SOMEDAY, I’LL LIVE IN A HOUSE

Today is one of those days I covet. I covet my neighbor’s house… literally.

I live in a fairly quiet neighborhood in an older townhome. My neighbors are career people and mostly quiet. If a newbie moves in and disturbs the peace (say, drives in every weekend at 4 a.m. with his stereo on full blast and wakes us all up, or has a party with sustained, extrememly loud noise for over an hour), I know one to five of these neighbors will introduce themselves to the newbie and explain the rules. DO NOT DISTURB. If someone is too noisy in this complex, they don’t last for too long. Occasionally, however, someone moves in and decides the rules do not apply to him.

Let me clarify. It’s one thing to be able to hear someone else’s music… faintly in the distance. It’s not so disturbing. It’s an entirely different issue when I am inside my apartment and I can not only hear the WORDS of the song clearly, but FEEL the music as well. I do not appreciate the latter.

It started at 10:30 a.m. when my windows began to vibrate. I turned on my TV, but had trouble hearing over the thumping music. By noon, I was more than slightly aggrivated as I was trying to eat my cereal with “Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby” assaulting my ears. I’d had enough. I walked out the front door and, usually, the perpetrator is someone who is vacuuming/washing their car with the doors wide open (who obviously don’t understand about accoustics or manners). This time, the parking lot was clear. The music was so loud, however, that it made my head throb. I looked down toward the pool area and could see a group down there, so I called the office. I asked her, very sweetly, when their pool party would be over and she asked, “What pool party?” I explained about the annoyance, and she said I was not the first person to complain and she’d paged the “courtesy officer,” to come take care of it. (apparently, she must have been the phone service that the complex uses when they are out on property or something, read on).

That was at 12:15 p.m. It is now 1:40 p.m. and the noise hasn’t stopped. I’m about to call again. (My guess it’s an apartment near the pool and someone set their stereo speakers in the window to enjoy music poolside. I’ve seen it at other complexes).

When you live in a house, you can play your stereo however loudly you like, and nobody cares. Your neighbor can do the same, and for the most part, unless there’s an open window, you can’t hear his music either. Everybody wins. This is one of many reasons I would love to live in a house.

In an apartment complex, however, people feel entitled to act as if they live in a house. They give no mind to who’s sleep/reading/work, they are disturbing, they feel entitled to enjoy their music with the bass boost up to full volume — whenever they feel like it. EXAMPLES: I once lived in an apartment complex that housed young singles, newlyweds and college students. One floor down and two apartments over… a guy had one of those alarms that get louder if they aren’t shut off and they run for a full two hours. The alarm would go off on the weekends (he didn’t sleep at home on the weekends) at 5:45 a.m. and blast for two hours, disturbing up to twenty people in the surrounding apartments. After coming home Mondays to a door full of nasty notes, he made an effort to turn off his alarm when he went out Friday nights. Another time, same complex, the guy next door had a hot date over and turned his stereo on so loud (so they could hear it in the shower, he said), the bass vibrations knocked a picture off my wall (that barely missed my head when it fell). I went over and pounded on the door (with the broken picture in my hand) and finally, he came to the door and I held up the picture and told him to turn it down. His brow creased, as if to say, “Wow, I didn’t think it was that loud.” The four people who had lined up behind me to complain (including the girl from across the hall) seemed to reinforce my point. Yeah, right. And yet another time, in the same complex, the guys downstairs had guitars… with amps. On the night I was trying to make flight plans at 1 a.m. to get home to see my dying brother, I couldn’t even have a conversation on the phone until after I called the “courtesy officer” to come make them shut up. Forget about trying to sleep in my apartment on weekends.

Apartment dwellers pay attention — until you live in your own house, with your own four walls that are separate and detached from your neighbor’s walls… and you no longer share a floor/ceiling with someone — you are not entitled to share your love of Eminem with all those who live around you, and especially not at 4 a.m. I’m sorry, you have your rights, blah, blah, blah, but not in an apartment complex. In apartment living, you must learn to be CONSIDERATE and to SHARE space with up to a thousand other people. Don’t be arrogant enough to think that the lady next door with the infant son, or the elderly couple across the hall love to feel your music. They don’t. If want to have your “musical freedom” that badly… save your money and buy a house. In the meantime, play nice with others, please.

Okay… that’s my rant. Someday, I will live in a house, but until then…

And, it’s 2:45 and I just called the office again, but this time, the apartment worker on the phone said, “yes! We are having a pool party in appreciation of our residents!” I told her I appreciated that, but asked when it would end. She seemed confused, but said 4 p.m. We’ll have peace and quiet at 4 p.m. This resident didn’t appreciate their pool party, and the other people walking around in the parking lot trying to see where the noise was coming from didn’t either. I’m hoping this will be the last DJ’d pool party.

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