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Love Thy Neighbour

February 28, 2011

It is said you can’t choose your parents. Well you can’t choose your neighbours either. Here’s my story.

Some of you may remember I had a lovely young neighbour living beneath me called Karen. She died suddenly in august last year. It was a devastating time for all of us in our small block, but life goes on, because two months after her death, a new person moved in. It wasn’t long before he started playing music loud enough and with a heavy enough base to come through my floor. To be fair he didn’t play it for hours at a time, but I still wasn’t happy. My previous experience of battling with a nightmare neighbour for several years meant I was very wary of broaching this subject. But I knew one day I’d have to.

The opportunity came a few weeks ago when I left my block briefly to put out some stuff for recycling. As I returned to the block and opened the door, I turned around to find this woman was behind me. I knew she wasn’t a friend of any of my older neighbours and although she could’ve known the new neighbour who I called noisy reggae music man, I needed to be sure. So I asked if I could help her. She snapped back: “It’s none of your business!” Dear reader, my eyebrows nearly shot off my face they were raised so high. I should’ve known as soon as I clapped eyes on her that she was a wrong ‘un: she had a face like a bag of spanners set in concrete. Now my face was starting to harden, but I would’ve had to go some way to catch up with this gobby madam. So I said I was just asking and again, spanner said: “It’s none of your business!” Now my jaw was on the floor. Right! I thought. You’ve had your chance! Now all bets are off! So I told her straight: “It is my business, ‘darling.’ I live here!” and how did spanner respond? “It’s still none of your business!” I was now apoplectic. The little temper I had left was on a thread. With gritted teeth, I told her how we’d had problems in the past and I had to be sure the person coming into this block was legit. She back peddled slightly: “Oh, oh right. But I’m not going to cause any trouble am I?” And on it went, as we both started up the stairs to the first level, just as the door opened. It was noisy reggae music man and he turned out to be an absolute delight, unlike spanner, who I finally realised was his girlfriend. He was very friendly and said he realised his music playing can be loud at times. He said that if it was ever a problem, I should let him know. I would like to have said more, but I was afraid spanner would’ve gone for my throat.

The music can still be an irritant at times, and I imagine it’s hell for the people living below him, but I’ll only go down and tell him if it gets to a stupid level for a prolonged spell really late at night, which hasn’t happened so far. I hope I won’t have to bump into spanner too much, but maybe I need to deal with her differently. Be really kind and open. Smile, even if she never will. Kill her with love – yes! That’s it!

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