One such was left on the doorstep of my new apartment in the netherlands, by the lady living in the apartment below mine. It was a letter, dripping with both sarcasm and honey, expressly typed out and signed by hand, just to inform me that we (the roommate and I) make too much noise for her liking.

I have never received a single such complaint even when I was in the US for 3 years, and where I had people dropping in at all times of the day, and where it is the norm to call in the police when your neighbours’ parties won’t let you sleep. This letter, from this lady, irritated me no end. She pointed out, among other things, that when we walk around, it sounds like a ‘bunch of horses running up and down the floor’; that because her bedroom is located below our bathroom, she was forced to wake up at 7.30 (yes ladies and gentlemen, she noted the time as well! ) because someone in our place used the loo. She also signs off, hoping ‘I’m not annoyed by this note’. Like hell I am.

So what do I do? I take a very uncharacteristic (for me) step – I reply to her love letter with one of my own.
I mention that in the apartment above ours, there are a bunch of teenage guys, who are college students – a group which is generally makes more noise than two girls. I mention that our waking times are different from hers, but I really can’t stop going to office (or the loo) because it’s only 7.30 yet -Well, I didn’t put it in those words exactly but you get the idea – and I carefully type it and sign it and drop in her mailbox. And I feel like that has been a job well done.