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Weekend Conversation: What’s Your Worst Neighbor Story?

Your house might be your kingdom but once you’re outside those walls (and often when you’re within those walls) you’re just another putz who has to follow the rules like everybody else. Is your lawn cut to the right length? Is your fence the right color? Is your music at a reasonable volume? Do you understand why there was a petition demanding that you stop it with the nude grilling? Neighbors. They are forever watching you and ruining your fun. Sure, there are exceptions — the ones who bring pie, loan out power tools, or offer no-cost child care — but most are nosey and/or insolent monsters. So, with the release of Neighbors 2 — which focuses on a group of unruly college-aged neighbors and the family that just wants to be free of them — we thought it was a good time to reflect on the terrible experiences that our writers have had with their neighbors.

When This Room’s A-Rockin’ Don’t Come A-Knockin’

Hello, you may have heard of me on the internet. –Stacey Ritzen

Shots Fired

We moved around a lot when I was a kid (my father worked as a retail manager so there were a lot of transfers to new and exciting towns like Patchogue, N.Y. and Kent, Conn.) so we mostly kept to ourselves and didn’t really bother getting attached to our neighbors. At one stop, though, our neighbor was forced upon us thanks to a pretty viscous black labrador. I was a kid so I don’t remember much but the dog went after my sister at one point, my father was unpleased by this and a shouting match ensued. Months later, on the day that we moved out, someone shot up our storm door with a BB-gun. The mystery remains unsolved. -Jason Tabrys

The ‘Bowling Ball’ Incident

Imagine it — you’re in college, you’ve been in a mildly successful long-term relationship, and the two of you decide to move in together. Everything’s going great, and nothing could possibly go wrong. Until you realize your downstairs neighbor enjoys blasting Dashboard Confessional’s acoustic hits so loud, you both can sing along to (and cry with) every word. So you and your significant other decided to blast some equally annoying screamo into the f*cking floor. The result? The downstairs neighbor, it turns out, is in a bowling league, so he launches his 16-pound ball through the f*cking ceiling/floor. –Andrew Husband


The Crazy Cat Lady

I once lived in the same apartment building as an older woman who was the real-life version of The Simpsons’ Crazy Cat Lady, only without the cats. She would regularly be in the street at 2 a.m. cursing while wearing only her nightgown — in December. It was equal parts amusing and heartbreaking. As disruptive as her expletive-laden gibberish rants in the middle of the night were, they weren’t anywhere near as disturbing as the time I walked by her ground-floor apartment living room window and saw her standing in the window smoking a cigarette while topless. –Joel Stice


A Regular Cujo

My horror story started in 2006 when my next-door neighbor got a sheltie dog. Immediately, he began letting it out into his backyard before he left for work. So, between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. just about every morning, that dog would bark nonstop, sometimes right outside my bedroom window. I estimate that I had a talk with that neighbor somewhere between 20 and 3,000 times, pleading with him to stop letting it out and then leaving, but he just didn’t care enough to change. My wife and I dealt with this bullsh*t for five straight years, and it turned us into different people. We hate all dogs now, and we used to be dog-lovers. I called the police on this neighbor a half-dozen times, and before 2006, I had never done that before. I get the shakes now anytime I see a sheltie, or really anytime a dog barks. If I ever learn that my old neighbor has died a horrible and painful death, I’m not sure if anything could stop my initial reaction from being a gleeful tap dance.

Eventually in 2011, we ended up selling the house and moving. Most people think we moved because our family got bigger and the old house was too small. Nope, it was that damn dog.

I suppose at the time I may have felt bad for the buyer, but I quickly got over it the very first morning in my new house when I slept in until 7. –Brian Sharp


‘Left Hanging For AN HOUR’

Once, my horrible neighbor was left hanging for an hour. An HOUR! So, she went on an insane tirade to the person who left her hanging. This lasted over the course of the next few days and flare-ups were impossible to predict. Some were at 1 a.m., others in the early afternoon. Each maniacal and one-sided screaming match always came back to the crux of her getting left hanging for an hour. An HOUR!

I recorded video for posterity. –Jason Nawara

So, what’s your nightmare neighbor story?

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