Your Worst Neighbor Story

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Much like your biological family and your co-workers, you can’t really pick your neighbors. Depending on where you live and how frequently you or the people around you move, you might have lived a life full of nosey or noisy neighbors—and there are few things more irritating than not being able to find comfort at home. Now that my building has been social distancing for over a month, I’ve noticed the people in the apartment next to mine are becoming more brazen with occupying our shared roof deck at all hours of the day. Normally, I would find this to be a minor inconvenience, but they’ve begun congregating directly outside of my bedroom window, peering in with voyeuristic entitlement. I can no longer walk around naked, and for that reason, they must be destroyed.

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Given the circumstances, I now consider them to be the worst neighbors I have ever had—horrendous hell-bound monsters instead of just douchebags. Of course, that’s not true, the worst ones were the neighbors who robbed my roommate, but I digress.

Now, I want to hear about your terrible neighbor experiences. What did they do? Did you exact revenge? Did you have to move away? Did they? Drop your entries in the comments below.

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Before all that, let’s talk about last week’s winners. These are your most spectacular culinary disasters.

mdm, I wasn’t expecting a story that could’ve resulted in death. Thank you for raising the bar:

Let me preface this by saying I love to cook and will happily spend hours in my kitchen, baking, creating, trying out new recipes... what have you. One Sunday evening, I decided that I should really cook something, perhaps fish, that was languishing in my fridge before it went bad and decided to make salsa to go with it. I was crabby and not feeling it, but was determined to get this meal done so that I’d have lunch for the next few days. I pull out my mini food processor and start dumping tomatoes, cilantro, onions, peppers, and what have you into it. For whatever reason, now I’m incredibly PISSED that I’m cooking and have to clean up, and not looking forward to being at work in just about 10 hours. I realize I’ve cut up too many tomatoes and decide to salvage this horrible evening by making a larger batch of salsa GOD DAMNIT. I dump all the ingredients into my full-size food processor, and switch it on. The thing starts bumping and jumping on the counter like a madman, at which point I FLEE from the kitchen. And thank god I did - about one second later the entire thing exploded and the blade from my small food processor, which, in my anger, I’d accidentally dumped into the larger food processor along with the ingredients, shattered the plastic bowl, whizzed across the kitchen - at about heart level - hit the wall and splattered to the floor. I’ve never cooked angry since then.

fancypantsftw, as some have mentioned in the comments, that’s a ‘winner, winner, chicken dinner’ for you:

Disclaimer: this was when I was about 8, but I started cooking fairly independently around 3 or 4 and have enjoyed cooking my entire life. This is also the disaster that is still brought up regularly almost 35 years later.

I was in charge of making dinner, and despite my age, I was in charge of making it 100% on my own - zero supervision. I decided to make chicken and rice. I had also been reading a cookbook that highlighted a couple of techniques for coloring different items - coconut, croutons (for some reason), marshmallows, etc. This proved to be a bad combination.

I decided that there wasn’t enough purple food in the world and wouldn’t it be lovely if there were purple grains of rice scattered throughout the dish? I tried coloring the rice to no avail, and decided that I would use croutons instead (??). Since we didn’t have croutons, I took bread, toasted it, cut it up into pieces, and shook it up in a mason jar with red and blue food coloring. Then I added the resulting clown vomit to the rice, broth, and seasoning (also, oops, added 1 tablespoon of salt instead of 1 teaspoon), layered on the chicken, and set the whole thing to bake.

An hour later, the red parts made the chicken look raw, the blue parts made the chicken look rotten, the purple cast a bruised look over the whole dish, and the globby bits of colored slime that had once been toast cubes rendered the whole thing inedible. Not to mention that the salt was enough to make my mother immediately spit out her bravely tasted bite- the one and only time she has EVER done that with my cooking, bless her.

To this day, if I offer to make food for the family the response is invariably: “Yay! Can’t wait! As long as it’s not purple.” Punks.

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Marillenbaum, disgustingly for me, this doesn’t sound... that bad:

I was 12, and had been cooking and baking with fairly minimal supervision for about three years. My mom (single parents) was busy with errands and needing to work on a Saturday, when we were also supposed to be hosting guests from church for dinner. I offered to make the lasagna for dinner, to save her some time.

Now, it turns out that the pasta wasn’t actually the no-boil kind; that bit of writing on the box was an ad. And the ricotta kept rolling up into little balls, so I kept adding more. Five pounds of ricotta cheese later, the whole thing is in the oven. My mom comes home, the guests come over, and we dig in.

