In the years we lived in the studio apartment, the residents in the apartment beneath us changed several times. When we moved in upstairs, there was already a quiet man who lived alone and was rarely home. After he left, a woman and her teenage son moved in.
The woman and her son were loud neighbors. They often argued loudly and slammed their door. It’s difficult for me to not absorb intense emotions happening around me, so I would feel extra stressed when we could hear sudden anger only a few feet away through our floor. My instinct is to try to do something to fix it. I’m the person who doesn’t keep her mouth shut as much as she should and is tempted to do things like knock on the door and ask them if they see black & blue or white & gold? Anything to diffuse tension.
A few months into being neighbors, we started hearing a puppy barking downstairs. Dogs weren’t allowed in our apartment complex. Our property manager lived on the premises next door to us and could hear the barking as well. He told us that he let them know they couldn’t keep the dog there and needed to immediately find a new home for it.
The barking went away for awhile, but we started hearing it again. On the hottest day of the year, we could hear that the puppy sounds were particularly hoarse and sad. Then we realized the woman and son hadn’t been home all day, and their air conditioning was turned off. And windows closed. We called the police, and the officer who came to check on things broke into the apartment. He told us the poor puppy was in a cage that was inside a big bag, with no water and a muzzle lying nearby. Animal control responded too, and they said if we hadn’t called, the poor puppy would have died within hours.
The officer and animal control rescued the puppy, posted a notice on the door, and instructed us to not talk to the woman. She would need to go to court and deal with animal abuse charges. Later that night, she arrived home downstairs. After reading the notice on her door, she must have realized we were probably the ones who called 911. It wasn’t long before she came to our door and angrily beat on it until I called the police. Two officers told her to leave us alone, but she started back up again right when they left. After I called the police a second time, she let it go. We didn’t have any more trouble from her after that. They were evicted not much later.
The last resident downstairs before we ourselves moved away was a college student. I noticed her and a guy (I’m guessing her boyfriend) moving furniture in, and I went downstairs to try to be brave and neighborly and say hi. At that particular moment, I guess she was further down the street standing at the moving truck and only the guy was downstairs. We shook hands, I said “welcome”, and then I heard myself say in a serious tone “the neighborhood is nice and quiet…MAYBE TOOOO QUIET.” I immediately felt swallowed up in a cloud of awkwardness and regret. Why did I say that? Guy laughed a very uncomfortable laugh, and I retreated upstairs to text my husband something along the lines of “save me from myself, I wasn’t meant to interact with people.”