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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
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Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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What our upstairs neighbor might be doing

It's not easy, having your feet removed and replaced with anvils. But darn it, I'm going to find a way to get by. Now to practice my walking. No—JUMPING. That's the spirit, me!

If only the clog dancing studio hadn't burned to the ground. I suppose we'll have to use my living room. My neighbors will understand once they find out how much money our performance will raise for the third-world orphans.


This new therapist wants me to do trust falls all by myself, because if I can't trust myself, he says, who can I trust? He's the expert, I guess. I wish I could at least do them on my mattress. Or some pillows. Ow.


You know, I think I'll hammer some sound-absorbing materials to my floors. So that I don't bother anyone else in the building. I know some people would say, wait until morning, get some rest. But there's no rest for the thoughtful. I'll hammer until 3 a.m. if I have to. Just hammer and hammer.

Reader Comments (99)

This was one of my major motivations for buying a house. The neighbors spent the entire day (and night!) doing the same thing. I was convinced they were practicing their marching, tap dancing, or perhaps some wind sprints.

Either way I almost tore off all their legs. Problem solved.
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Suarez
The price we pay for having people apparently move pianos and practice their Riverdance steps in the apartment above us at 2am is having NO-ONE BELOW US, thank god. Because two people sweatily stomping around to the 30-Day Shred last night---jumping jacks! skipping! now more jumping jacks!---must have made a hell of a racket.

Hey, maybe THAT'S what they're doing. Take them a basket of cookies to derail their efforts.
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNothing But Bonfires
We used to imagine our upstairs neighbor was rolling two melons together really really fast in an effort to make a "super melon"! I wonder if it worked.
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterabbyjane
As an apartment dweller, I love playing "sound detective." The noise doesn't really bother me -- I see it as free entertainment. As someone said in an earlier comment, I like knowing I'm not alone.
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
(Hi, I am newly following your it by the way.)

I totally understand your pain. When we were in an apartment our next door neighbors had kids that, I swear, were able to run ON THE WALLS! Yes, it sounded like the laws of gravity only slightly applied to those children as they ran circles around the room on the walls. Ugh!

Good luck to you. May I suggest ear plugs.
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda
My old upstairs neighbors were apparently weightlifters. You know, the kind who drop their weights to the floor from arm's length. I was never sure that was exactly what they were doing, but it sure did sound like it.
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDeanna
I hear you sister. Our neighbors have a spotlight on the side of their house that faces our bedroom windows. Due to their generosity, we are able to read in bed without turning on our lights and listen to them fight outside.The other nightthe light was off and my husband and I, for a brief moment,actually hoped they were dead. Then we repented for our evil ways and went back to reading by their G-D light!
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLee
This sounds like our (FORMER) upstairs neighbor. Except I think he purchased a small elephant and they jumped around together in all the unholy hours of night.
I'm so glad we aren't in a second floor apartment anymore. We managed to find a complex of duplexes, so no one above us. We just share a kitchen wall. Can't imagine what you could do, accept possibly satisfy your curiosity and go introduce yourself. At least you could find out of they're herding elephants up there or possibly five or six kids.
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBonnieBelle
The best thing about being a renter, as opposed to an owner, is situations like this -- worst case scenario is you pay to break your lease and you can move.

I lived for 10 months in a place that assured me, when I inquired, that the walls and ceilings were all firewalls, therefore close to soundproof. LIARS. Big fat LIARS. The walls were apparently paper, and the floors and ceilings cardboard. My downstairs neighbor installed surround sound with speakers on his ceilings... so my floors. My upstairs neighbor turned out to be a cheerleading coach (not making that up) for a local college, who had practices at 3AM (not making that up either)in his place. The neighbors next door, with whom I shared a bedroom wall, regularly had loud nasty arguments followed up by equally loud nasty makeup sex.

After 10 months, I broke my lease and left for a duplex. So there is a way out.
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJan
Ah - the joys of urban living...
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersuburbancorrespondent
well, they sound fun
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkym b
Other possibilities:- You live beneath the cast of STOMP!- They aren't people, but really the Dufflepuds from Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis.- Their mutant spider collection got loose and is hiding in various corners of the apartment. Whenever one is spotted...WHAM!!! They must be destroyed.- "She's a maniac, maniac on the floor! And she's dancing like she's never danced before!"
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShnerfle
I almost spit Diet Coke at: That's the spirit, me!
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPretty Lush
Lol. OMG I just about peed reading this. hilarious.
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
My old boyfriend had a DOWNSTAIRS neighbor who often engaged in vigorous sex with his numerous girlfriends. I know they were numerous because each girl sounded different as they made their lusty voyages together.

I feel terrible for all you apartment dwellers, but I have to say, the imaginations on you people make me so happy and smiley. Who knew so many loud-noise possibilities existed? I truly, TRULY would love to use some of these to explain to my students just how many ways exist to explain what is virtually the same thing.

And I do hope karma stomps the stompers.
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdie Frau
We had this problem with some neighbors once upon a time. It turns out the guy only had one leg and had to hop around all over the place ALL THE TIME. He said his crutches made him feel like "a cripple." We thought they'd opened a bowling alley or something. Awful, you've got my sympathy!
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusan
I think Henry needs a pogo stick.
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermadge
Oh my gosh, so, so funny. My kids are staring at me like I'm nuts I'm laughing so hard.
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChris
The entire coffeehouse now thinks I'm insane for giggling at my laptop, so I had to share. I once lived below a mother who was turning tricks while her kids were at school, and was gone when the kids were there. They loved to hold Saturday morning track meets... knocked the pictures off of my walls. I was 22 at the time, so they got lots of mad hungover banging on the front door from me. Later I shared a bedroom wall with a hispanic family. Mami y Papi thoroughly enjoyed their loud Latin lovemaking! Makes me wonder about the poor kids- they were in the same size apt I was in, which only had one bedroom and a small office area just outside the bedroom door.

I do not apologize for owning a beagle. His howling is melodic compared to other noisiness.
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaty
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteralexis
Water Buffalo. That's what lives above us. I'm sure that they are very nice but, none the less, still water buffalo.

Also, we are on the ground floor, right next to the door/ intercom. I've often wondered why people need to YELL whole conversations over the intercom. Seriously, just let your equally loud friend in and talk to their face!!
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermomma2731
Hysterical. I think though, to my shame, that I've been that sort of neighbor. As such, I can offer the following possible scenario: a group of post-college students practicing a dance that involves rhythmic floor slapping. For a talent show, which meant that it needed to be perfect, and as such practiced over and over for days. Either that or somebody bought an elephant and didn't tell the super.
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermeganlynae
We kept hearing this really loud, really awful, and very startling sound coming from our upstairs neighbors right over our bathroom. We recently found out they have this loose doorknob, the really old, really heavy kind, that keeps falling off. Like, at least once a day. But, have they any intention of fixing it? Noooo...
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBeth in SF
But hey this is why the burbs suck so much and city life is superior. Suck it up.
March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmi

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