The pasta was basically raw, and shattered when the spatula went in. Five pounds of cheese cascaded over everyone’s plates. My mother was mortified. I was not allowed to cook for company for several years afterwards, and I haven’t made lasagna for the family since.

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journey blue, lol:

I was trying to make my boyfriend a nice dish that involved frying zucchini. We were out of garlic so I went to dump garlic powder on it. I dumped cinnamon instead.

We got takeout.

jrhmobile, well, this is... creative:

I got one to share, though i didn’t cook it. I only had to eat it ...

Back in college days, my girlfriend wanted to cook my brother and I dinner one night. She was a townie, and lived at home, so she wanted to something special for us out of the goodness of her heart.

She got a recipe from somewhere for Orange Pork Chops. The recipe to cook 8 pork chops called for two cups of orange juice. Unfortunately, she bought a half-gallon can of frozen concentrate for the recipe.

I don’t know if you’ve ever dumped a half-gallon can’s worth of frozen OJ concentrate into a measuring cup, but if you put the whole thing in the cup and mash the slush down real good, it measures out right at two cups.

After 35 minutes at 350 degrees, those glazed pork chops were shellacked. You could’ve driven in nails with them. I loved her dearly, and managed to choke down about half of one before I stopped for fear of chipping my teeth. My brother, trooper that he is, gave her such a hard time about those glazed pork chops he actually ate a second one out of guilt. He was sick for two days.

Thank God I’m still friends with her, and we still laugh about it to this day. I think my brother may still have one sitting on his tool bench ...

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I hope your neighbor won’t read this...

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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mtlchicago
mtlchicago

I moved into my third floor apartment in August- before I moved in (with two other female roommates), I was warned by the previous tenants that the downstairs neighbor was a bit abrasive and highly sensitive to noise. The day I moved in, I heard banging on my apartment door and opened it to meet him. My downstairs neighbor, let’s call him Joe, introduced himself and told me that he hoped that myself and my roommates would walk much more quietly than the previous tenants. He told me that one of the previous tenants especially was a “heel walker” and how annoying that was to him. We said goodbye and I wished him well. For the past eight to nine months, I have received a constant barrage of texts from him about how loudly we walk in our apartment- the three of us living here are very quiet, tidy roommates who have never had a party or other large gathering and who never blast music. Joe, on the other hand, blasts music without fail almost every morning around 10 AM, his apartment constantly reeks of weed, and one time recently I heard shouting coming from his balcony- he was standing on it screaming (for close to 10 minutes) at a woman who had been walking through the alley behind our house.

Recently, the messages from Joe have gotten worse. He used to bang on our door when we were walking too loudly- at times, even doing so wearing only his underwear (which seems quite inappropriate given that he is a ~30 year old man and we are all ~21 year old young women, but I digress. Also, we reached out to the previous tenants and they also had experiences with him yelling at them in his underwear). Given the current situation with covid19, he has instead taken to messaging me whenever he feels that we are walking too loudly, even if there is no one moving in the apartment whatsoever (also, need I mention, we are rent-paying tenants who are allowed to walk in our own apartment!) A few key phrases from various text messages include the following: “Yo guys honestly whats the deal?” “Idk honestly i don’t think you guys realize how much the noise travels...like when you walk around at night pretend you’re sneaking into your parents house at night and you don’t want to wake them. Its so loud. Next time I’m just going to bang on the ceiling ok”, “walk slightly more delicately in the evening and at night. Like little mice”, “it’s really shameful”, and most recently, “You know this is ridiculous...its so simple for you...tell your roommates or friends or whatnot to walk softly at night”.

Now, in my own opinion, we’re not doing anything wrong- he also has texted our landlord that he thinks we are walking loudly on purpose and to spite him, although the three of us tiptoe around in the evenings to avoid having him message us. It’s gotten to the point where I often feel quite anxious in the evenings because I’m worried about receiving a message from him. Also, to note, I’ve done by best to respond extremely politely to all of his messages (i.e., thank him for bringing it to my attention, wish him well, just be super friendly and polite in general).

Finally, yesterday the third tenant in our building (an older woman) had to come to our apartment for access to the roof, in order to send a photo to a plumber. On her way out, she told us that Joe has told her how disrespectful we are, and lectured me on being considerate and kind, given that we walk so loudly above Joe. I responded very nicely and calmly to her, but at this point it seems a bit ridiculous. We are doing nothing wrong or illegal by walking in our own apartment, and now are being lectured by both parties. I’m open to any advice or thoughts on how to handle this? I’ve been super anxious about running into Joe in the hallway, as he’s super aggressive and clearly does not care for us, although we are doing NOTHING wrong by simply walking in our own home.