The Chicago Tribune has a regular series of articles about condominium associations. Most are interesting and few are not relevant to us. I found this article particularly relevant and thought it worthy of sharing here.

Some years ago, I had a problem with my upstairs neighbor. Most afternoons and evenings I could hear a constant thump, thump, thump of the bass frequencies of whatever music they were listening to. It wasn't loud but it was annoying and I felt the quality of my life was being degraded beyond tolerance. I finally called security and had him listen to what I was dealing with. The guard went upstairs and knocked on the unit door. I accompanied the guard. When the gentleman living there answered the door, the guard announced himself and mentioned the noise problem. I introduced myself as his downstairs neighbor and the source of the complaint. We spoke without rancor about the problem and the gentleman was hospitable enough to invite me into his unit and hear and see the situation for myself.

When I saw how he had his audio system set up, the problem was immediately obvious and so was the solution. His speakers were placed directly on the floor. As we all know, sound travels better through solids than it does through the air. Compounding the problem, the speakers were placed equidistant between two structural pillars in the room, providing an ideal conduit for the transmission of sound through the pillars above and below his tier. I was probably hearing some frequencies better than he was. Particularly the bass frequencies which add a lot to the fullness of the music that I was enjoying (?) as the unintended recipient, and that he was being deprived of.

I invited the gentleman to come to my unit so he could hear the sound for himself. He heard what I was dealing with. He said his music wasn't that loud. After a moment of pregnant silence, approximately one and half bars as measured by the thumping from above, I agreed with him and repeated what he had just said, in an attempt to develop a rhythm, cadence or baseline for discussion that we could both agree upon. The problem wasn't the volume, it was the placement. I said to him, "look, I'll make you a deal. Get yourself a nice set of speaker stands, give me the receipt and I will refund your cost." Speaker stands are not that expensive and a few bucks is well worth the investment for my peace of mind.

Jazz snob that I am, I offered to share with him some of my tasteful CD collection, curious about how it would sound in my apartment through his system. Could I still identify the Jazz standards, hearing only the rhythm of the bass notes? The challenge was intriguing. He left my apartment on what I felt were good terms. We shook hands. He was nice guy. We had both seen the issue from the perspective of the other party, respectful of the each other's position.

I never heard his music again, nor did the gentleman ever contact me to give me the receipt. I don't think he abruptly changed his lifestyle habits to satisfy me either. Stranger than fiction.

Now having said all that, curcumin or turmeric is one of the principal ingredients of curry, a sometimes pungent spice said to reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease, but that's another discussion.