We used to live next door to a young couple and their dog.
They were really nice people, friendly but not overly so. We weren’t best friends or anything, but we knew each others’ names and chatted over the fence once in a while.
They were getting married not too long after we moved in that summer, and one night, their friends had a joint stag-staggette for them. They were picked up early in the evening by a limo, then dropped off home about 4 am the next morning. They were rip-roaring drunk, as was the other couple with them, and the four of them were incredibly loud and foul-mouthed. (Did I mention that this was at 4 am?!) But it only lasted about ten minutes, which was basically all the time necessary for all four to get into the house and pass out.
And that was it for noise from next door.
A year later, baby number one came along. And a year after that, baby number two. Two adults, two very young children and one dog next door. All of them were quiet. Oh, of course one of the babies would cry at times, especially at bedtime. The dog would bark at times as well, but those sounds didn’t seem steady or obtrusive.
Then, almost two years ago now, that couple moved away, children, dog and all.
New neighbours moved in. Two adults, FOUR kids. I introduced myself when they first arrived, but only the woman actually spoke to me, and quite briefly, at that. The man simply gazed at me blankly. Not a word. The four kids are just as bad with conversation and politeness. They just don’t seem to get those concepts.
One kid, who looks to be in his early twenties, has a cigarette or two in the backyard almost every day. Another kid (or maybe the same one?) clips his fingernails outside about once a week. One of the younger ones listens to crap music on a ridiculous tinny radio (what, no iPod?!) that blares out her open bedroom window frequently enough to piss me off.
They have a bunch of birds in a huge cage that they set outside every morning in good weather. The damn birds don’t shut up. Ever. They’re so loud I sometimes hear them when the weather is bad and we’re all inside, too.
These people set up their lawn chairs in their back yard right beside the fence that separates our two yards. Unfortunately, it’s only a waist-high fence. Sometimes they turn the chairs to face my yard so they can watch the setting sun or something. Last summer, their grandmother visited for about six weeks, and she sat in one of those chairs, right beside the fence and my yard, and smoked most of each day away.
They also barbecue almost every night in the summer. This requires most of the family to be outside, looking at the barbecue, which, because of its position on their patio, means that they are looking into my yard. There’s always a lot of smoke from their barbecue, smoke that drifts over my yard because of the prevailing winds around here.
I feel like I can’t be in my own backyard without being watched.
When the man washes his truck, he sometimes blocks the entire shared driveway by parking it straight out from his single garage. Or else, he parks the truck sideways but halfway in front of my garage door so DD can’t get her car in or out.
And not one single person in that family knows how to shut a door properly or walk normally up a flight of stairs. We share a wall, so all I hear is SLAM and STOMP STOMP STOMP from them. Even DD at her worst isn’t as noisy as they are.
I saw my old neighbours in the grocery store a couple of weeks ago. They had just had yet another baby. I told them that I missed them very much.
Maybe I should live on a island all by myself.