New York City people interact with other humans like no other species of American human. Our apartment has wooden floors. It's old. Like most tenants, I refuse to carpet the floors. And our sound-sensitive downstairs neighbors have an inability to differentiate sound from noise.
One day at 7 p.m.:
[I peer through the peephole. A man who I have never seen before is standing on the other side. I open.]
Man: Are you putting furniture together or something?
Me: Yes. My son's bed. And the super is here assembling it for me.
Man: Can you do it another time? Our baby needs to sleep.
Me: Uh-huh. Um, actually no. It can't wait. My son needs to sleep on the new bed tonight. It'll take another 10 minutes.
Man: But our baby needs to sleep.
Me: I understand. Unlike the tenants who lived here previously, I am also a parent. I understand what it is like for you. Please be patient. Thanks. [I close the door, and wonder why on earth are these newbie parents putting their 2-year-old "baby" to bed at 7 p.m.????]
Later, at 12:40 a.m.:
[I peer through the peephole. I notice a naked man standing on the other side of the door. I have no idea what to do. But I have a dog now, so...]
BARK, BARK, BARK, BARK
Man Wearing Only Pajama Pants: Is your dog dancing around or something?
Me: I beg your pardon?
BARK BARK BARK BARK
MWOPP: Your dog.
Me: Sorry, didn't realize he was "dancing." [I am now totally confused]
MWOPP: Well, it's 12:40 a.m.!!!!
Me: I realize that. [Observing his lack of attire, I finally decide to close the door]
Dancing? What on earth was he talking about?
It was then that I realized that he and his wife sleep in their living room, where they heard the dog walking around directly overhead. Walking around, I cannot help.
I called my friend, the tenant previous to me who lived in the same apartment.
Me: Hi Ariela. Have you ever had a problem with your downstairs neighbors?
Ariela: OH MY GOD. Are they bothering you, too?
After finding out that they would come up once a month to complain about things like Ariela vacuuming at 7 p.m., my upstairs neighbor, D, from England, offered this story:
His father, a bobby (policeman), was once called to an old lady's house.
Old Lady: Officer, there's a naked man standing outside my window! And I am frightened!
Bobby: [Takes a look through the window to observe the suspect.] Ma'am, sorry but I don't see 'im.
Old Lady: He's there! He's there!
Bobby: [Continues looking] Ah - um - sorry.
Old Lady: You've got to stand up on this chair and lean out the window! I swear you'll see 'im then!
And such is the case with our downstairs neighbors. If they look for noise, they'll find it.