

Nov 17, 2005

Delurking to say I think Greg used to live next door to me in Iowa City. Or his doppelgangers: there were three of them, long-haired, very skinny guys in Metallica Tshirts who delivered pizza by afternoon and played loud music by night. Since I had a brand-new baby I was also up all night, which should have made it OK except that nursing to Metallica made for some cognitive dissonance.

One warm night I heard the doppelgangers walking by my open window: their conversation went thus:

Doppelganger # 1: Dude, Metallica rules.
Doppelganger # 2: They mean so much to me. Like, if I had tickets to a fucking concert, and my mother's funeral was that day, I would totally have to go to the concert. Because fuck her if she didn't understand, you know.
Doppelganger # 3: Fuckin' A.

If the son I was nursing at the time grows up to have these conversations, I may have to shoot myself.

Terrific blog, by the way. Who can resist a blog with a title from A Winter's Tale?

Swedish Girl
Nov 17, 2005

Aha! Is Greg quite rotund and wears a Reservoir Dogs t-shirt? Because in that case I think he could be the guy living downstairs from me last year. He always fell asleep with his keys in the lock, on the outside, with the radio blaring unidentifiable music, or had long lie-ins sound-tracked by a novelty alarm-clock that neighed like a horse and said "good morning, good morning, good..."

Pass me the butter knife.

Nov 17, 2005

You should take him to Wal-Mart (ah so you have been there) and teach him how to turn up the Celtic music really loudly and then run to the next aisle and giggle among the shower curtains as people start to dance when they think no one's looking, just like we did (i mean not the dancing but the turning up the Celtic music in Wal-Mart, uh I mean, it wasn't us). Also I had a dream about Melissa last night and I'm very impressed with your karate moves, thought I do know secret ninja moves from the government and a buttload of gangs are trying to recruit me. Also, along with the Whole Foods post, whenever I hear the Killers song, I think of us driving around the parking lot and then getting out and hiding behind your car (only we will know why!! ...and the people we told)

Nov 17, 2005

Ahhh! I just put up a post about my hideous former upstairs neighbours, Jason and Todd who were Greg X 2. And kind of sexually menacing, too. Ugh. The memories. But I did what MD suggested with leaving the music on while I left the house. Really, really loud music. But sadly, they DID NOT NOTICE.

I moved out, too.

Nov 18, 2005

Skinny Puppy. Greg needs a good dose of Skinny Puppy around 7am every weekday morning.

Seriously, I feel your pain. I cannot stand hearing noise from neighboring apartments - almost as bad as smoke wafting through the walls.

Nov 18, 2005

Perfectly worded, and perfect sense of outrage, yet tinged with compassion. Tape it to his door!

Or, you could call the cops. I did that one time, and then I resolved to never, ever live anywhere else on the first floor.

Nov 18, 2005

GAH! I've had those neighbors. I felt my blood pressure going up all over again, just reading about yours!!

Nov 19, 2005

Hols, although you are of course completely in the right, I risk incurring the wrath of other commenters on this thread as I am reminded with a smile of the time when Huston, Tom and Russell managed to elicit a complaint from their neighbours three floors down, who complained not at the fact that there was loud music blasting out at an ungodly hour on a weeknight, but that the song which had woken them up was Billie Jean.

They obviously weren't REM fans either, as a week later a stirring playback of "What's the Frequency Kenneth" at 6am on a Tuesday morning led to complaints from every single other flat in the block and an official grovelling session with landlord, who, unfortunately for 'the lads', owned the entire building. After threatening to throw them out the window, he let them stay on, proclaiming that if they thought they could out-party him, they were very much mistaken. He was the party king in this town (London...), and they should not forget it.

But they're all model neighbours now, I'm sure.

I really should write you a proper email soon.

Nov 19, 2005

I once lived in the apartment below a woman whose bed creaked loudly and rhythmically for about 15 minutes every morning. The creaking, and her repeated moaning, both made their way down into my apartment. I thought she was having morning sex with some guy on a daily basis. But I ran into her in the stairway one morning and asked where her boyfriend was. "What makes you think I have a boyfriend," she responded. "I'm not seeing anyone." Aaaaaaah. Turns out she'd been performing a solo act up there.