If friends are the siblings god forgot to give you, neighbors are your perpetually drunk, vaguely racist extended family. And everyone knows how to deal with that shallow end of the gene pool — passive aggressively! You'll want to save up your real aggression for the post office and internet comment sections, after all.
So how does one artfully tell their neighbor that they're being a terrible person without appearing to be a terrible person themselves? Let us count the ways:
1. Get the cops to do it for you. Don't worry about draining resources — the cops won't respond to a noise complaint unless they're really, really bored. And anyway, you need the cops — they lend authority to your cause. Ask your neighbors to keep it down on your own and you're just some sad sack with nowhere to go on a Saturday night. (Which you're totally not, by the way. You're just a reasonable person who wants some peace and quiet. At 8 PM.)
2. Dash off a strongly worded note with an illegible signature. The message is in the medium already, so what does it matter who wrote it? The person leaving bags of trash outside of their apartment door for days on end needs to be called out, even if it's by a non-existent neighbor with awful penmanship. (Note: this only works if you live in an apartment building with multiple neighbors. Do not attempt if you live in a two-family home: you will get collared.)
3. Join forces with your sane neighbors. Sound the alarm. Rally the troops. Take back the streets. Surely you're not the only person on the block who doesn't relish in falling asleep to some lab-experiment hybrid of a dog crying like it just won American Idol. Find your tribe and fight the oppression together — with something quiet and inoffensive. I recommend an anonymous petition, a cease and desist order, or a threatening letter composed of cut-outs from a magazine à la The Bodyguard.
4. Make a mockery of your neighbors with a parody Twitter account. It might not convince your neighbors to adhere to the unwritten rules of humanity, but it could land you a book deal — it worked for Charlie McDowell, author of Dear Girls Above Me. In an effort to reclaim his sanity from the clutches of his ditzy neighbors, McDowell used Twitter to record the profound insights of two unintentionally hilarious Los Angeles ladies with unfortunately thin apartment walls. His tweets earned him some peace of mind, along with fodder for a mostly-fictional tale about his life as a frustrated fly on the wall.
Check out an excerpt of Dear Girls Above Me below, available in stores June 4, if you need motivation to exact revenge on your unsuspecting (totally deserving) neighbor(s).
Stephanie Georgopulos is the Entertainment Content Producer for Studio@Gawker.