RE "To Move From My Apartment Complex at the End of August":
80%: Black guy downstairs constantly yelling at his wife, or yelling on the phone, or yelling outside, or just yelling. I have to listen to him every day.
10%: Three or four families with kids live here. Two of the families have 2-3 little kids living in the apartments, who are constantly shrieking and running around in the parking lot, up-and-down the walkways in front of apartments, etc. The third/fourth families have 12/13-year-old boys who like to ride scooters and scream/play both in the walkways and in the street on the east side of my bedroom.
5%: The motorcycle guy that I have to hear come home and leave every time.
5%: The people thumping up and down the stairs next to my apartment, and the traffic on the busy North Loop.
When I first moved into my apartment a year ago, it was in response to a Craigslist ad to sublet an apartment "with no adjoining walls!" and with the deposit already paid. Sounded great. A small, funky (70s-built) complex, about 24 units, close to my work and shops. 790-sq-ft (a vast improvement over the one-room apartment I'd been living in upon my return from NYC and while temping).
I've lived in Austin since 1983 (with 2 years in San Fran and 3 years in NYC), and have lived in many different types of quarters: student housing, efficiencies, duplexes, garage apartments, mass and small apartments, a house...
I've never, ever been in a place with kids running around and screaming. Nor have I ever lived in a place with a neighbor constantly yelling. I've been in a couple of places with loud music, which were obnoxious, and which I moved from. No loud music at my current place. But the guy yelling...
I've wondered: Am I racist? The man yelling is black. The kids running around are Hispanic. While at former apartments in my younger years, I didn't like the loud music from young white guys, here the noise is specifically generated from the blacks below me and the Hispanics elsewhere in the apartment building. While white-boy-noise is obnoxious, it's also a result of living in super-cheap student apartments. At 50, and living in slightly more expensive apartments (my 2-bedroom, for instance), I was hoping for a better-behaved clientele. Not so. I'd left the obnoxious white-frat-boys but gained loud minority-family-drama on the same exact level of annoyance. Don't like either. I'm not 20 or 30 or even 40 -- don't feel like I should have to put up with any of the bullshit. Especially since I'm gainfully employed as an Editor.
There's something about it: I'm 50, a Master's degree, 17 years of experience as an editor... yet why am I still forced economically to live around a young Hispanic family of 5 stuffed into a 2-bedroom apartment, or a constantly arguing, loud black couple, for instance? (I wouldn't mind living around any type of group if they weren't so stereotypically obnoxious.)
RE "Not to Move":
It's just a pain in the ass to move. And who knows if I'll land in a better apartment. Wherever I move could have equally crappy neighbors -- it's not as if you can ask before moving in: "Um, are there any loud blacks or a bunch of screaming Hispanic kids here?"
VERDICT: Spend a couple of hundred more per month and MOVE. (This means "no car" -- and getting a car is also important to my psyche after 7 years without one upon moving to New York in 2007. But now there's a choice to be made: Either live around less riff-raff, or travel to work around less riff-raff. I can't afford both. Side-note: Why is it that I can't afford both?)
p.s. Let me present this post in another way: Say I were a black woman with a Master's degree and a job as an editor, forced to live in a primarily white trailer park with screaming white kids and a loud, abusive white man screaming next door. Most PC-folk would be horrified by this. And what black woman with a Master's degree would ever be forced to live around such boors in such an environment?