This past Saturday night, Kate’s upstairs neighbors hosted a party. They told Kate and her roommates about the party earlier in the day and invited them to join in the fun. Kate and I had plans to meet her friends for a drink before dinner and then we planned to see “Quantum of Solace” before returning later in the evening. While we were at dinner I got a call about a problem at work that I needed to fix, so we skipped the movie and went back to her apartment so I could use her computer to log in and handle the issue. When we got to her building at about 9:30 PM, three girls followed us inside and went upstairs to what sounded like a raging blowout already in progress. I took care of my work problem and we considered our options for the rest of the evening. The noise coming from the apartment upstairs was unbelieveable. They played their music at high volume and sang and danced for hours. It sounded like they were playing basketball up there, from the way the thumping moved from one end of the room to the other.
At midnight, unable to sleep, we decided to watch a movie. We had to turn our volume up to hear the movie over the noise coming from upstairs. One of Kate’s neighbors in the next building came out of his apartment, stood in the courtyard in the back, and shouted at the 3rd floor party to keep it down. I don’t think they heard him. Kate said she’d give them until 2 AM, then she’d go ask them to turn down the music. By 1:45 AM we thought they might have given up for the night since the dancing had subsided, but then the music picked up again. At 2 AM Kate went upstairs. I offered to go with her but she declined, saying she could handle it. She came back a few minutes later and the volume went down. She told me that when she asked the girls to turn the music down, they said “we told your roommates we were having a party,” as if that was an excuse. Kate’s response was “it’s still 2 in the morning, so please turn it down.” By 3 AM we were finished with our movie, they were finished with their party, and everyone passed out.
My problem with Saturday night’s events is that I’m not used to being “that guy” who tells the neighbors to keep the noise down. I used to be a party guy. A few years ago, if my neighbors had told me they were having a party, I would have stopped by for a drink or two. I know I’m older and more mature, but I didn’t realize I’d also outgrown the loud and crazy parties of my youth. One of the reasons I didn’t mind moving to Park Slope was that I was tired of living above a noisy bar on the Upper East Side. For the first few years I lived there, the bar was a reminder that people were out having fun on a weekend night while I was at home watching TV. Then I found myself hanging out at that bar on weekend evenings and I realized that it wasn’t so much fun if I didn’t know anyone there. As I grew tired of the bar scene, I also became more comfortable staying home alone, and I didn’t want to hear the music or the loud conversations of the smokers outside at 2 AM. My apartment in Park Slope is on the first floor next to the building’s entrance, so I get a fair amount of noise from the hallway, but I don’t get the crowd noise from a constant weekend party. And if I decided to throw a massive housewarming blowout in my new apartment, I’d get shut down by my neighbors (many of whom have small children) in about 10 minutes. Now, a party is a few friends, a good meal, a bottle of wine, and we're all home by midnight. And I don't mind. Maybe there's an upside to growing older.