Friday morning, 6:00 am, I hear the sound of squeaking bedsprings, "Ee-uh, ee-uh, ee-uh." And then it got a little faster. A little slower. A little faster. I turned on the radio. Loud. Where were these sounds coming from? Upstairs. My nice/clueless upstairs neighbor's (not to be confused with horrible upstairs neighbor (hun)) bedroom is directly above mine. I'm not sure if her boyfriend is living with her, but he's around a lot. Apparently, they have sex. Good for them--at least someone is having sex. But, good God, I don't want to know exactly when or for how long. What is truly strange, though, is that besides the very, very squeaky bed I hear not one other sound. Not a giggle, not a moan, not a shout. Are they whispering? Are they completely silent? Is that on my account or just their way? Curious.
I composed an email to nice upstairs neighbor asking her to put a rug down on her bedroom floor. I sent a copy to Princess for feedback to make sure I phrased it in the calmest, least offensive way. Here is my first draft:
Hi Nice upstairs neighbor,Any comments? Is it nice enough? Do you think she will know I can hear the tell-tale bed squeaks that indicate sexual activity?
I need to ask you a favor.
In general, I am not at all disturbed by the normal sounds of footsteps, television and occasional laughter that I hear when you are home. However, because you seem to be keeping later hours these days, I have been woken up a few times by these normal sounds. You probably know that this is a common problem in older buildings with hardwood floors.
I am not asking you to change your habits, but I think it would help a lot if you could put down a rug in your bedroom (if you don't already have one). The rug (the thicker the better) would need to cover the whole floor, including under the bed, in order to dampen the sounds. I wouldn't have said anything, but it's starting to affect my sleep. Also, if the noises I make are bothering you, please let me know. I can put down more rugs as well.
You are a very good and considerate neighbor. Please don't feel bad about this. I hate to make a fuss, but I hope we can work something out.
It makes me think of all the loud sex stories I've heard over the years. When I was 20, living with Audrey in a tiny, disgusting off-campus apartment, my room did not have a proper door. Just one of those plastic screen things that could be closed for privacy. And I had a boyfriend, and we were, you know, having sex. And Audrey said something to me about it and it was very embarrassing. Mostly because, well, it wasn't him making all that noise. Ahem.
Later that same year, after I moved out of that hell-hole, I rented a nice little studio on 43rd Street, right between University and Brooklyn (if you are from Seattle, it was that older building with the stone faces, across the street from the Hagen Daas). It had been converted from a residential hotel and there was a mysterious door in my apartment, just to the right of the front door. My boyfriend (the same guy) and I decided to open the door. When we opened the door we found another door and a piece of letterhead paper with some hash marks. The second door was locked, but the next-door-neighbors must have heard us fiddling around and she opened the door from her side. She invited us in and gave us a little tour. We could see how the units used to be adjoining rooms when the building was still a hotel. Then we asked her about the piece of paper. She said, "You know the story about the woman who used to live in your place, right?"
I said, "Her boyfriend was living here, isn't that why she got kicked out? The manager said the place was too small for two people."
The neighbor said, "That might have been part of it, but the real reason was that she was scaring people. They had very loud sex several times a day--but not just normal loud sex. She was screaming. And you know there are a lot of old people in this building and they were scared. They thought something was wrong and they were always calling the manager."
"No. So, we started to keep track. You could kind of tell how things were going with them by how loud she was. The would have sex in the morning. He would come home in the afternoon and they would have sex again, and then, again, in the evening or later at night. When things started to go bad, she wasn't as loud. We just started keeping track on that paper and then they moved."
As she told the story, a feeling of dread crept over me--could they hear me? I said, "I hope I'm not too loud--I mean, my tv is right on the same wall with your bedroom..."
She said, "Oh no, I only ever hear you laugh. I don't even hear the tv. Don't worry about it."
Ah, the good old days when I actually had to worry about such things.
An update--this is the message I finally sent to nice upstairs neighbor:
I need to ask you a favor.And, because it wasn't funny, I didn't mention in the post that she is keeping very late hours these days, walking around, watching tv, and generally making noise way past midnight. If it were just the squeaking bed, I don't think I would have said anything. Well, at least not until the third time....
I have been woken up a few times by (normal) sounds coming from your apartment. You probably know that this is a common problem in older buildings with hardwood floors. Please don't feel that you need to change your habits, but I think it would help a lot if you could put down a rug that covers the entire bedroom floor (if you don't already have one).
I'm sure you are unaware of this situation, but it's starting to affect my sleep, so I needed to let you know.