How to Drive Your Neighbors Insane

Fun in Paris: 10.04.2010Why? Because every once in a while, you have to teach your neighbors a good, juicy, painful lesson that they will never forget. If you teach them this lesson effectively enough, they should be forced to remember it just to relate it to a psychotherapist from time to time.

My neighbors are Czech, which means a lot of things. Among those things are that Czechs don’t really like talking to their neighbors. A neighbor has never stopped by for milk, asked how I’m doing, or shot the shit in the hallway.

Well, there is this one old guy, but – if my Czech is correct – he wants to take pictures of me in a Speedo, so…

Anyway, and ergo, this also means that they don’t tell you if they have a problem with you. So if you – hypothetically – play music late one night (read: 11:30 YouTube videos on a Saturday) they won’t come right out and ask you to keep it down next time, they’ll write a note, and then they’ll stick that note on the front window of the building so that everyone can see it.

In any event, I decided to fight passive aggressive fire with passive aggressive fire. And I figured while I was getting back at one neighbor, I might get back at the other one whose bathroom shares a wall with my bedroom and who bathes every night at midnight, thus sending me on a bleary quest to pee that always results in a wet bathroom floor and a stubbed toe.

1. Know Thy Sweet Spot

When attempting to drive your neighbors insane, it is very important to know the sweet spots of your flat. That is, where in your flat they can hear you or see you? Evidently, my office is a major sweet spot, as the neighbors (the complaining letter writers) can hear the furious blaze of my booming computer at half volume.

Over the years it’s become evident that my shower is some portal of clear audibility to the other neighbors’ living room (the midnight bathers). I learned this due to overhearing a giggle in reaction to some…chatting I was doing in the bathtub that is frankly none of your business.

I use these sweet spots by emitting a long series of cackles and maniacal laughs in the shower and standing in my office. I do this while eating, towelling myself off in the morning, and making coffee. I do it on commercial breaks. I just step into the shower with my soup and scream like a drunken Banshee in between spoonfuls.

As an added bonus, if you have a cat that emits an unearthly wail after being picked up and for the duration of being held, you may utilize this when your throat gets a little tender.

2. Repeat

Every year I call my friend Dan and I record the entirety of The Fall Guy theme on his voicemail. I do this with the full knowledge that for the proceeding 48 hours he will sing this song in his head.

In the world of addictive TV theme songs, The Fall Guy stands behind The Greatest American Hero, Barney Miller (if you can do mouth bass), or Magnum P.I (if you’re a hummer). In any case, four times a day I stand in the shower and office and play The Fall Guy theme. Over. And. Over. And. Over. Again. For sixteen minutes.

I patiently await the day I will walk onto the sidewalk and hear one of the neighbors mumbling to himself in a tortured sing-song voice, “Well I’m not the kind to kiss and tell, but I’ve been seen with Farah…” through his sallow and trembling lips.

In the meantime, think I’ll call Dan…

3. Speak Gibberish

Seeing the offending neighbor on the sidewalk outside your flat is an opportunity that cannot be passed up. It’s one of the only places you can utilize visual and personal contact to drive your neighbor insane. The interaction goes as follows:

Me: “Dobrý den.” Good day. I start the conversation, because a Czech wouldn’t start a street conversation if you sprouted wings, especially if they are pissed about you playing Les Misérables (25th anniversary concert featuring twenty Jean Valjeans) late at night.

Neighbor: “Dobrý den.” Elusive eyes tell me that he is uncomfortable. Perfect.

Me: “Hezké počasí, no?” Nice weather, huh?

Neighbor: “Jo, jo.” Yes, yes.

Me: “Xophe jou endgoj thxe pfall yuj tlheme, asssxole.” Hope you enjoy the Fall Guy theme, asshole (in phonetic Klingon). As long as I say this with a smile, he has no idea what I’m saying.

Neighbor: “Co že?” Uh…what?

Minutes of fun. This can be done no matter the first language of you and your neighbor.

4. Porch

Again, in the interests of utilizing your visibility when possible, a porch is a great asset. I choose to spend my porch time enjoying life with binoculars and no pants.

Then I groom my cat out there – and if you think she wails when being held, imagine how she sounds when I’m ripping her fur out. When I have the neighbors’ attention – all the neighbors since my porch allows me to torture both offending parties at the same time – I start looking for something in the air that does not exist in an excited manner.

5. Fuck

The verb.

Do it. Do it loudly. Do it with various people at the same time. Do it wearing a firecracker tiara. Do it while you both (or all) pretend to be in a Bollywood film. Do it in Gilbert Gottfried’s voice while role-playing that Gilbert Gottfried picked up Gilbert Gottfried at a bar. Do it in the shower. Do it in your office. Do it while playing The Fall Guy theme on repeat.

Just do it.

Any other ideas on how to drive your neighbors insane?  

  1. #1 by Kelly on September 27, 2013 - 12:53 am

    You know, before I even read the whole of this article, I had only seen the title in my inbox and I thought “I gotta read this one ASAP” because WHILE I was reading only the title, my upstairs neighbors were, true to form, barreling through my ceiling. It’s quiet now, but this morning into early afternoon was a doozy.

    This was one of my favorite posts so far. I laughed out loud on a number of occasions if only through my tears at my ability to relate to spending Saturday nights in, watching YouTube videos with my screaming banshee of a cat while the boys upstairs reenact what I can only assume took place in the movie Se7en right before Brad and Morgan came down the stairs and found that guy with the sword strapped to his crotch.

    At any rate, I am honored to have been thought of whilst you were crafting your latest post. However I feel I must inform you; I take this not as an amusing diversion from my regularly scheduled workday, but rather as a manifesto meant to guide me in my most favorite endeavor. Revenge.

    I think I’ll try “porch” first as my cat is due for a good grooming. In my case it will be “fire escape” however.

  2. #2 by Kelly on September 27, 2013 - 1:04 am

    P.S. My cat screams at me so much, he legitimately gets laryngitis.

    • #3 by Damien Galeone on September 28, 2013 - 9:48 am

      Ha – sounds like we should get our kitties together for a play date. Also, when on porch, it’s best to wear things you haven’t worn in public since a bad Halloween party in college.

  3. #4 by Amy on September 29, 2013 - 2:57 am

    Strangely, I’m a little sad you’re not my neighbor.

    • #5 by Damien Galeone on September 29, 2013 - 2:33 pm

      Yes, but if you were my neighbor we’d spend our afternoons drinking and talking about books and writing. Whole different bag of potatoes.

  4. #6 by Andy on October 1, 2013 - 6:00 pm

    Well, I can see our neighbors have continued to be complete and utter assholes in my absence. Seriously, who the hell uses a jackhammer at 6:30 on a Saturday morning??? *shudder*

    • #7 by Damien Galeone on October 3, 2013 - 1:47 pm

      Oh man, I know you understand, old friend. But worry not, they will be endlessly singing the Fall Guy theme and they won’t know
      1. What it is.
      2. Why they are singing it, and
      3. How to make it stop.

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