I left the following letter on my upstairs neighbor's front door this morning (I apologize if it offends any Bob Dylan fans):

Dear Neighbor,

I am writing to tell you about an amazing invention -- headphones. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? They look a little like earmuffs, and they plug into a jack in your stereo system marked “headphones” -- isn’t that convenient? What makes them so revolutionary is that you can hear music played on your stereo without anyone else hearing. It’s like having speakers implanted in your ears -- amazing!

This is not to say that I don’t appreciate your attempts to share Bob Dylan with me, my wife, and my dog. He did win an Academy Award for his work on the Wonder Boys soundtrack and is famous the world over for his hits in the 1960’s. But I tend to go to bed around 11:30 on weeknights, and I don’t enjoy being kept awake by music I don’t like at 12:30 am. I hope it’s not too presumptuous of me to ask that you please consider using a pair of headphones after 11:00 pm. I know it would be a great sacrifice for you, particularly because you seem to like to listen to loud music late at night while stomping around your apartment. I know that a headphone cord will greatly limit the range of your stomping, but perhaps I could suggest another invention to you -- the portable CD player. Not only does it use headphones (which we’ve already established as revolutionary), but it’s like a small stereo that -- get this -- you can carry around with you! Imagine that! You could take Bob Dylan wherever you go.

I know I’ve had to come upstairs to your apartment twice now to beg you to please turn down your music so I can sleep. This is probably a great inconvenience since you have to put down your bong and answer your door, and I’m really sorry about that. I know I’ve even told you that it freaks out my dog, who wants to know why he can clearly hear Bob Dylan’s voice in our apartment. And that my wife worries that I’ll do something drastic in retaliation for being woken up on a work night. Well, retaliation is in my nature. You should be afraid.

See, you listen to music that me and my friends back in high school used to refer to as “hippy shit.” Despite my scruffy beard and geeky glasses, it’s probably not apparent that I am an aficionado of punk, hardcore, emo and metal. I know, I know -- it’s insane. Why, you can’t even hear me listening to it! (That’s because of the fact that a. I use headphones, and b. I make sure that when I do play records on my stereo, it’s not so loud that people outside my apartment can hear it -- imagine that). But it’s true, I have a very large collection of big-sounding abrasive rock music.

So here’s the deal, neighbor: if you don’t start being a little more considerate of me, I’m going to stop being considerate of you. I know you and your roommate like to go out and party at the bars in Adams Morgan on Friday and Saturday nights. And I also know that it’s very likely that you sleep late on Saturday and Sunday mornings as you wait for the hangover to wear off. Since you’re a college kid, I suspect that you also sleep late most mornings, but damn it all, I have to work so I’m not there to do anything. But rest assured, I will be more than happy to share my music with you on the weekends.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard of System of a Down, but they’re a really smart, political metal band. They’re not like Limp Bizkit or POD or any of that teenybopper shit -- they’re the real deal. They rock, to put it simply. And they’re angry -- really angry. And you my friend, will get to hear them in all their glory this Saturday morning if you don’t learn to use that volume knob after 11:00 or buy yourself a pair of headphones. I think I’ll put them on around 9:30 am and listen to the record in its entirety. I might even leave it on repeat when my wife and I step out to get some breakfast. Just so you can enjoy it.

Not only that, but please let me inform you that I am also a big fan of first person shooter PC games. Normally, I use headphones while I play -- but I’ve been itching to hear all the explosions and the death throes of my fallen adversaries in their digital surround sound glory. I think you’ll like that, too.

Anyway, I think I’ve given you some things to think about. I hope you have a good night’s sleep! Have fun Saturday night, and go light on the Long Island Ice Tea, okay?


-Your Neighbor in Apartment 207

ps: Your guitar playing stinks. You might want to consider getting some lessons. Just some advice!