Bass From Beneath

Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2008, 10:59 PM


The guy who lived below my apartment was a very mysterious fellow. He lived alone, with two little dogs, but I barely ever saw him. He always had his blinds closed, 24 hours a day, and appeared to only be home about half the year, the rest of the time he was who-knows-where.

Usually the only times I got a glimpse of him was when he went out to walk his dogs. Though now that I think about it, they were only ever in the car with him, so I wonder if they ever did actually walk anywhere at all.

He appeared to have a girlfriend. Certainly I did see a very very attractive young woman with him once, but several times I heard them arguing very loudly about something, though I only ever heard her voice and never his. He always seemed the calm rational one, and she was a squealing shrew.

I invented in my head an explanation of the behaviour I observed of him, including a job and lifestyle that sort of made sense. I figured he was a Fashion Photographer, and the girlfriend was pretty because she was a Fashion Model. She certainly looked like one. And he was always away during winter, because his work took him to exotic places where it's summer.

It fit the profile, but it's based on nothing but my own observation. I can't recall if it was winter he was most absent, hey, I don't even know his name. And apart from the girlfriend on only a couple of occasions, and apart from the dogs yapping for about ten minutes a week, he was a completely silent, perfect neighbour. For all I know I was the bothersome one, shouting at the TV, verbally abusing the computer, generally stomping around, acting the idiot up here in my apartment. But I never heard a complaint from him at all.

Then one day he was gone. I didn't notice his absence as anything out of the ordinary, I didn't see him actually make the move, but one day the industrial strength cleaning crew came in and restored his apartment to pristine condition, and a "For Sale" notice was placed out in the street, so he had definitely moved out.

Where did he go? Why didn't I notice? Who the hell was he anyway? I thought maybe he had died, hence the invisibility of his leaving (they chucked out his furniture and effects, he didn't move any of it out himself). But there was never a Police Investigation, or a Family Visit, so probably that isn't what happened at all.

Whatever the case, new people inevitably were going to move in. And, after three months or so of auctions and contract signing, a few weeks ago they did.

They're a young couple, I think they both work full time, and so far I have met only the male half, whose name is Stan. But the circumstances of the meeting bothers me - because I was complaining about the noise they were making.

Now I don't like confronting people, and even though I know I'm rapidly turning into a grumpy old bugger, I don't like to come across as a whinger. But inevitably that is probably going to be my fate, it seems to be a deeply embedded part of my nature.

So what do I do? Do I complain every time they make a noise? Do I bottle it up and hope they'll figure out the error of their ways independently? Do I let it pass and just carry on, because after all it's never after midnight, or keeping me awake? Do I invite them up so they can hear what I hear? Maybe to their ears it's barely worth bothering about, and I'm just being overly sensitive.

I'm just so used to perfect silence from my neighbours. I love silence. I hate deep bass noise. This is at odds with most of the rest of the world, where volume and bass seem to be what everybody else wants in their entertainment.

I'm never going to escape that particular insanity, am I?

Eventually I will move, as we all do, but that's not happening any time soon, as I do not have an income. When I do move I'll be sure to choose to live in such a way as to not have potential neighbour noise to interrupt my evenings.

Until then, I have to suffer through it.

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