“A good neighbor is a fellow who smiles at you over the back fence, but doesn’t climb over it.”
– Arthur Baer
The building that contains my flat is typical student digs: old, in less than mediocre shape, and seldom improved or upgraded in any way (see my 30 year old furnace). But it sets itself apart in one way: the landlord prefers to rent to young married couples and the occasional small family. His logic, not entirely unjustified, is that couples and families are more likely to treat the place as a home rather than some dump you rent for a couple of semesters before moving on and mostly likely leaving a substantial amount of damage behind.
As a result, a sort of culture has sprung up in our building. People are largely quiet, go to bed early, take pains not to annoy one another. Many of us are done with school, finishing up internships, or generally in the transitional stage that comes after university when one gets a Real Job, but is still laughably poor. There are rare cases like My Lord and Lady Stompington, but when they rear their heads, people in the building are likely to mention such behavior to the managers, who in turn mention it to the perpetrators, who in turn usually manage to shape up. It’s a watered down version of Suburbia, everyone plays by the rules.
That is, they did, until the landlords decided to take a risk and let the flat next door to mine to four younger girls still at university. Our tranquility is shattered.
The other night I’d turned in and just barely shut my eyes when suddenly I heard one of them start to tune her violin and then practice scales for 45 minutes. Luckily the couple beneath them just had a baby and was able to invoke the Wrath of Mothers and the performance hasn’t been repeated at night.
Where I used be able to wind down at 10pm, that is the hour they they are just livening up. They crank up their music and have the occasional impromptu dance party. The opera (at reasonable levels), Edith Piaf, and Ella Fitzgerald, and plenty of indie rock I don’t object to in the slightest – but for the lateness of the hour. The Miley Cyrus, on the other, I object to strenuously, particularly because of the lateness of the hour. No one needs to listen to that at 11pm (or indeed ever) with the stereo cranked up.
Don’t they realize that the rest of us are old and boring?!