Thursday, July 09, 2009

He Drives Me Nuts

It's been going on forever. Seems like the minute I get home in the evening, he's playing his music loud enough to be annoying, but not loud enough to disturb anyone else but me, his downstairs neighbor. Day in, day out, five hours of his urban music choices, it gets old in a hurry. Sure, I've talked with the boy's mom. Sure, they've both arrived at my door with an apology. Sure, I've complained to management. Sure, they've said they've sent letters. But here it is, another typical night at Chez Liza and I'm going stark raving mad with the noise.

I know he's thirteen year old left alone while his mom works second shift. She used to work third shift, and so it was quiet on the northern front during the evenings and he slept while she was at work (most of the time). But now, with her on seconds, he's left to himself until after 11 and so the music goes. I know from his mother that he's teetering on the edge of the very wrong crowd. A mostly B student in school, his troubles come from hanging out with the kids that make the wrong choices.

Tonight I couldn't take it any longer. I will be the first to realize that my house is pretty quiet compared to most. With no TV, there's little to run interference with the noise coming from upstairs. But when I have to put on headsets for the THIRD time in a week just to hear a movie on my computer? It's gotten to be too much.

So I traipsed upstairs and knocked on the door. The music was still blaring, and there was no answer. I tried louder and louder approaches until the music was finally turned off, but no answer at the door. I was frustrated. I returned back to my apartment irritated once again.

I left another voicemail for management (after just having spoken with them on Monday about this ongoing, continuing issue).

It remained quiet upstairs for quite awhile. That isn't a surprise. This boy is often immediately repentant and compliant, but boredom overtakes him eventually and he's back to his old ways.

About an hour and a half later, my buzzer rang. Since we moved in two years ago, no one has ever rung the buzzer except UPS and the boy upstairs. He would never come to the door to ask if Flash could play, he'd always ring the security buzzer out in the hall. And here it was again. I knew immediately it was him. And I knew even before I clicked the button that he wouldn't reply to my inquiry as to who it was. But I also knew there'd be a note outside my door. It's his trademark apology.

I didn't go get it right away. I waited until quite late, actually. I know he's back and forth between his apartment and mine waiting to see if I'll read it. At one point he went around his apartment bouncing a ball just to be blatantly annoying - I'm sure trying to get me to come out and see his note.

I've been thinking about it all night. I HATE the noise. I hate the lack of respect. I get that he's only thirteen, but dealing with this is causing me angst. But then I think of him and how he's left on his own from 2 until after 11 every single day. And during the summer there's not even school to keep him busy for any portion of that. He never has friends over, never seems to go anywhere unless he and his mom go together and so it's easy to see how his days would get long and his time would get dull.

His note begs me not to tell his mom and apologized every which way he can think of. Full of spelling and grammatical errors, it's much more a note of an child half his age. But I read it with a heavy heart.

And so I decided to try something different. I don't have a way of getting ahold of his mom, and I rarely see her any more, so I had to resort to a note back, but I'm hoping it works. In my note, I asked his mom if maybe he would like to come play a game with me in the evening. Maybe come outside and play washers, or there's always my favorite - Yahtzee! Just something to do since Flash is gone for the summer and maybe the two of us would enjoy the company.

I don't know if he'll feel comfortable enough to do so, but outside of our noise altercations, he's always remarkably polite to me, so perhaps it would be okay.

I just worry that with continued time on his hands, this boy is going to let trouble find him. In greater ways than just annoying his rather quiet downstairs neighbor. And since I seem to have the time, maybe investing some of it in him wouldn't be such a bad idea.

Let's hope they go for it.


stacy said...

you have such a big heart, amy!

Myra said...

I think you are onto something with Mr. Nuts upstairs. You are an awesomely fun person and he is obviously so bored he might even get you! Take it from me...every annoying kid is screaming inside for someone beyond mom to notice and care....and look where God plopped you! I am waiting to see what happens...what's happening...and Flash? What is that all about? MISS YOU TOO!