Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Living On The Bottom

   Moving sucks, but this period of suckyness is a prelude to something better (hopefully): a new place. A new place to set up your crazy little family; hopefully, a new place better suited to whatever your needs are. And I am thrilled with my new place; a place for just me and my daughter, something I haven't had since I split with her dad. All my friends and coworkers and family can tell too; I have been blowing facebook up with random pictures of things in my apartment. They have gotten pictures of my linen closet, my bedroom closet, my fireplace, and a bunch of other mundane things that don't matter in everyday life and rate a 0 on the thrill factor. Oh, I know, but I'm going to keep posting pics, because right now these things rate a 10 to me.
   One of the things I am most thrilled about is the fact that my new apartment is on the first floor. The first thought that may come to mind is 'No Stairs' but this is not the real reason. Stretching back and looking into my past, those crappy teenage years that I tend to try to forget, shoving them into little box in my mind and nailing the lid down, there was an apartment on the second story. This was the apartment that my mom, my sister, and I lived in after my parent's divorce. And I'm going to talk to you today about the people underneath us. 
Example of a 20 floor (or more) apt
   We all hear those jokes about the people living above you having pogo sticks but the truth is that walls (and floors) of apartments are never going to keep every sound out. If you can't stand the sound of someone walking across the floor then you need to at least have an apartment on the top, because trust me, you are going to hear that noise in most apartments. I don't know about the actual buildings where there are 20 floors, but in most complexes, where housing is based on a fourplex design or something similar, you are going to hear noise. And seriously, do you really think the people around you are going to live like they are in the library? In their own homes? You need to buy a house if you expect that.
   The people bellow us, in those black teenage years of mine, are the type that needed a house, not an apartment. At the very least, they needed a top apartment, an offer they refused even when the apartment manager offered to let them switch free of fees. They hated us, the family that lived above them. Why? Because we breathed. Because we walked across our floors (heaven forbid.) We walked too loudly -- according to them. Where we supposed to tiptoe? Am I exaggerating? Sadly, no. They called management and complained every single time we vacuumed our floors. Mind you, in broad daylight in the afternoon, so no breaking of those silent 'curfew' hours that apartments have, when you really are not supposed to vacuum your floors.
Bang bang bang!
   And what did they resort to doing when their frantic calls to the office yielded no results? They would thump their ceiling (our floor) with their broom whenever they thought we were being too loud. Walk across the floor (bang bang bang), vacuum (bang bang bang), get in a fight with your sister (bang bang bang), wash dishes and do laundry (bang bang bang), and the list of what that woman would bang on her ceiling for went on and on and on. She was banging on the damn ceiling (our floor) every five minutes it seemed. Did she have any kind of a life? I don't think so. I think that banging on that ceiling was her greatest joy, truthfully. Added some zest and drama to her life. Unfortunately, that zest, that drama, was at my family's expense.
   I think that at first, the apartment managers thought we were the problem; we must have been neighbors from hell. That family underneath us must have been in that office twice a day at least, complaining about us. But the tables turned and the apartment saw the true colors of these people, these Noise Nazis. One day, we needed some serious repairs done. Our air conditioner was broke, and this was high summer in Mississippi, where the heat could (and did) reach the 100s. The apartment's repair men were in our apartment fixing our problem and (bang bang bang! bang bang bang!) breaks out underneath their very feet. They look at us, dumbfounded, and we can only shrug, because we've been living with this for the past year. Then there is a knock at the door. And guess who it is? The police. These jackasses had called the police and filed a noise complaint on us because of the repair men. And these men can testify to their bosses (the apartment managers) that we were not doing a thing: that all the noise was caused by themselves as they walked across the floor to look at the air conditioning unit. Oh, the stink that made. And those people-- they were gone not too long after, and we never heard the bang bang bang again.
   Yet this has made me leery of living in a top floor apartment. I don't mind noise above me, but I am not tiptoeing across my living room floor for anybody. And if I am excited and jumping up and down, I don't want to get slapped with a noise complaint; nor am I going to be the one to slap someone else with a noise compliant. (People above me: you are safe!) Yay, for a first floor apartment!!!

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