Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Learning what it means to love your neighbor

About two weeks ago, the barrage of banging from the other side increased dramatically.  Anytime a child would (with heavy foot fall) go up and down the stairs, the neighbor next door would bang on the wall.  We choose to ignore this passive aggressive action. This came to a head when my three year old refused to dress appropriately for the weather this morning.  No amount of bribery was working so we took his underwear clad behind outside and shoved on clothes much to his vocalized disgust.  My neighbor stepped outside and proceeded to berate my husband.  We needed to get our children under control.  She was going to call the police and file a noise complaint in the future.  My husband almost told her to please do.  So far all we've gotten is a lot of anger and threats.  No real actual dialogue.  No interest in getting to know us.  He did ask me if I wanted to say something and I said no.  You can't reason with someone that angry.

For those of you who are unaware, our city has a 24 noise ordinance.  This apparently doesn't apply to school children playing outside in residential areas because to my knowledge nobody has stopped the local schools from sending their children to recess.  So I'm not sure how applicable this law is particularly when dealing with the disabled who can be quite loud.  Canadian law is much more up to interpretation than US law is.

I welcome police involvement because I think mediation is necessary.  As I said, my neighbors have no interest in getting to know us.  They get upset that our children get up early (the earliest is 6) and get ready for school or church.  I've heard banging at 8 in the morning.  To my knowledge neither party works and the four year old doesn't attend school/preschool/daycare.  If they did get up in the morning, I think it would make a difference.

This whole experience has me learning how to turn my cheek, which is tough because our natural inclination is to defend ourselves especially if the party is in the wrong or being unreasonable.  On top of that, we're also called to love our neighbor whether we agree with them or not.  So now whenever we have these conflicts with them, I have to be as pleasant as possible even if they are not.  This is extremely hard, but it is our Christian duty.

I'm starting to understand how Aunty Em in the Wizard of Oz felt.  Elmira Gulch was being unreasonable about Toto, exaggerating the extent to which he was causing havoc.  "I'm all but lame from the bite on my leg."  Instead of working with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, she went to the law to have the dog destroyed.  Ms. Gulch was known for bullying her neighbors rather than working with them.  As Aunty Em said "For twenty-three years I've been dying to tell you what I thought of you!  But now...well, being a Christian woman, I can't say it."

I can't say it either of my neighbors.  Even if they show up with the police and a fine.


2 comments:

  1. You could print this out and slip it under their door. :) http://www.noisehelp.com/cheap-soundproofing.html

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure it will do much good. We're both renting from the same landlord. Part of the problem is the construction of the townhouses. We've tried to eliminate as much noise as possible but the stairs are literally sharing the same wall as their bedroom walls. The only thing I can suggest is rearranging their rooms or using white noise machines, but I don't think they would even if I suggested it.

      I've heard their vacuum, their dog, their children before. The problem isn't really the noise during the day. It seems to be the time of day. She said this morning "You are waking up an 11 month old child before the sun is up." Kinda an odd statement considering the sun isn't up until about 7:30. This isn't in the middle of the night, which we do hear the snow blowers and whatnot at about 3am during the winter. It's the morning when most have to get up.

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