Until very recently I was in neighbour heaven. I had the adorable girls on one side and the family with three kids on the other. It was perfect. The family with three kids never ever complain about the noise that my brat generates because they have gone deaf from their own children and the girl's loved my brat. Loved him. They would pull him over the fence and he would disappear into their house with him talking their ears off. They gave him costumes to play with, toys that he could throw to their dog, a dog that he could play with and they gave me lemons, basil, zucchini and parsley.
Two of the three children on the other side are boys and our children go back and forth on a semi regular basis and play very well together. Tracey and Ben are funny and nice and they swear and drink coffee - that pretty much seals our friendship. The only thing that gets me down about them is that they seem to have a really active social life, and I simply don't understand how that's possible with all those kids! I have one and I can't get out! Apart from that kind of soul destroying envy I love them.
There I was happy as a lark surrounded by other larks.
And then my girl's moved out. Away to some other lucky, lucky fucking suburb. And then the new neighbours moved in. We realised that they had definitely arrived when their friends helpfully rang their doorbell about 400 times and giggled like little shithead morons. This was at 11pm at night. Then they had a big party - no problem, after all they're new and wanting to show their house off. Except that they decided to have it in the back yard. Here is what they do for fun - yell. You think I'd be used to that with a five year old in the house. As it turns out there is something louder than a five year old and it's a bunch of 18 year old males all yelling at the same time and then laughing. And then yelling and then laughing. Oh what a great time they were having. Until my husband went out our front door, walked to their house and said "Fucking stop that". And walked back home again.
The next day a note of great contrition arrived in my letterbox - they were sorry and had gotten off to a bad start and they wanted to make sure that we would all be friends. They included their phone numbers. I texted them and said "no hard feelings". At this point their weren't any, after all we were young once. It may have been during the 80's when no one yelled for joy, but still.
We talked to them over the fence. Gabe said hello to them and they were friendly. It seemed ok. Except... that it wasn't, because they can't seem to be quiet. At all.
I am obviously getting older and don't really like lots of aberrant noise at odd times of the day. I like a zen silence to surround me at all times. After 7pm at night my zen silence falls. This is a very quiet neighbourhood. It is affluent and gentrified and I have managed to live here under false pretenses for quite a while and like all the silence that money buys you. I don't want a bunch of hooligan University students yahooing it up in the back yard. I don't want to listen to them play Super Mario Brothers and Scream "FUCK,YEAH!!" at the TV. Which they do. During the day, whilst the shell-like ears of my son twitch interestedly.
I want them to get lost and go and live in Thornbury or Brunswick West like any self respecting University student does. I want them priced out of this market and I don't understand how they can afford to live here anyway. I have nothing personal against them at all. They would be picturesque at a distance of 2.4 kilometers. Just like sheep.
My other lovely neighbours find them irritating too, as does the elderly gentleman that lives on the other side of them. A man so nice that he will probably never say anything. Ever. Luckily I have my husband who is a shift worker and so deeply committed to the small amount of sleep that he gets that he will stop at nothing to protect it. He isn't here every night though and so I lie in bed looking at the ceiling and boiling over with middle class rage.
Isn't that stupid of me? I am seriously an impotent human being when it comes to that type of confrontation, I don't want to get out of bed and knock on their door. I just want them to suddenly realise that they might be annoying the neighbours and stop. This is not going to happen of course, unless the message arrives in their heads in the form of a cleaver. I am heartened slightly by the fact that Tracey and Ben are also kept up by it and also have aggravated late night conversations about it which result in neither of them doing anything.
They don't look at me any more, the neighbours. Or say hello. They don't attempt any communication and I am assuming that is because they simply know that they can't behave and have given up the pretense of friendship. I saw parents arrive the other day with a vacuum cleaner and then take away washing. Which made me dislike their parents too.
So there we are. Everybody needs good neighbours, but not everybody has them. I hope you do.
(As if on cue a braying laugh from next door as someone capers or farts)