Thursday, February 15, 2007

Too Loud For Comfort

What do you do when you have an inconsiderate neighbor who refuses to respect others? It's a dilemma that unfortunately disrupts the harmony of living in close quarters and if not handled carefully can lead to physical confrontations and emotional turmoil. Such is the case I have encountered after moving into a new apartment.

There are times we all crank up our favorite songs a little bit too loudly. We sing along, we dance, and when it's over we lower the volume to a respectable level. Not everyone loves the same music and your neighbors probably don't welcome your moment of self-indulgence. Being considerate you keep the self-indulgences to a minimum, and know that there are times your neighbors will indulge too. If you're asked to lower the volume you do. It's neighborly. It keeps the peace.

In my neighborhood the inconsiderate neighbor is forty-something Roger. He lives in the apartment building next door to mine. He loves listening to the Carpenters, disco, and National Public Radio. I have nothing against any of these but I want to listen to them when I want to listen to them not when Roger's pretending he's a chanteuse, a disco diva, or intelligent. Truth be told he sings flat, he's certainly not a genuine diva (though I think he'd argue this point), and I question if his IQ is higher than a single digit.

I, along with other neighbors, have spoken to Roger numerous times about the volume being too loud. He responds by being nasty, mean, and vulgar. He was so mean to one elderly neighbor she moved to another part of the building, afraid of what he might do. Another neighbor he tormented so badly by spitting at her and calling her names that she filed a restraining order. He had the audacity to file one against her. She too moved and he celebrated with blaring disco.

It has been suggested he purchase earphones with a very long chord so he could move about doing whatever he does in his apartment and still listen to whatever he wishes. He refuses to entertain such a thought.

I usually shut my windows, which does block out some of the sound, but during summer heat that really isn't an option. I could move but I have no guarantee there won't be another Roger in the new neighborhood. Besides, I really like my apartment.

My good friend has a neighbor who refuses to close and lock the door to their complex. This woman also refuses to put her trash in the proper respectable. She puts her household trash in the compost barrel whereupon the trash collectors refuse to empty it. What happens is someone in the building, usually my friend, has to fix it. This twenty-something woman has no regard for anyone, and feels she's entitled to do whatever she pleases. She's too young to be so mean. I guess she thinks she's immune to robbery, rapists, and rats. Though something tells me she'd change her behavior if something terrible happened. Hopefully it won't, but is that what it will take for her to change her behavior?

Living in close quarters there are bound to be things I do, you do, we all do that irritates our neighbors. Most times we are not doing it deliberately and if we know it bothers someone we do our best to remedy the situation. Compromise is key. There's nothing worse than warring neighbors especially when a simple act of consideration will bring resolve. Life's too short to live with constant tension and anger, and volumes at overbearing decibels.

Roger doesn't seem to understand his bad behavior is unnecessary. Like a defiant child he stomps his feet and rants and raves. After someone complains he likes to crank the volume louder just long enough to incite everyone to the breaking point. Maybe he never got enough attention as a child? That's something he and a therapist need to discuss. Hopefully he'll get into therapy soon.

Right now I can hear Roger and Karen Carpenter cooing "Close To You" as a duet. Oh Karen it’s nice to hear you singing, but not now. Maybe later I'll brush off my own Carpenters LPs and give you a spin. And Roger, please lower the volume and grow up. You’re too old to be acting like a child.

© MC528. All rights Reserved.

No comments: