In our first apartment together, my wife Nicole and I had a neighbor just below us that we affectionately (and frustratingly) referred to as “Hammer Guy.” Every single day for 2 years, we would hear hammering below us. At any hour of day or night.
Sometimes, we could see into this person’s window from the street below while walking up to our building. We saw a man in the window. Ah, Hammer Guy.
One night, we rode the elevator back up after putting some clothes in the wash. We lived in a building with a community laundry room which is tons of fun if you enjoy using machines along with dog owners who refuse to clean out their pets’ hair after and also love machines that eat all the quarters you drove around town trying to convert from $10 bills. We stepped off the elevator into our 7th floor hall and walk down toward our apartment. 715. I walked in first and was immediately frozen at the presence of classical music playing.
Someone was in our apartment.
I also noted a coat rack installed next to our shoe closet door as you first walk in.
That Someone has also installed a coat rack while we were gone? This is the WRONG apartment. I quickly motioned to Nicole not to follow me as I quietly exit and shut the door. We look at the number; 615. We’re on the SIXTH floor which means this is HAMMER GUY’S APARTMENT. We bolted back to the elevator and made it safely to our hammer free home.
A day finally came when we moved out of that building and Nicole thought we should leave a note on that neighbor’s door. We had too many question and theories left unanswered. So, after we both had a few glasses of wine, we sat down and crafted a message. . .
“Dear Hammer Guy,
We live below you in apartment 715 and for the last 2 years, you have been the most hilarious part of our days.
By the time you get this, we will be gone. We are leaving this note NOT to complain but to know, once and for all WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN HAMMERING EVERYDAY FOR THE LAST 2 YEARS.
We have come up with some of our own ideas:
1. You’re a murderer.
2. You have an extensive coat rack collection.
3. You are building a smaller apartment inside your apartment.
4. You have some sort of Edward Scissorhands situation happening but with hammers.
5. You aggressively do not want your deposit back.
6. You’re really bad at ASMR.
We have realized that we cannot go on living our entire lives, walking into this deep void, with tasteless food, meaningless interactions, this hole in our stomachs and deep in our hearts without knowing what in the hell you have been hammering all this time.
We need this like the air we breathe. To fill the void, to taste the food, and to find passion in our connections with the souls walking the Earth with us. Please tell us, we beg you.”
We left my email address at the bottom of the letter and a few weeks later, we got a reply.
“hi upstairs-people from the past couple of years!
Your note was a huge surprise and made us laugh, and turn a little red. I'm the hammer-er….im Mandy. Hammer-girl! Neither of us expected a friendly letter regarding my late-night hammer-habits, or one so funny and well-written. You were in the zone, where you're just uninhibited enough to creatively do your thing!!!
Funny story, I moved here with Billy because my neighbor at the time, who lived in an old Victorian house, was a complete nightmare and I couldn't work anything out with her. her problem was hearing us, or even just me, home watching a movie… she left notes a lot, but wouldn't give me her # so she could text when someone was too loud. she used to bang on the wall instead, and we would laugh but not as comfortably. Seeing a neighborly letter after all that time had me a wee bit anxious, but what a wonderful surprise!!
I was comforted by the loudness and life of this building… a little seedy sometimes, but that's Tacoma! I am loud, I talk loud, Billy talks a lot, we play music and write little diddys.
ok, enough delay!!! I will tell you why the hammering, you deserve to know, after putting up with it for so long. I'm a collector of drawings and also make my own, and I love little shelves and wall hangers, blah blah blah… and you know how our walls are… when you first said hammering, I thought you meant hearing us in the act… I thought, we don't really “hammer” that often, its not a favorite… I have too much stuff in this apartment, I periodically re-arrange… whenever it inspires me! I'm sorry if it ever disturbed you, in fact just the other night Billy winced as I tried baby-taps with my girly hammer…. “the neighbors!!” he whinnied! I sometimes feel like we are in a sound-proof vacuum, but it isn't so! i am showing a few pics to show the handiwork.. err hammer-work! Thank you so much for the brilliant letter…. if you were laughing at us or with us, I don't care I'm so glad you went that route!!! Good luck at your next place in life, I will hammer extra tonight… see who else might be amused by my antics!! Prospects are doubtful…
Mandy the hammering, clamoring senorita xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx”