“I’m in hell. This is hell and I’m in it.”
That was the second to last complaint I left with Airbnb about the McMansion next door. The last one I just left a few minutes ago, at three o’clock in the morning on a Friday. I have to get to work in a few hours. I live in a residential area of Los Angeles. There’s a high school nearby, lots of homes and apartments, and it’s comfortably far from noisy areas and nightclubs. Within the past couple years, one of the properties right behind our apartment complex underwent construction, and when it was completed there was a massive open-plan mansion there. Just kind of wedged in among the other houses. It’s a quaint little neighborhood just off of Melrose.
Walled off, it’s like a fortress that you can’t see into, but you can certainly hear everything happening within. There’s a large pool area and a patio in the back, about ten or fifteen feet from the bedroom windows of every rear-facing apartment in our building, and you can hear the rushing of the swimming pool’s water feature with your windows closed. That’s actually quite nice… it’s like camping near a tiny, douchebag waterfall.
When there are guests staying there, you can hear the water feature and literally everything else, and that’s why I’m in hell. The property owner rents this property out at $600 a night. That attracts two types of clientele: people pooling their cash and looking for a place to party, and rich douchebags. The difference between the two groups is negligible. No matter who the guest is, it always results in some form of party, with shouting, blaring music, and general assholery until around four o’clock in the morning on any given night. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Saturday or a Tuesday.
These people paid $600 to party in a mansion in our back yard and – by god – they’re going to make the most of it. We can close all of our windows and crank up the volume if we want to watch a movie and it makes no difference; the noise carries so well and so aggressively that any music or shouting drowns us out in our own home. It’s like they’re bringing the party into our apartment, into our living room, into our laps, sitting right down and screaming in our faces.
To escape the noise, I’ve devised a lot of tactics, mostly involving a variety of white-noise devices and noise-cancelling headphones. What a future we live in. Several people in my apartment building have complained, either to the police or to Airbnb. It’s not like we were expecting much, but Airbnb somehow exceeded our expectations in not giving a single f#$k about us or our complaints. The police – I was told the last time I called – are generally putting up with too high a volume of calls to deal with noise complaints.
The property owner, who lives (I think) in France most of the year, is the kind of guy who charges $600 a night for strangers to party in his party mansion, so his capacity for caring about whether or not his neighbors sleep at night is buried away somewhere in the wretched cavity of his decomposing soul. One of our neighbors was talking about going to the local courthouse, but as of yet, nothing has materialized there.
I spent an hour one night just trying to make contact with the guests who were having the world’s loudest bachelorette party. Or maybe it was a birthday party. Or maybe I don’t give a f#$k what it was. All I really care about was the five hours of shrill screaming that started at 7:00 PM and somehow lasted throughout the entire night. I discovered that the wall surrounding the mansion is apparently very good at letting noise escape, but also very good at keeping noise out. I shouted, I pounded, I shouted some more. The front gate was locked, of course, and it wasn’t until the next day and I was speaking to a neighbor that I discovered the property owner had disconnected the front gate’s buzzer, so that if you buzz it for an hour in the middle of the night, no one inside the mansion can hear it. Ultimately, I wound up scaling one of the property’s walls in order to get the attention of the guests so they might be so kind as to shut up. Great times, all around.
The long and the short of the matter is, the poor suckers who live in my apartment complex – all of whom have jobs we need to be rested for, some of us having children who definitely do not manage well when they don’t sleep – are living within ten feet of a nightclub. A shitty, horrible nightclub. For me, the ordeal will be over on the 15th of December. That’s when I can move into a new place in a different part of town, where I’ll be able to sleep at night. My roommate is moving out on the 8th. For a moment we entertained the notion of sticking out the rest of the month, like normal people living in a normal apartment, but there’s nothing normal about this. There’s nothing normal at all about this. This is hell. I’m in hell.