Russ: How’s that chick know your name?
Nathan: Thin walls.
Russ: Well, that would explain the scowl she just gave you.

Two years ago, I came home from work to find the following letter taped to my door:

Dear Neighbor,

I know I have no idea who you are. I am sorry that we had to meet this way but I think that you and I need to talk. I have just moved into this apartment complex and I know you are used to not having a downstairs neighbor. However, since I moved in two weeks ago, you now do have a downstairs neighbor and I would really appreciate it if you would start acting like it. I would very much like the following issues addressed.

Issue 1: The world is not your trashcan so quit flicking cigarette butts and apple cores and god knows what else off your deck. It is disgusting and rude.

Issue 2: Quit shaving your head on your deck unless you put down a drop cloth or something. I have your disgusting hair all over my deck. Seriously, who raised you?

Issue 3: The walls and ceilings in this building are very thin, so please try to use some restraint when fornicating with Liz, Jen, Julie and that woman you refer to simply as “goddamn whore.” I understand that you lead an active social life, but I do not need that life crashing down on top of me when I am trying to sleep. Not coincidentally, you could tell your women to be a little quieter as well. You seem to be into the kinky stuff. Why not try a gag on one of them, specifically Liz?

Issue 4: Though I think it is great that you have so many musically talented friends, I really wish you and they could spare me the Four AM practice sessions. Granted, they are better than your Four AM sessions addressed in issue 3, but they nevertheless keep me awake and I take school and work very seriously. Perhaps your friends and you could try making beautiful music at THEIR homes for a change.

Issue 5: I know you have been in this neighborhood a lot longer than I, and I realize that you are friends with almost everyone in the building. I am sure that you are a great guy who everyone loves to converse with; however, conversing does not necessitate shouting across hallways and up and down stairs at all hours of the night. You may not believe this, but at two o’clock in the morning, some people do not want to hear you arguing about who may or may not be the best quarterback in NFL history. By the way, the phrase “Manning is as overrated as overrated gets” makes absolutely no sense. Something or someone can almost always be more overrated than it or they may be right now. But that’s not important. No matter what phrases you use to settle these controversies, I would still prefer that they not be shouted while I am trying to sleep.

Issue 6: Fireworks are for outside only. If I hear any more explosions, I am calling the police. Perhaps they can deal with your bizarre lifestyle.

If we need to discuss any of these topics, simply leave a note with a phone number where you may be reached on my door. Here’s hoping that we will not have any more problems in the future.


In response, I put the following letter on her door:

Dear Janine,

I apologize wholeheartedly for five of the six issues addressed in your letter. From now on, I promise to use a drop cloth when shaving my head, an ashtray when smoking, a quiet voice and acoustic guitar when after midnight and fireworks only while actually outside of my apartment. Please allow my deepest apologies. This neighborhood is not known for its studious and serious residents, and I am very surprised to discover that one actually lives below me.

As for issue 3, I am not altering my sex life because it may occasionally wake you. If you are the brunette I see walking that pug who wears the red ribbon in her hair (your hair, not the pug’s) then perhaps you should pay me a visit and we can work on the noise problem together.

Welcome to the Neighborhood,