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Ask Pajiba (Almost) Anything: So You're Living Next To An Obnoxious A**hole ...

By Tori Preston | Miscellaneous | April 3, 2018 |

By Tori Preston | Miscellaneous | April 3, 2018 |


Welcome back to another round of thoughtful advice fueled by general antipathy! This week we’ve got two questions to tackle — about Pajiba site terminology, and about neighbors who are TOO FUCKING LOUD. We loved them both, naturally. But we could only find a way to work bear traps into one of the responses. Don’t be too disappointed — we’re trying our best here.

(Reminder: If you’ve got a burning life question, or a question that could be resolved by burning, email it to [email protected] and let us weigh in… with fire! And bear traps.)

First up, apparently our commenters are curious about what to call themselves:


1. “Pajabbers” or “Pajibbers”?
2. Are we talking “Pajibberish” or just “Pajabbering”?

It needs to be solved. you know it does.

That IS a very serious question, and I’m glad you asked! We hadn’t really given it much thought, but now that you’ve brought the issue to our attention the answer is rather obvious. The official ruling from the Overlords is that commenters are “Pajackoffs” and what happens in the comments is called “Pajerking.”


And now that THAT’S settled, let’s talk asshole neighbors!

Dear Overloads -

Here’s a classic scenario: I have a really loud neighbor. I moved into this second-floor apartment of a three-unit building a few months ago. The space is amazing for the price and area. But the building is old and the walls are thin enough, which is to be expected in a city.

This meathead lives on the floor below and is just a loud, ungraceful human. I always know when he’s back in the building because I’ll hear two slams: one of our front door and one of his own door. The slams often shake my own apartment. It’s actually woken me up sometimes.

Noisy neighbors aren’t necessarily new, but this particular doofnugget comes with bonus prizes: he likes to work out in his apartment. He’ll put on some very loud rap and slam his weights down. It shakes the shit out of my apartment, and my glass drinkware will knock against each other so that I’m afraid they’ll be broken this way someday. This happens almost every night. It’s loud to the point that I was once videochatting with a friend when this happened and SHE freaked out. It sounds like bombs going off or being hit by lightning.

Incidentally, we have never met. But I have seen him from down the block entering my building, and he is a large human. I’m learning a lot about him through his noises. He and his herds have been known to yell at 3:30am for Siri to play Kanye West. His apartment has a small backyard which extends past my bedroom window, and when the weather is nice, he and his buddies will gather there and be loud until the early morning. The low hum/bass resonance of his voice and/or audio devices cut through any white noise I put on to try and drown it out. When he has friends over, it’s like having a cow corral running the length of my apartment. I think he once may have been playing some incredibly fluent guitar (Bach’s “Chaconne”), but I refuse to believe someone so ungraceful could have that kind of dexterity.

Of course, the easy solution would be to go and just talk to him, but I’m so non-confrontational that I get anxious about commenting on Pajiba. I don’t want to bother our landlord with this issue since he’s pretty hands-off and absent with the building. Also, in comparison to his large, white male-ness, I am a very tiny female of color and scared that talking to him might make him mad or escalate the situation to be worse.

A few weeks after I moved in, I was spending a weekend building furniture so I left a note in his mailbox letting him know I was going to be making some noise. I’m also afraid that if I go tell his sounds are loud, he might reveal that MY everyday sounds are amplified in his apartment. Admittedly, in some moments of immaturity when it’s been particularly loud, I have stomped against my floor, literally banged some pots and pans together (I’m probably bothering the shit out of my UPSTAIRS neighbor…), and yelled a lot. None of that seems to have worked. I’m entertaining the idea of throwing dog poop into his backyard or waiting until I smell pot from one of his backyard gatherings and calling the cops (Not that I have anything against pot, but if I can use it to my advantage…)

It’s going to be a real long lease - especially when the weather gets nicer and more meatheads are around more often - if I don’t say or do something soon. I just don’t know what or how.

Much love -
Maybe I Need A Monastery


Dear Maybe,
I considered offering you a list of the top ten monasteries as a response, but since I know nothing about monasteries or how to judge them, I decided against it. What I DO know something about, however, is loud neighbors. Or sometimes just normal-sounding neighbors, who live next door, or above or below, in a building that is old and has thin walls. Sometimes any noise can be amplified to ridiculous extremes, in the right context. Sometimes we’re all guilty of being too loud.

And sometimes your glassware is at risk thanks to a fucking thunder-footed meathead downstairs. Seriously, fuck this whole situation.

Yes, you should probably talk to him directly. But if I were you, I wouldn’t want to do that either — especially not knowing how he’d react, or attempting it at 3am when he’s in the midst of a hang with his fellow rhinos. Riling up an unpredictable neighbor is scary because he literally knows where you live! You could try to get your other housemates on your side and approach this guy en masse, but since it sounds like there is only one other unit in your building, that won’t be an enormous show of force. Besides, you might be the only one experiencing his, uh, particular qualities.

Take a look at your lease and see if there are any noise regulations this guy might be in violation of — and while you’re at it, review the penalties for breaking your lease. You should still complain to your landlord/building management about your neighbor, even if they won’t take action. Because at least if you’ve informed them of the problems, you can then escalate into threatening to leave. Maybe they’re already having problems with him, and would prefer you stay over him.

And one sure way to make him problematic is to definitely start calling the cops on him! Don’t wait for the smell of weed, just call if it’s late enough and he’s loud enough. Or plant weed in the backyard and THEN call. In fact, maybe you can find all kinds of ways to make his life miserable, or to frame him for things that’ll get him in trouble. Dustin recommends drilling a hole through the floor and slowly spilling perfume down it to confuse him. Or spilling bugs. Crickets would be a good bet, since they’ll make his life a little noisier!

Steven went a step further and had a whole scheme prepped involving freezing an entire fish in liquid nitrogen, then shattering it and somehow pouring the bucket of fish dust into his apartment (or down the drilled hole, I suppose). When it thaws, the smell will be… uh, something special. Especially if the particulates have gotten lodged in the vents and other crevices.

Alternately, you could let him know your disapproval of his lifestyle by dropping a bear trap in the backyard. Or lighting the building on fire. As long as you don’t get caught, you’ll definitely get out of your lease!

But if you’re looking for less legally/morally ambiguous tactics, invest in a shitload of rugs and carpeting. They can help provide a bit of soundproofing. Or get actual soundproofing materials. And while you can certainly up your passive aggressive stomping to see if that’ll get the message across to the guy, it may just make him even more shameless — and piss off your upstairs neighbor as well.

Sadly, I think you may need to move or wait it out. And trust me, you’re not alone. I’ve had crying baby neighbors, and mysterious ball-rolling-at-2am neighbors, and neighbors who just DO NOT know how to close a damn door without shaking the whole building. And I’ve been the asshole who was taking apart furniture at midnight before a big move, and had the downstairs neighbors bang on the ceiling with a broom handle. It’s all part of city living. If you like the apartment enough, then do what you can to stay there. Invest in better earplugs, and bigger noise cancelling machines, and soundproofing.

And seriously — call the damn cops. Then treat yourself to a milkshake because “doofnugget” is just SUCH a great word. I’m gonna use it forever now. Thank you!