Got a neighbor down the hall who has a severely borderline personality. She routinely flips out just screams for hours. I come home, maybe one in six times before the elevator doors open I hear her screaming her head off with such anger, true rage that I had never witnessed. We go out for dinner (me and the wife, not the batshit neighbor), come back, she’s still yelling. This has been going on since we moved in and it appears to be getting worse.

At first I was sympathetic to the neighbor, thinking maybe she’s delusional, swinging around into angry histrionic and possibly psychotic territory every few days and could probably use a little involuntary trip to the hospital and some throat medicine given how miserable her own existence must be. I had thought for a long time that she was probably just yelling at an ex husband over the phone because I never heard anyone else shout or speak back at her when passing audible range of her door, never hung around long enough to get the context, never saw anyone go in or out of her apartment until recently the suitcase incident which revealed it was a soft-spoken Hispanic live-in maid.

The last time this started, the maid threatened to quit, put a suitcase in the hallway, sobbing, begging the woman to stop shouting, I mean really begging, denying that various things were her fault, building up some nerve, but to my dismay she caved and brought the suitcase back inside, apologizing, enduring more wrath of this perceived betrayal on top of whatever else the woman had been shouting about before the suitcase gesture. The maid’s been working for this woman for fifteen years. Why hasn’t she quit? Battered woman’s syndrome? Maybe she has sort of calibrated and thinks that this is not that abnormal, maybe she’s poor and afraid she won’t find another job easily. Maybe being subjected to this chronic verbal abuse is part of their agreement and she is compensated well, who knows.

It reminds me how when you tell someone about someone else having some form of crazy, you’re supposed to say “she’s suffering from seasonal affective disorder” or whatever. This maid, and wow she is surely suffering, she is on the receiving end of this madness, the type that over time can induce disease in someone else. It makes it difficult to use such language, that my neighbor is suffering from anything, even though she is. They both are, the way I see it.

Something I remember from Sunday school comes to mind, the story of the wounded man on a road everyone walks by — ahh yes the Good Samaritan – and I think it may apply here: I may be among other neighbors who assume or hope that one of the other neighbors, in judging this as actionable, does something about this situation, namely calling the cops; and though I think this is a wrong situation that could use rectification, getting involved would ultimately be ineffective unless it cost this woman her job somehow, and that woman may be willing to pay this price. And if that’s true it’s her right, isn’t it, to stay put. Eviction or her employer getting arrested or hospitalized would likely jeopardize that, though it would quiet things down.

Unless the maid quits, this is compulsive behavior that has no shot of being mitigated without some very impressive psychiatry. That would be a tough sell on my part to just knock on the door, introduce myself, ask her to pardon me for interrupting their dialog to suggest she ought to look into “getting help.”

Man, still going on, a marathon. Sad shit.


  1. I’m sorry, I would simply turn her in to the cops and be done with it. You are paying good money to live there, yeah? You are paying to have a nice place to live, not crazy batshit lady yelling all the time. report her ass to the building owner or whom ever it takes. that poor maid will find another job. Hell, hire the maid for your place. you should not have to live with it and should not have to move to get away from it.

  2. @Nathan: or better yet, record a good long episode of it and then set up a loud stereo and blare it at full volume out front of her door, or if you have a wall that is shared, slide some big ass speakers up to the shared wall and blast it for hours. I bet she will come over and knock to complain. then you can say, what? you are here to complain about your own damn yelling??? Guess what lady, this is a recording of you and what we have to deal with all the damn time. Now get the hell back to your place and stop all the damn yelling.


  3. As sweet and viral a video of my getting involved while aiming my phone at this woman, kind of hostile, hurts my odds of a fruitful resolution.

    Could talk to the super, doubt it would be the first time this has been brought to his attention, or could hand it off to the cops (she’s still yelling you know and started an hour before I started writing the article, she has lungs of steel).

    As far as it being a nuisance and acting in my own interests, from a rubbernecking standpoint, or an academic one in trying to come up with the best diagnosis, it’s only a nuisance in that it’s kind of a dilemma, figuring out whether to butt in or not. She’s a good three doors down.

