Doing the Right Thing is Tough Sometimes


This is relating real-life events and frustrations. Names have been omitted or changed in order to protect the people around me, whether they like me to talk about these things or not.

So… my husband and I live on the second floor of an apartment complex. This is not unusual for a young couple of medium to uncertain means to do. Actually, not unusual for a heck of a lot of people to do. We happen to live above an older couple who have frequent, somewhat heavily auditory disputes.

Aka, they fight a lot. And boy do they fight loud! The gentleman’s voice resonates well and with their walls being mostly concrete-cored it funnels right up into my apartment. My husband and I have said nothing since these people have moved in, deciding that they will deal with it and we won’t intervene or “butt in” to their lives. We didn’t feel like we should dictate how our neighbors live even if they annoy us. We annoy them too (apparently our cats are on crack and they hear us jumping around all the time).

This yelling has recently increased and we have even been woken up at 2, 3, 5, and 6:30am on various nights to the sound of their disputes. Again, we decided to be adults about the whole thing and realize that living near and around people in the apartment setting means you will hear things you don’t want to and have to just put up with it. Fact of life.

This previous Friday we heard the gentleman yelling, a loud crash and the woman crying and saying it wasn’t her fault. From above, it sounded like abuse (or at least dangerous) so we decided that before it potentially escalates into a dangerous situation, we were gonna call the cops and let them know what we heard and explicitly stated we did not KNOW if there was physical abuse or violence going on, but the argument has been escalating and we heard a sound that might be construed as violence.

This is what I heard, so I am categorizing it as hearsay until proven otherwise: According to a neighbor that was outside when the cops showed up (let’s call her neighbor A), the cops listened outside the door for a bit and when the gentleman yelled really loudly again the cops knocked. After that is not our business.

I called my mother after we called the cops and asked if I did the wrong thing, afraid that I had caused potential undue strife in their relationship by caring if it sounded like she was being beaten. (We had already had that once in this complex and I didn’t like having to be the person on hand then. I don’t want to repeat that experience.)

Afterward, the woman came upstairs and apologized for the noise and explained (I will call this the “truth” unless proven otherwise) that they were upset with another person and that the gentleman was on the phone with that guy and the crash was unrelated. The rest is not really your business nor mine, but that was the gist. We explained that we, at least, called because we were concerned for her health and well being and that, with the other things we had heard, we wanted to prevent something dangerous. She was okay with that the night of and apologized again and left.

The Sunday, according to neighbor A and another, we will call neighbor B, the woman was kicked out at noon. The next day she returned. Again, none of our business.

Well, The woman tells neighbor A all sorts of things that were not flattering to my husband or myself… Neighbor A told me this and I was very confused and decided to treat it as a rumor until I heard directly from the woman. It is the best idea, in my perception, to do that or else we have big problems on hand.

Well, I was chilling out with neighbor B outside and noticed the woman coming back from the laundry room today. It had been hailing when we were standing out from under the walkway (this was the bottom floor) and I asked the woman if it had stopped hailing. She looked at me, seemed to debate with herself, then yelled loudly and very angrily at me. I told her I was sorry that she felt that way and tried to tell her that we were only one of three calls to the cops that night. Before I could explain or say anything more, she went in her apartment and slammed the door.

I guess she ranted to neighbor B about how horrible I was and neighbor B told her that no, I was just concerned for her health. I was concerned for her well-being. That I cared. She continued that they shouldn’t be calling names like they were and shouting all the time and it wasn’t right to yell at me like that when I was just trying to help. That we won’t call the cops again just because they yell or cry, and that it was an isolated case of we thought she was being hurt. Neighbor B really stood up for me, which was nice because I was really shaken up from being yelled at when all I asked about, honest to the powers that be, was the weather. It was a light-hearted conversation. Since then, the woman has avoided me and ignored me.

My plan? Wait a few days till their tempers have hopefully chilled down a bit, then try to calmly sit them down and tell them that we aren’t gonna call the cops for yelling, and that we hadn’t in the past when they fought (and woke us up, to boot!) and that we know that hearing them is part of living in an apartment. If they slam the door we will say what we intend to through the door and let them deal with it and leave it be. We will treat them just as nicely as we had before, lend them milk and bread and such, help them with medicine and hope that they do well.

If they choose to hate us, okay. We really don’t have to be good friends with all our neighbors. And not all our neighbors have to like us. I would rather we got along, but if we don’t, there are other neighbors and I have amazing friends who more than make up for grumpy neighbors. I just don’t want to have destructive rumors going around that I call the cops for no reason, or that I am nice and then stab you in the back. Not good for people to think about you.

Oh well. Life will be as it is and hopefully this can be peacefully resolved. If not… well, I won’t be here for too long anyway since any future job can move me to even a different city. Or at least an apartment without a leaky ceiling above the shower.


I am hoping I have been mature through all this (probably with the exception of ranting and spreading it here. I have tried to make it as little-detailed as possible)… but seriously I wonder what you, dear reader, would have done. Especially since you took the time to read this 22-year-old’s ranting and venting. My mother said she would have called the cops as well, hoping that it is safer for them to arrive to a non-violent situation than letting a violent one claim a life, a limb, or a spirit. I call my mother a wise woman, so I am comforted that she thinks I am making a good decision.

But really… what would you do?


About N B

Artist, critic, friend, and rambly-ponderer.
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4 Responses to Doing the Right Thing is Tough Sometimes

  1. Anonymous says:

    Always better safe than sorry, so good on you for calling. The last thing you want is for it to become a violent situation and then have the cops wondering why no one noticed anything before and tried to inform them. If she insists on continuing to be horrible you could always dump used cat litter on their doorstep. But, maybe I’m just petty…:)

    • N B says:

      I don’t think I will be dumping cat litter on their doorstep. I kind of have a feeling they would know it was me.

      Thanks for reading and understanding!

  2. You 100% did the right thing. Yelling and screaming is one thing…crashes and crying quite another.

    • N B says:

      Thank you! I honestly didn’t know what was happening but decided to be safe. Even if they were unrelated.

      Thank you for reading and your lovely comment!

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