When Groot Was Our Upstairs Neighbor

Sometimes you pull the short straw in life. Sometimes you think you’re getting a great apartment in a big city at a reasonable price, until you realize there’s a GD tree person living above you.

The above is precisely what my boyfriend experienced when he moved into his place here in Chicago back in January.

Within the first day it became apparent that the upstairs neighbor might be a tree person, a la Groot of Guardians of the Galaxy. It was insane the amount of noise this thing was making, and at the times it was happening.

You want to go to bed on a Tuesday at 11pm? Nah Groot’s got different plans in mind, like rearranging his furniture for 2 hours.

You want to sleep until, you know, a respectable time like 7am on a Thursday? Nah. Groot’s been up for at least an hour and half shuffling around, dropping all the cords he owns from smallest to largest and playing hopscotch in the hallway. You know, his typical morning routine.

When I would come to visit I was appalled at how loud this guy was, but my boyfriend was very averse to saying anything. What if the person was handicapped? What if they were a hoarder and simply couldn’t do daily things without rearranging the piles of boxes? What if the person didn’t speak english? What then?

I pictured going up there to find an overweight Czech woman who didn’t understand what we were saying, so we’d have to revert to showing her what was happening. Imagine us walking into her apartment, stomping, picking things up and dropping them, and then pointing to our ears. The cops would have been called. The landlord would have been irate. Things would have gotten out of hand for sure.

My point is, there were too many possibilities. So my boyfriend decided to live with it. He started calling it Groot. I began to speak to it, giving it the pet name “Le Gwoot”, you know, like a French person was saying it in a loving way.

We would wake up and say hello and good morning to Le Gwoot, ask it if it wanted some crepes, or to visit the guillotine like uncle Louie the 16th. We never got responses back, but we imagined the following noises were morse code for “fuck off”.

As of last Saturday we are rid of Groot. However, we didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye. Here’s the note David and I wrote to our dear Le Gwoot:

Hello Friend!

This note is coming to you from your downstairs neighbors; the people whose ceiling is your floor. This is a goodbye of sorts.

You see, though we never met you it feels like we had. You are a key figure of our time living here. We knew when you were home. We knew when you were gone. We knew when you went to bed and when you woke up because we woke up when you did and were able to fall asleep once you did.

We even gave you a nickname.

Groot. You see we chose that name because we were sure that no human could make that much noise by simply walking around. We were certain only a large-tree person with very heavy limps and low coordination could create such consistently loud foot-falls.

But a couple of weeks ago I, the girlfriend, moved in and my friend accidentally went to your floor instead of ours. She knocked on the door and there you were… not a tree person but a whole human being. I’m sure you think I’m being a little bit of bitch, but we assure you we’re not mad. No. We are impressed.

Many nights, even mornings at 5am, we lay there wondering what it is you are doing. Most times it sounds like you’re reorganizing furniture. Have you gotten the way you want it yet? Is that fung shui on point yet? And then sometimes it sounds like you’re dropping all of your computer or extension cords in order of smallest to largest. And I swear, sometimes it seems like you are just pacing back-and-forth from kitchen to bedroom. Is it anxiety? Is it drugs? Do you not have a gym to go get cardio in at?

Groot… this is the guy who has been living underneath you for 8 months. We’ve come a long way. From that first night I moved in when you were bowling in your living room at 4am to just last night when you animorphed into a giant gorilla, drank and bottle of scotch, and pounded your fists on the floor. I’ll have these memories forever, Groot.

Remember that time when you played a game of marbles and then played a game of hopscotch at 12 pm and I punched the ceiling because all I wanted was to sleep? I’m sorry I punched the ceiling, Groot.

I hope you find the tree-woman or tree-man of your dreams, Groot. Life can be so lonely without a lover. It can cause you to do crazy things like lose your mind on acid and bang your pots and pans on the floor thinking you are god creating thunder at 4-6 a.m.

We were sincerely hoping for a final show the last night we stayed at 5450 N Winthrop. But you were nowhere to be heard, Groot. Why did you abandon us without so much as a goodbye foot stomp?!

We could say that we will miss waking up when you do, or being able to fall asleep when you do like you’re the child we never want to have. But the truth is, Groot, we won’t.

The last few nights in our new place…it’s beautiful the way we get to sleep through the night. But before we truly say goodbye forever, we want to leave you with a few things.

1) Google “Everyone’s Upstairs Neighbors” It’s about 2:30 minutes long. We think it could really give you some inspiration for the next people to live beneath you.

2) You obviously walk on your heels. That’s got to hurt, not just your feet, but also your back. Practice balancing out your weight on your whole foot. If you’re doing it right you shouldn’t hear noise when you walk. If you do, so can the people below you.

3) We both were so pissed off about you until the anger became funny. Not many people will feel this way in the future. Good Luck


(The back of the final piece of paper features this P.S.)


In our new place we are on the top floor. After living below a tree person we try to be very cognizant of how much noise we make on the floor. I hope our neighbors below appreciate our dedication.


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