Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sounds of Silence

Either they are itching violently, having an epileptic seizure, tearing up the flooring, or having sex. I'm trying to decide which one exactly it is. Upstairs neighbors drive me buggy but it comes with living below people. Actually since I live on the first floor and since my door is made of metal I hear everyone coming and going in this building regardless of when they are coming and when they are going. I hear everything in the halls, and I figure there are times I've been overheard. But at least I make every effort to be courteous. I never sew after 10 p.m. I unplug my computer from the stereo speakers and subwoofer at 11 p.m. And I own a bed, a novelty in Korea but true.

I suspect the reason that I can hear whatever it is that is going on upstairs is because the upstairs neighbors do not own a bed. So whatever they are doing they are on the floor. It sounds for all the world like jumping up and down in place or scratching. I'm not sure why they would be doing either of these things at ten after one in the morning. I do know that it is keeping me awake. That is starting to upset me. I've had hard core insomnia for three days and I want to sleep. Granted if they are getting laid I have no good reason to stop them by slamming a broom into the ceiling like some curmudgeonly old lady telling those kids to knock it off. Obviously they are knocking something off which is why I'm having trouble sleeping. See if they had a bed they'd be all properly elevated above floor level and I'd be taking a trip with Hypnos down the halls of dreamery. No, no, not me, we have instead floor pounding.

My upstairs neighbors and I have had a fairly reasonable standoff for the last year, since they moved in. I make sure I keep myself reasonable quiet after 11pm. This is easy to do since I'm a teacher and being awake after 11pm is not always easy. Unless it's the weekend and I come stumbling in at 4 am. And even then I try to be courteous and considerate of the fact that they might be sleeping. However I have had the neighbors on different occasions try to stumble into my place drunk on a Tuesday, play loud music at ten, or leave the porch light on which comes flooding into my place at all hours. I'm very photosensitive and the bright lights will keep me up if I'm not careful. And having anyone rattle my door after midnight will put me off for months. I mostly ignore it.

They ignore me playing the Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Interpol, Tori, DCD, and NIN loudly when I'm writing. They ignore the clickety clack pounding of my sewing machine when I'm making clothes. I ignore the guitar and piano lessons they are taking. Actually I feel like sometime I should wander up and tell them the lessons are actually paying off. As an ex-music teacher I can't help noticing that with practice they have improved. Instead I play the flute in my place at odd hours and they don't complain. I live in an apartment where everything floats through the doors and walls. We all get along and try to make the best efforts to be polite. But really, the loud banging on my ceiling at what is now a quarter past one is really starting to get on my nerves.

I was so hopeful it was sex. Sex I could forgive. However they started walking around about five minutes ago. Walking away, walking back over my head, walking away, walking back over my head. What, are they working out? No, apparently they were looking for the hammer. Bang, bang, bang, bang. I'd bang back but I fear they might think I'm trying to join the band. Fuck. Sex I could have forgiven but construction at twenty after midnight is a little unacceptable.

I even have a dog. I trained and worked with the dog very hard to make sure he doesn't bark. And he doesn't. Sure, the dog talks all the time, he grunts and grumbles, and is generally very willing to communicate about everything but he doesn't bark. Alright, well that is not entirely true, he barks in his sleep occasionally. But not loudly, not enough that anyone but someone who lives with the dog would notice. He also snores which, again, doesn't really affect anyone outside of the basic bed zone of my apartment. I work very hard not to keep anyone up if I'm having a bout of insomnia. I certainly don't perform construction.

Wait, wait, I think, yes, finally. Silence there is nothing but silence from upsta-

Dammit, they have started into their Richard Simmons routine again. Back and forth and back and forth. Come on people just go to sleep so I can go to sleep. Stop your infuriating pounding so I can stop the pounding in my head with a few well placed stolen moments of shut eye. I'm so tired of my insomnia.



We have five minutes of silence. I'm going to take that as a good sign and put down my 16 centimeter broom. It is rather ineffective for pounding on ceilings anyway. And now, off to my own shuteye. No ambulances. At least it wasn't the seizure. And now I'm a little disappointed that it wasn't sex at least that would have provided some entertaining listening at this hour.



total-spender said...

"Either they are itching violently, having an epileptic seizure, tearing up the flooring, or having sex.

That effectively rules me out as being your noisy neighbor.

I'm sure NB would have something to say about this (the noise, not my sex life).


i have had severe insomnia for the last year. the woman upstairs is a medical student who vacumms and bangs furnachure invariably at 5:30 monday trhu fridaY and 7 OR 8 on satureAy and sunday, nothing can be done to stop it. i have tried.i have banged on her door at 3 or 4 am, and i just get her bf being all puffy on me.
now, the new bitch next door does the same. fucking korea.



p.s.-do you have a webcam?

total-spender said...


Perhaps you should try banging her, and not the door.

It might make things more quiet (or make the noise *worse*, depending on your performance).

Saradevil said...


I don't know what to tell you about your neighbors other then "You live in Seoul. Everything is awful in Seoul." I firmly believe this.

As to the webcam yes, I do, but I only use it to adjust my makeup. I'll add that I never wear makeup.


Soon you will be in Cambodia being someone else's noisy neighbor.

John C said...

ironically we haven't had anyone move into the apartment below us. I discovered months ago when their ceiling leaked; due to a bad gasket on our washer; that my 90 pound daughter merely walking could give her exact location to the lower occupants.

My one neighbor's got it rougher. She can hear the people below her urinating...during the daytime.

Bohemian in Korea said...

Hmmm, as I'm tone deef and The Bohemian always snores off key I don't have nearly the same problems. I sleep anywhere between 3 hours a night and 16.

Regardless, I enjoy your posts and hope, blurred eyed or otherwise that you keep them up.

Saradevil said...


I lived in a building once where you could hear everything happening in my room in the basement through the pipes. The stories people told about me...and only like a quarter weren't true.


Thanks for stopping by. Snoring would be a blessing perhaps, but I've never manged to pull it off.

And for the link, a link to you.