My letter slipped under a neighbor's door


I should preface this I’m-sure-unusual note by pointing out (redundantly, now, I suppose) that I am aware of how unusual this note will be. The unusualness stems primarily from the fact that this is neither a complaint nor a request, those being the usual motivations for letters semi-anonymously slipped under a neighbor’s door. It is, instead, a notification.

The purpose of this notification is to inform you (again with the redundant prose!) that, unless I’m mistaken – and if I am, I apologize and suggest you disregard this note, or submit it to the humorous blog of your choosing – there has been some kind of repeated drumming noise coming from your apartment for the past few days. Before your arms are thrown skyward in exasperation at the nosy intrusion of a crotchety neighbor, remember please that this is not a complaint. I’m aware that some noise bleed-through is commonplace in apartment buildings. My interest in the noise is not in its existence, but in its properties.

If I recall correctly, the noise started around Friday and has continued through to today. It is a very specific drum-beating pattern that has repeated almost predictably at a specific rhythm throughout these few days, and seems to occur without concern for time of day (be it noon or 2 AM). Herein lies my interest.

I’m a fairly creative and rational person, and I cannot summon from the depths of my imagination an origin for such a noise that doesn’t cross a line into the absurd. If it were a non-discrete assortment of bass notes I would simply assume you were enjoying some music and continue with my life, but it’s not. It’s the exact same drumming pattern continuing on an endless loop. If you were practicing some type of musical instrument, the noise would be more distinct. Perhaps, I’ve considered, you are stuck on a particularly difficult level of a video game, and what I’m hearing is that level’s background music. If the noise hadn’t been going on for days and days now, I might even go with that, but I don’t think anybody could have that much trouble with a video game.

To my awkward dismay, the only semi-realistic explanation that I can think of for this sound repetition is that you’ve started watching a DVD and died sometime before the end of it, and what I’ve been hearing is the DVD’s menu screen’s background music repeating. Try to imagine the perplexity of a situation where the most logical explanation for some occurrence is that somebody is dead, sitting there undiscovered on his or her living room sofa. It is a strange mental space to be in, idly wondering if my upstairs-neighbor has died while watching a movie, and even more rousingly, wondering which movie was their last earthly experience. From the sound, I might have to guess it’s the 2002 film Drumline. Not the note I would want to leave this planet on, to be honest, but I can think of worse films.

So, if you are indeed alive and reading this (and if you aren’t, I offer my condolences to whichever of your friends or relatives have just found your body and are reading this now), this letter serves as notice that I, your downstairs neighbor, have semi-legitimate concerns about your status as a member of the living because of the repeating noises coming from your apartment, and that this has spurred in me a small existential episode.

Best of health,


You sound like a pretty cool neighbor.

tl,dr; Dear Upstairs Neighbor; I hear a noise coming from your apartment and I can’t figure out what it is! If you’re dead let me know.

I love it! I can’t wait to see what the response is, if any. I hope it’s a similarly worded note slipped under your door.


Drop dead.

Regards 1602

I feel your pain. I once had an upstairs neighbour come home drunk and pass out with “Horse With No Name”, playing on, I’m not sure what kind of player exactly, but it repeated and repeated for over 12hrs. We eventually fell to sleep, only to hear it when we woke the next morning! Ye Gads.

My upstair neighbour was most apologetic, and the incident was never repeated, thank heavens!

Every time we crossed paths, for months, I’d ask, “So, have you named that horse yet?”

Does it go something like this? tap tap tap bang bang bang tap tap tap

It’s some sort of unholy ritual to summon eldritch and malevolent creatures from another world so they can take over our world!

OK, maybe I’ve been reading a bit too much Lovecraft lately.

Of course, maybe there’s no noise at all from 1602.

Maybe 1602 is a perfectly silent place.

Maybe, in reality,

these strange and annoying noises are all

in your head.

[staccato melodramatic chords, then dissolve to flashback sequence showing how the inescapable mental terror first began…]

1502: I admire your writing style. Do you write for a living? And most importantly . . . do you get paid by the word?

The Telltale Heart

Sex related sounds? Hmmmmm…

Only if 1602 is Sting’s house.

Alrighty, on my way out to work this morning I discovered a reply tucked under my door. It was a handwritten letter, a page long.

The letter reveals that:

[li]Upstairs neighbor is a chick[/li][li]Upstairs neighbor wants my junk[/li][li]Upstairs neighbor is not the source of the noise[/li][/ol]

Besides including her name and phone number (and a smiley face), there’s not much usable information, except that she works full time and attends classes, so she’s not home enough to be responsible for the noises. She suggests I call her and we check to make sure it isn’t somehow coming from her place (“Hey, maybe it’s coming from my bed. Lets both get in to find out…”).

Now I’m really stumped, because I was pretty careful in ascertaining the origin of the noise before sending off accusatory correspondence. It almost certainly isn’t coming through the walls from one of my adjacent neighbors, and the sound is pretty much focused in the spot where my TV is (and considering the identicalness of the layouts, where any neighbor’s TV would be).

I guess it could be coming from 1402, but now I’m too tired of the whole thing to initiate contact with more strangers.

On top of all this, I now have to somehow indirectly find out if 1602 is hot.

Well, the obvious answer is you meet up with her to investigate the source of the noise, and if she’s not hot, you remember a previous engagement. It was lovely to meet you see you around!

This saga is made of awesome - you’re aces for sharing it with us. And maybe you’ll get some out of it too. It’s a win/win!

It’s way better than the time we went to see a friend. He was making a playlist just as we were all getting ready to go out, but our getting ready took a lot less time than he anticipated. So we all left. My boyfriend and I came home early to the same techno song looping over and over and over and over - apparently our friend had only added the one song to the playlist. Now when I hear that song, I twitch.

(Apparently we were all too stupid, too drunk, or both to stop the playlist, but whaddya do?)

I can guarantee you she is not.

That does, unfortunately, seem likely.

I think you’re being too absolutist. You should merely endeavor to find out if 1602 is hot enough.

Hot or not, if she had the courage to reply, she at least deserves a date.

Yep, if neighbor actually is female, and has been from birth you are a winner.