The lady in 3J

On the day I picked up my keys to move in to my current apartment, the landlord looked at me and said, “Oh, and the woman downstairs has a habit of knocking on the ceiling with a broom handle if you make noise.” He then proceeded to inform me that the last three people who lived in my unit moved out because of this.

When I posted this on Facebook, one of my friends who knows me very well summed it up perfectly:

“Shit.”

As those of you who know me are aware, I am not the most light-footed walker, nor am I capable of maintaining an “inside voice” on a regular basis. I did not see this ending well.

I moved in and was on high alert, listening for the thumping to begin. As it turns out, however, the pounding has been quite tame and not at all consistent. At times, it has felt like kind of a reverse Tell-Tale Heart, where I am struggling to figure out whether this really IS what I am hearing. It took me a few months to realize that one of the thumping sounds I was hearing was actually the elevator (the elevator itself is a whole ‘nother blog post).

But over time, I have indeed noticed a pattern. A friend came over, and we were talking, and there were a few thumps (me: “Did you hear that too?”). I drop an empty can of seltzer or the remote, or break a plate in the kitchen, and there it is again. Thump, thump, thump. Sometimes just one or two for emphasis, sometimes in a cluster of three, occasionally a half dozen staccato taps in a row. She has even done it when I have let the end of my charger cord drop to the floor…I am bewildered as to how she can hear something that light falling to the ground, but such is the life of a thumping broom lady, I suppose.

I am very careful to walk gingerly around my apartment. I don’t talk on the phone, so that isn’t a concern. As far as dropping things? I’m a klutz. That’s not going to change anytime soon. But the thumping is limited, and not unbearable.

(I will say that, because I might have a TEENY TINY problem with authority, it has crossed my mind more than once that I ought to get some tap shoes and give her a show every time she thumps on the ceiling. I don’t dare, of course, but the temptation is always there.)
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