the stompers

05 Aug

We got some new neighbors recently.

I’m always excited at the prospect of new neighbors.  To me, neighbors have always held the attractive possibility of Buddyism.  Maybe they will be my new best friends!  Maybe we will bake cookies together and talk about our favorite books.  Maybe we will sit on the back patio after work everyday and sip mojitos and laugh about that crazy time when their cats found their way into our kitchen.

So far, this has not happened with any neighbor that I have ever had.  The closest I’ve come is a tenuous familiarity with the elderly couple we share a wall with.  I asked them if our music was too loud and they gave us a pint of raspberries.  It was a beautiful moment.

When our upstairs neighbor moved out, I felt that familiar rush of hope.  Maybe our new neighbors would love Doctor Who!  Maybe they have seen every episode of My Little Ponies!

Maybe they collect action figures and will trade one of their Raphaels for one of my Michaelangelos.  

When I saw a white BMW parked in their parking space I felt a shiver of excitement.  I walked through my apartment, listening for any sign of them upstairs, every moment expecting to hear someone loudly proclaiming, “GOSH, I SURE DO LOVE NACHOS.  I WONDER IF ANYBODY IN THIS APARTMENT COMPLEX LOVES NACHOS AS MUCH AS I DO.”

At which point I was prepared to climb up their deck and press my face against the sliding glass door and scream, “ME.  I LOVE NACHOS.  HANG OUT WITH MEEEE.”

There was silence for a long time.

And then some thumping.

And then some more thumping.

“I should go up and say hi,” I said to Taylor.  “Introduce myself.  Hold out the olive branch flag or whatever.”

Taylor eyed me over the top of his copy of Game Of Thrones.

“Don’t do that,” he said.  “They’re just moving in.  Give them some time.”

And then there was some more thumping, a large whump, and a sudden explosion of Chinese.

“Huh,” I said.  “I guess they’re Chinese, then.”

“Uh-huh,” Taylor said, turning the page.

Over the next few days I kept trying to catch our new neighbors outside the apartment, but it never worked.  They arrived home well after I did and in the mornings when I left for work, their apartment was silent and dark.  At one point, a U-Haul pulled up and a small phalanx of Chinese boys bustled in an ant-line of boxes and garbage bags.  I approached with a winning smile and tried to greet them.

“Hi, I’m Jessica, I live below you.”

Three of the boys looked at me in confused surprise.  The last squinted and said, “Uhh, I do not live here.”

There has been no further contact.

For the next several nights, the thumping continued, increasing in volume every evening until we were sure they were doing something illegal upstairs.  As soon as the boys arrived home, we’d hear spates of screamed Chinese, followed by a few crashes and the heavy thud of something flumping to the floor.  Occasionally there would be scrapes and bursts of maniacal laughter that lasted well into the night.

Last Thursday, Taylor and I lay in bed at eleven and stared at the ceiling, as the upstairs neighbors wrestled bears and hammered 2×4’s.

“What do you think they’re doing?” I whispered.  Taylor shook his head in the darkness.

“I just don’t know,” he replied gravely.

This was followed, upstairs, by three minutes of howled Chinese, the words, “FUCK YOU!” and then two more minutes of Chinese.

And then giggling and what I presume to be their refrigerator falling over.

So, okay.  Instead of the next-door-besties I have always wanted we have The Stompers. The noise has been a bit annoying, but more tolerable, on the whole, than our previous neighbor’s vicious dog, the one that threatened to eat Taylor every time he went to water our herb garden.

It’s one part obnoxious, three parts deeply confusing.  What can they be doing up there that makes all that noise?  Wrestling?  Woodworking?  Rough sex?  Listening to them every night we dismiss each possibility as crazy or impossible, but as soon as we decide that they’re just very loud walkers the moan of a sick rooster will echo through the complex and we’re forced to wonder if they have started a cock-fighting ring.

The other day we had a near-encounter with The Stompers.  Taylor and I left to go to the county fair and as our rumbled over the speed bumps I looked back to see our neighbors filtering out of the stairwell, rubbing their eyes in the light.  One motioned to the other and they began curiously inspecting the pavement.  One brushed his fingers there and smelled it, as though he were Aragorn testing the soil for the movement of advancing Uruk-Hai.  In unison, the three looked darkly at each other, and then up at Taylor and I as our car turned the corner.

I have no idea what is going on anymore.


Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Uncategorized


7 responses to “the stompers

  1. Katie

    August 5, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I used to live below “Clompy,” a neighbor who strongly believed “why walk when you can stomp?” She also liked to put her sneakers in the dryer, creating a noise only out-loud-ed by teaching elephants how to use pogo sticks.

  2. Cee

    August 5, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Hmm, the last mysterious thumping noises upstairs I knew of turned out to be the residents getting very drunk, then slapping one of those electric ab-exercisers to one of their number, turning it on high, and laughing as they convulsed on the floor (making the thumps). Apparently they took turns so everyone got a chance to watch.

    Is that a possibility?

  3. Anonymous

    August 5, 2011 at 11:49 am

    reminds me of this:
    if you have not read this lady’s blog you should. she is pretty awesome.

  4. wrap me in phyllo dough

    August 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Oh man! It’s “The Burbs” goes Chinese! Whatever you do, don’t let Tom Hanks break into their apartment.

  5. Jen Hulme

    August 5, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    I’m fairly certain that my upstairs neighbors have set up a bowling lane in their kitchen a time or two. Sometimes it sounds like they’re playing basketball. Oh and the guy who lives below likes blasting horrible techno music at 3 am. But after a couple trips downstairs, bleary-eyes and in my robe to politely ask him to turn it down, I now have his phone number and email address and I can harass him digitally when he wakes me up. 🙂 I’ve still yet to meet The Bowlers though.

  6. Tegan

    August 12, 2011 at 11:50 am

    The mysteries of shared walls and ceilings/floors! We were certain that our upstairs neighbor ran around her condo with teeny tiny steps for most of the day. Then we thought there must be a young child doing the running. Maybe an iron-shod mini pony? We still never really figured it out. But she did play some sort of harp-like instrument, too… and was more intriguing and better to wonder about that the neighbor with 2 barking pitbulls, a noisy cat, and a parrot who could perfectly imitate all the other pets plus the oven timer.

  7. GreatCanadianBeagle

    August 25, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Hi! I found your blog through a link on Already Pretty 🙂

    I too have always wanted awesome neighbours. I grew up next to a crazy-man who sued my family over a tree that he swore was eating his basement (all evidence to the contrary). We won the suit, but since then I have always felt I was owed something according to the rules of neighbour karma. So far, I have gotten above-me neighbours whose favourite activity seemed to be power buffing brass statuary, and taking breaks by rolling a chair endlessly back and forth across the floor. The neighbours above us now do nothing but walk around occasionally, which I really can’t fault them for, but I have yet to be invited to a Dr. Who-athon by anyone in my building. There are a couple of apartments in the complex u for rent, so here’s hoping my (and your) luck will change!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: