It was a passive-aggressive battle.
Someone in my 110 unit co-op apartment building in Brooklyn has been a little frustrated with noise during the day. So this anonymous person took it upon his or her self to write a preachy note in ALL CAPS suggesting people take such actions as removing their hard-soled shoes upon entering their apartments (we do), keeping their voices down because the walls are thin (they actually are not), etc. Before each bullet on her (I’m just going to assign the gender I think it probably is…) ALL CAPS list, she wrote “(always).” Just like that, in parentheses. I know I over-use them, but at least I use them correctly. The final item of her list is the one that bothered me the most. It said people should “NOT ALLOW THEIR CHILDREN TO RUN OR DROP THINGS.” I know we don’t have a yard and it is 20 degrees outside, honey, but I’m going to have to ask you to sit still in this chair, lest you disturb one of our neighbors. It is 11 am, after all. Sorry, son, you are not allowed to drop anything. Let me just tie your arms down, so you won’t be tempted to pick anything up. It really annoyed me. Naturally, I took it down. She put another one up. Other people took it down. She replaced them. And every time I came home, I would get red-faced mad just looking at it.
So I wrote this and hung it up next to her note:
I LIVE IN A LARGE CO-OP APARTMENT IN A BIG CITY. MY NEIGHBORS ARE KIND OF NOISY. DO YOU THINK HANGING AN ANONYMOUS NOTE IN THE LOBBY WILL QUIET THEM DOWN?
First and foremost, in the age of email, writing in all capital letters is akin to SCREAMING. I doubt if you wrote a note like that, you would achieve the desired effect. It may even rattle or offend your neighbors. Secondly, if you do not sign your name, nobody will know who is having the noise issue.
The most productive and polite way to deal with a loud neighbor, is to speak with them face-to-face. If that does not work, check your house rules. Most big co-ops require members to keep the noise down after 10 pm, but to be respectful of their neighbors within reason during the day. They also usually require an 80% floor covering, to keep the noise between floors to a minimum. If face-to-face does not resolve your issue, a note will probably not do the trick.
I hope you find at least some of the peace and quiet you are seeking.
The next day, both notes were gone.
I knew that my MA in creative writing would come in handy one day.