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Someone Needs To Introduce These Neighbors To “Silent Discos”

, , , , , , | Friendly | July 14, 2023

When I moved in with my girlfriend (who is now my wife), it took some time to get adjusted. Less than a year before, she had been forced out of her campus flat (since she wasn’t studying anymore) and had managed to get an apartment from a special social rental corporation for “working youngsters”. The rule was that you needed to be out of college, be under thirty-five years old, and either have a job or be disabled. Their apartments and maisonettes were located in a relatively decent neighbourhood which mostly consisted of family houses. Despite it being a very small apartment, it seemed quite okay.

So we thought.

First of all, you might know that bicycles are quite a thing here. All bicycles of our “stairs” (about twelve apartments with one or two people living in each of them) had to be cramped into one small shed. For some reason, people also put garbage in the shed that they couldn’t get rid of fast enough. There was even a spare door in that shed — God knows why. Of course, trying to get your bike in or out of it was not that easy. It easily resulted in bicycle dominoes or in actual damage. One of our more responsible neighbours put a new saddle on his bike, only to find it damaged within a few days.

The stairwell, right in front of our door, wasn’t treated much better. Someone (we never found out who) had the habit of putting bags full of garbage in there, suspiciously stuffing them away underneath the stairs. The housing corporation said they couldn’t do anything except send around letters not to do so. Apparently, hanging up a camera, like in the first flat I lived in, was too difficult? Of course, I got fed up and took action in the form of hanging up a note that the stairwells were no garbage dump. Nothing changed, and apparently, I was “passive-aggressive” for doing this.

Third and worst of all, the apartments were not really soundproof. The walls were thin, and everything was built around a small plaza, which was prone to cause echoes if people in the street were loud. Typical for the era in which these small apartment blocks had been built, bedrooms were all on the side of the walkway. So, if someone had friends over and they all went home in the middle of the night with quite a bit of alcohol (or other stuff) in their system, we were bound to be woken up from it. Heck, if anyone was just standing and talking on that walkway, we would already wake up from it.

The upstairs neighbours had a habit of putting on their radio really loudly. We had to complain several times before they finally got the message. During the day, this was bad enough, but a few times, they even did it during the night. They also owned a small dog that wasn’t properly trained and yapped ALL. THE. TIME. (Nowadays, we own a doggy from the same breed ourselves, and it barely barks or yaps, so it’s really a matter of training them.)

The neighbour on the left side. [Neighbour #1], clearly smoked weed every day. We could smell it on our balcony. Over time, he also developed the habit of putting on his radio… really loudly! It was always around 7:00 pm. He also got into verbal fights with the neighbour on his other side, [Neighbour #2], accusing him of setting his car on fire.

The reason for their falling out was that [Neighbour #2] had the habit of coming home from work really late at night, after which he — guess what — put on his radio really loudly!

One night, we woke up from the police knocking on [Neighbour #2]’s door after [Neighbour #1] had called the police about the music. Apparently, the guy was so intoxicated that he didn’t even notice the police ringing his doorbell and knocking on the door for about five minutes. In less than a week, the two neighbours shouted insults and accusations at each other. The same day, they made up on a whim and offered each other a beer as if fights like this were extremely normal. Meanwhile, we were not feeling so safe around these two anymore.

The worst offender, however, was our neighbour on the right side, [Neighbour #3]. Because she always — drum roll — put on her radio really loudly! After some talking to her — which wasn’t easy with our conflict-avoiding nature — she took it down a bit and even warned us when she was having a birthday celebration. But then, something changed. She started hosting parties at her apartment for no apparent reason. The music was extremely loud, and the guests were even louder. They also went onto the walkway, talking even louder. There were nights we barely got any sleep. We never found out what caused the change, but we suspected that it was just to spite us.

And all these stories about loud music only cover the people living directly next to us. The downstairs neighbours rarely caused any noise, so it wasn’t just the poor building or us being sensitive. My girlfriend told me that before I moved in, there was a summer night when she couldn’t sleep because some idiot in one of the other apartment buildings hosted a complete party with a DJ in his garden — which was on the side of the plaza, mind you.

It was all bad enough for me, who had to get up at 6:00 am every weekday to go to my job. My girlfriend, on the other hand, was chronically ill and really needed her rest to get even the simplest thing done.

One night, when we barely could sleep again, my girlfriend broke down and told me how much she hated living there. When she had moved in, she had already told me that she did so because she had no other choice, but now she even admitted that she had wanted to leave as soon as she had moved in. I suggested staying a week at my parent’s house while they were on holiday; we couldn’t afford a real holiday ourselves at the time and she really needed to get away for some time.

We were very happy to move away from that place, about sixteen months after I had moved in with her. We never looked back. And at least the description “working youngsters” made a lot more sense now, since many of these neighbours had proven to be completely immature.

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