What do you gain from being a difficult neighbor?
My mixed opinions on removing police from neighbor disputes
Writer’s note: This post was originally published on Medium’s “We Need to Talk” on July 27, 2020.
With my head buried and my fingers tapping away, I was in a zone. I knew I needed to pay my bills and meet this deadline, and I really needed to get this project completed. I could hear the gentle sound of cars driving by on my residential street and occasionally a bird chirping. It was the perfect background noise to stay focused. Then completely out of nowhere, I heard a guitar playing — badly. I shrugged.
People drive by all the time, playing all sorts of music out of their windows. I knew it would pass as soon as the corner light turned green. But the guitar just kept on playing, and I was losing focus. Finally I looked out of my window to figure out where the car was, and it turned out to be an upstairs neighbor and her tenant.
I thought it odd that this neighbor decided that in a two-part lawn, with a perfectly nice tree in the shade to sit under and plenty of other resting spots, she and her tenant only wanted to sit right in front of my window so he could have guitar practice. I was pissed. I leaned out of my window and asked them if they would move further down. It would still be in front of my condo unit facing the front of the street, but it would be more toward a closed window and less distracting. The response I got was about what I’d expect from the guitar-playing tenant who thought it was perfectly acceptable to once peer into my picture windows. This is not someone who understands couth.
I am not Michelle Obama. When people go low, I match their energy.
The three of us do not get along. We have for the most part avoided each other for the better part of a year, so why I was randomly getting this unsolicited instrumental concert is anybody’s guess. We’d already had a feud over a photo allegation (longer story that involved a teenager wearing a mask bigger than his face while walking a dog in the front yard, and is too ridiculous to explain here).