The bigot across the hall
The racist neighbor in my building, and the landlord who appeased him
This post was originally written on Medium on December 13, 2019.
I should’ve never stomped on the floor. I wish I’d have never stomped on the floor. But I just couldn’t take it anymore.
In the dead of night, my Second-Floor Neighbor always blasted his television, stomped all over his hardwood floors and talked on the phone at the loudest possible volume. He only seemed to want guests over after midnight. While I was a night owl like him, I was a respectful night owl.
My landlord’s friend (a white guy in his 70s or 80s, who was hard of hearing) on the first floor had already complained about him. My First-Floor Neighbor was then met with a vicious combination of curse words and demands that he never come to the second floor to complain about the noise again. The older gentleman then complained to my landlord — an older, Thai woman — and a long-time friend of his.
I thought I’d imagined what he said, but then he said it a second time: “nigger bitch.”
I kept my complaints to myself initially. I’d already left one apartment I’d lived in for eight years because I was fed up with a girl running on her treadmill at 9 a.m. and arguing with her husband at 4 a.m. I did not want to lose this condo rental, too, especially for the rate I was paying. But when my landlord first asked me was Second-Floor Neighbor loud, I admitted he was. She told me to “always let me know if you have a problem in the building.” I explained to her that after eight years of living at my last apartment, and bickering with a loud neighbor, I had no desire to have Round 2. My landlord assured me that she always treated the people in her building “like family.”
Second-Floor Neighbor (white male in his 40s) continued to walk like an elephant — without the help of a treadmill. And one night, I had had enough. Although this felt like deja vu from my last place, I stomped on the floor. Our walls and floors were already thin, but the commotion downstairs in his unit was just unbearable. And then I heard the flood of insults from his place, one of which hit me like ice pouring through my veins. I thought I’d imagined what he said, but then he said it a second time: “nigger bitch.”