    The super’s a decent man, maybe he can be helpful. Gave him a good tip Christmas.

  4. Well I just made a two minute recording, might help characterize the situation, whether or not the severity is exaggerated in my head. Gimme a few to beam it up.

  5. Holy Christ! 3 doors down and you can hear her? Seriously the neighbors need to get involved. Definitely talk to the super?

    You NYers are nuts, you do realize this? This is why I told my husband when we were house hunting that I preferred a mobile home to a condo. Shared Walls = Bad News.

    That maid still has rights.

  6. wowza!!

    that is to much, I cold not handle it. I would be down there beating on her door and screaming right back, shut up!!

  7. MartiM: Though I submit that neither I nor this woman are a good representation of New Yorkers in general, … wow she is still going it. It’s a bit more sporadic now but that’s a good six hours. Can you imagine dealing with what’s in that video as your job? Fifteen years?

    Anyway MartiM you’re making sense, I’ll talk to the super. Thank you.

    Nathan: What I’m wondering is what the hell does this woman do to pay the bills (and the maid) where she can, even if she can make a good effort to suppress it, get away with being that nuts.

  8. @Simmons lol No, I expect you and the woman in question fall somewhere in the veryvery large spectrum of NY residents. Good luck!

  9. Holy hell Simmons, this is what you have to put up with. The poor maid is in a jacked up situation. Maybe the woman is so alone that the maid doesn’t have the heart to leave her alone. Chances are nobody else is going to take it from the woman and she’s more than likely going to get hurt over it.

  10. She has probably been shouting through 6 hours of updates on her Windows 95 computer, using a dial-up connection. Go buy her a MacBook, or at least an easier to use cell phone. Peace and quiet comes at a price.

  11. Be a good neighbor and husband, go down there and tell the woman to STFU, or your gonna call the cops. My onetime noisy neighbor has been quiet ever since.

  12. Dom: The woman is obviously diseased mentally. I’m telling you, you cannot reason with someone like that to cool them down, and definitely not with that threat.

    I think MartiM is, as she seems to be generally, right, that I should start with the super. Both he and the two women have been here longer than I have, he’s been alive longer than I have, probably knows “the system” we all live in better than I do, maybe also what’s right and excessively wrong, maybe the law regarding crazy domestic situations, he’s a family man, maybe he cares enough to try to contribute to the situation in a way that concerns the interests of the maid versus just doing whatever seems easiest to make me less likely to bother him with this again.

  13. @Murani Lewis

    Now ya can see why Doug was so venomous in his reply to you regarding the Gizmodo Google article. Hell, if I had to live near someone like that I would have been in jail a long time ago because I would have killed the damned fool.

  14. Hmm. Never occurred to me that that was an option, HiTekRedneck.

    To Murani’s credit, it’s not impossible he may have been simply successfully trolling my ass and did not truly believe Gizmodo hit the heads of any nails.

  15. You are aware that the reason the live in maid doesn’t quit is because she is an illegal right? You call the cops on crazy neighbor and you are going to get some poor hard working person deported.

  16. james: Actually no that slipped my mind. Good eye.

    For those of you unfamiliar with the feds on this stuff, let’s pretend you have an H1-B work visa in the States and you don’t like your job. You’ve got a couple weeks to move from one to another before you become illegal and vulnerable to deportation. High stress situation. Elevate that to what I strongly suspect James just nailed, that she’s probably illegal altogether, probably has dependents …

    I was about to report last night something along the lines of “Fucking amazing it’s 2am and she’s been yelling since 12:30, time to accelerate my plans of going to the super to as soon as reasonably possible” but didn’t want to waste a comment email notification annoyance to you all that late at night.

    I raised concern that I could cost her her job by getting the cops involved. That wasn’t entirely to make me feel less guilty by hanging onto that notion. Suddenly the situation makes more sense, in light of what James pointed out, that my butting in could expose this woman and anyone she may support to a worse problem. This is a dilemma, that’s for sure.

    Back to the clip I produced, can anyone follow the dialog? All I can pick out is something about cell phone tutoring, telling this woman “your brain is an hourglass,” but everything else is kind of challenging to understand.

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