A Microaggressive Letter to My Upstairs Neighbor in San Francisco

Not sure if the sentient being above me in SF is a bipedal ape… or an Asiatic pachyderm.

Hey, asshole.

(Come to think of it, I don’t actually know your name. When you moved in and started operating what sounded like a bowling alley upstairs at all hours of the night, my diurnal, kinder formalities surrendered to episodes of late-night frustration. I never asked for your name during that first, brief, severe interaction. So yea: asshole it is.)

It’s me. Your downstairs neighbor.

I know your unit — its size, its dimensions, its prior date of occupancy — because I toured it two years ago before moving into the one below it. At one point, I was considering signing a lease for that very space but couldn’t justify paying the $250 more a month for what was basically better Golden Hour lighting. The cabinets, like the wooden floors, had decades of patina. The bathroom fixture in your unit wobbles when you shut the medicine cabinet too firmly. That refrigerator has a brownish-yellow stain in the back; your apartment, for some reason, has a gas-powered range — a luxury, in and of itself — above a microwave model plucked right from the early 1980s.

And yet, I still can’t come to understand how you’ve managed to create so much audible, vibrational chaos every day within your 244-square-foot residence.

The first time I heard a REM cycle-breaking sound — which carried with it the weight of a whole-ass human body — from above my kitchen cabinets, I was genuinely worried. I thought you had fallen off… something. Or a piece of the ceiling had given way to entropy, crumbling onto the floor in a smattering of decades-old drywall and plaster.

I came up in my running shorts. I knocked on your door; you were eating a bag of Flamin’ Hot Funyuns, gnawing the fried allium rings with your maw fully ajar as you explained to me that “nothing’s wrong” in unaffected tones.

I was tired; it was nearly the Witching Hour, after all. I rolled my eyes (because it was kinder than anything waiting to grumble up from my larynx). I went back downstairs and immediately purchased a $375 pair of noise-canceling headphones in anticipation of the next series of anvil-weighted bangs to come.

I think you recently went out of town or something; that first week of February was blessedly calm. I had forgotten that the light fixture mounted on my ceiling doesn’t have to necessarily echo a metallic rattle come 1 a.m. every night. My cochleas hadn’t been that relaxed since you moved in.

But then you returned. As did your pachyderm-like pacing; the sound of your dropped warehouse boxes; your ambivalence toward appreciative mannerisms that come with living inside a building completed in 1913 — a residential structure set inside the second-densest city in the country.

“What the fuck was that?” exclaimed a boy I was hosting inside my diminutive home beneath yours after hearing another one of your late-night antics. The glow from my TV — Nancy Silverton’s episode of Chef’s Table was playing — caressed his naked, bronzed pecks and strong, Brazilian jawline. My dick was still inside of him. But after the second dense sound caused him to physically recoil, I pulled out.

And donned underwear. Before writing an inspired note on a nearby Post-it note. Which I then left on your door.

“You’re literally being a boner killer, right now,” I scribbled in black ink. “At least try not to drop stuff from body height or walk around with your boots past 11 p.m., that’s all I ask.”

When I returned, I waxed charismatic for a little longer, before we both found humor in the whole situation and shared a few chuckles. We finished pleasuring ourselves in a popper haze, sans the surprise of dynamite going off upstairs.

I was half-hoping to see what note you would leave in response to mine… given its expressive quirk.

You never left a note after I adhered that pink missive to your door. Nor did you respond to the following blue note. You refused to come to the door at 3:13 a.m. last Tuesday when my ceiling drummed from playing bass notes.

In a moment of pettiness, I contemplated fastening a Bluetooth speaker to my ceiling. When you would inevitably send another thud or thump or reverberation through the floor, I thought about playing said mounted speaker at full blast in nominal retribution.

All I want is for you to respect both my sanity and gravity’s pull on this space rock. For God’s sake: Just put down a piled rug. Never once in my three decades on this planet have I thought about drilling through the ceiling to install a peephole — I want to know what exactly is going on up there.

I know you won’t read this, even though you have my full government name and cell phone number, which still contains my Dallas, Texas area code. If you do, somehow, stumble across this 864-word Medium post…. stop the floor circus.

I beg of you. But if you don’t, I’ll continue decorating your door with all the colors of the rainbow. Unless, you know, you actually chose to answer it next time.


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