I live in old Midtown apartment complex, and I hate my neighbors. Since the walls are dirt-thin, I hear everything that goes on next door. They play loud music, and they have a ton of company coming in at all hours of the night. To top it off, I think their nasty funk has led to a roach infestation. (They're coming into my place now and theyre huge!).
I'm not a very direct person, so I have a hard time complaining face-to-face. I feel like the grumpy old next-door neighbor. Am I right to be upset about this? And how should I deal with it?
--Grumpy Old Man
You can handle this problem in two ways: work up the courage to tell them how you really feel or go behind their backs and complain to your landlord.
Having been on the other side of this situation (yes, in my college days, I lived in a party house and I'm certain my neighbors hated me), I'd say the best way to deal with the problem is talking directly to your neighbors about your concerns. If they're anything like I was (young and slightly self-centered), they might not even realize their hard-partying lifestyle is affecting other people in the building.
If a neighbor had ever approached me about noise or traffic, I think I would have tried to tone things down a bit. But unfortunately for me, they went above my head and complained to the powers-that-be. When it came time to renew my lease, the management company said no way.
I'll admit that it was a wake-up call. I eventually learned to respect my neighbors, but I would have appreciated hearing from them directly. Before you run to a higher authority, kindly ask your neighbors to please keep the music down and the late-night comings and goings to a minimum. Then if the problems persist, you can have a clear conscience about tattling to your landlord.
As for the roaches, honey, you live in Midtown. Those suckers -- especially the creepy monster-sized ones -- are a part of life. Giant roaches are as much a part of Midtown as the Hi-Tone or Overton Park. Learn to live with them.
Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at firstname.lastname@example.org.