Tuesday, June 29, 2010
101 Thompson St was a revolving door of craigslist residents. When I first moved in in the end of August 2005, I lived with Jenny and Jake. Jenny was a couple of years older than I and Jake a couple of years younger. They were both typical NYC white collar professionals, working in finance and PR, and both pretty easy to live with. The girl whose room I moved into was a Michigan transplant who hated Manhattan and moved back home just six months after arriving. The girl she replaced was a Turkish national who, after declaring bankruptcy (which was evident from the vast amount of correspondence we received for her from creditors and collectors), fled back to Turkey.
A month after I moved in, at the end of their year-long lease, Jenny moved out. In moved Paul, who, like me, found the place off of craigslist. Paul also worked in finance and seemed nice enough. We all socialized on the couch while watching TV and occasionally grabbed a beer together. The thing was, he was the loudest walker I have EVER encountered. He practically stomped around the apartment. To be at his job on Wall Street, he got up a lot earlier than Jake or I did and would routinely wake me up just by walking to and from the bathroom.
Initially, I couldn't figure out how a skinny white guy from Long Island could make such a colossal amount of noise. So, I started studying how he walked through the living room. After some careful observations I discovered the problem -- he walked like a tyrannosaurus rex. Even though he was a small guy, he walked slightly tilted forward, putting all of his not-so-significant weight on the balls of his feet, producing a loud, stomping effect on our hardwood floors.
As much as I wanted to say something to Paul about the stomping, I couldn't figure out a way to say "Please walk more softly" without sounding completely crazy. One night, when only Paul and I were home, someone knocked on the door. It was our cranky downstairs neighbor, AnneMarie. See, 101 Thompson was a coop building, even though we were renters, and most of our neighbors were older, cranky, and complete with a sense of entitlement. I once got berated by the super because someone else left a futon downstairs and of course, only the renters could have done something so untoward as to leave furniture in the entryway. Anyway, AnneMarie was pretty typical of our neighbors and had no problem complaining to us about our many transgressions.
On this night, she came upstairs to tell us to buy carpets. Apparently, Paul's stomping was waking her up too. She stood in our doorway and, with a straight face, proceeded to tell us that for the past month or so, someone had been walking very loudly around 6:00 am everyday and she kept getting woken up. We needed to buy carpets because she needed her beauty sleep. Paul and I both apologized and said that we would take her suggestion under advisement, but couldn't guarantee that we'd buy carpets as we weren't bothered by the noise. We also offered the very helpful comment that sometimes living in an apartment building was hard.
You might be thinking, "But Margaret, this was the perfect opportunity for you to say something about the stomping! Cranky AnneMarie opened the door for you!" The thing was, as soon as the words came out of her mouth, they sounded absolutely absurd. Any concession that she might be on the right track would instantly make me look as unstable as she did. The worst thing about it was that Paul suggested he not put his shoes on until right before he left the apartment, thinking (mistakenly) that his dress shoes made the noise. Unfortunately, having shoes on actually made Paul's posture better and therefore lessened the sound of his lumbering. My only consolation, while being woken up daily at 6 am by the stomping for the next few months, was that cranky AnneMarie who insisted we buy carpets, was being woken up too.