Monday, July 30, 2007

Thy Urban Neighbor – the labors of love, push and shove for quiet enjoyment

(Generalissimo is posting an entry on the blog today--enjoy!)

After taking the morning train, working 9-to-5, and taking another one home again, what do I find waiting for me at home? Well, not someone lovely such as Dolly Parton or Sheena Easton at her respective peak. Nope. Instead my neighbor greets me everyday with his stereo system, replete with a subwoofer, which shakes my floor. I see red. I want to give him a knuckle sandwich and a karate-style whuppin’.

The angel of my better nature wins out, thankfully. I calmly, yet sternly, complained to the management-- who after receiving series of letters from me-- settled the matter to my satisfaction. Ah, the sounds of silence… The whole time, I was wondering, how can this guy not realize how rude he is? Maybe he feels entitled? Perhaps he needs an education about being a good neighbor?

Neighbors can make or break one’s quality of life, especially for urban apartment and condo dwellers. Neighbors are unknown territory – the X factor in the equation for happy urban dwelling. One can make calculations about rent, community, schools, night life but the persons next door, above and below are beyond the pale of one’s own control. A move-in is a leap of faith of sorts. Thankfully, most of my experiences have been positive and neighbors through action and restraint have made my quest for quiet enjoyment a reality.

So what do good neighbors do?

Good neighbors watch out for the safety and wellbeing of everyone by reporting criminal activity. Good neighbors play audio systems at unobtrusive levels. When having a party, they have the courtesy to tell you in advance. Good neighbors are often invisible. Better neighbors are friendly and may become friends. But hey, I’ll take a good neighbor any day over the negative alternative.

Bad neighbors can turn a good man bad with late night gatherings, loud music, untidy habits that bring vermin and insects, et cetera. Bad neighbors are in one’s face – via his/her inconsiderate actions. Bad neighbors have to go! They are bane and fill a person with anger that can ruin one's ability to have inner peace.

Are you a good neighbor? Do you take out the trash before it starts to reek? Do you run a fan when cooking heavily scented foods? Do you play audio systems at unobtrusive levels? Do you think it is all about you, because you pay rent? Or do you stop swinging your fist right before reaching the other guy’s nose? Remember between me and you is we, neighbor.


Blogger Arthur Willoughby said...

Boy, do I feel your pain.

I've blogged about this frequently. My luck with neighbors would be hilarious if it didn't drive me so insane.

I've had a series of neighbors (one wall away) take up piano and organ. I kid you not. Any apartment I've ever lived, other people's stereos have been my bane, and we're not talking incidental background music, but rather (as you said) floor-shaking, sub-woofer hell.

My opinion is that anyone who insists on living this way should own a home. You sacrifice certain things living in an apartment, and one of those things is living as if you're the sole inhabitant of planet Earth.

We have a neighbor upstairs who, every Saturday between 3 and 4 p.m., plays incredibly loud music for approximately 20 minutes. Then it ends. I can't explain it, but it's a step up from previous neighbors, so we'll take it.

How was the matter ultimately resolved? Did they kick the guy out?

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the laugh. Maybe the Saturday afternoon noisemaker is trying to get motivated while cleaning the house?

Hang in there.

2:44 PM  

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