Monday, March 31, 2014

4 Ways My Neighbors Are Driving Me Crazy

It's hard to be thankful for much in our tiny (53 m2 / 570 ft2) expensive (€1350 / $1850) Parisian apartment, but one nice thing is that we have no one below us. Our abode is perched on a two-story arched walkway, which means the pitter patter of little feet won't bother the neighbors early in the morning.

4 Ways My Neighbors Are Driving Me Crazy: And yes, the French are just as loud as Americans

However, our neighbors still manage to bother us. I'm sure they don't realize it, or at least I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. Here's their list of offenses:

1. Random drilling

I understand the need for home improvements, particularly in a Parisian building that's 50+ years old (which, by the way, is considered new around here). But I don't understand their timing. They drill every day for 5 minutes, at a different time of the day. It's been going on for weeks. What kind of project are they doing? Wouldn't you think most of your drilling would be focused on 2-3 intense home improvement days and then you could PUT THE BLASTED THING AWAY and stop bursting my eardrums? And why do they always have to drill when I'm on the phone?

2. Shouting in the hallways

Canyons have quieter echos than our hallway. I don't know how anyone can even hold a conversation with the cacophony, but they certainly try. And they raise their voice to compensate, which only makes it worse. And here I've been living with the guilt that Americans are loud talkers. The French are, too! At least the ones who live in my building.

3. Taking forever to open their door

When I first moved in, I admit I had some trouble with my freaky key. It looked better suited to locking away King Joffrey in a dungeon (hey, one can dream) and took a while to get used to. But how can this guy STILL be having problems with his key? Every night it's the same jingle-jangle for 5 minutes.

My real problem is I've had a fear of dogs since I was a child and the jangling of keys sounds like a dog on the loose. Even within the confines of my apartment walls, I still fear the rabid animal that is going to attack me.

4. Slamming the trash chute

Were you born in a barn? At least you're disposing of your trash in the proper place but I'm not handing out awards yet. Open the chute, insert your trash, and close it. Don't slam it or, worse, let go of it so that it slams even more loudly and then echoes in the hall for hours.

In all fairness, I have to admit to the things I do that probably annoy my neighbors:

1. I go to the bathroom at all hours of the night. Thank you, pregnancy. And thank you, thin walls. I can hear my neighbors pee so I'm sure they can hear me. Sorry.

2. My 19-month-old son's favorite hobby, aside from vacuuming and randomly FaceTiming people on the iPad, is banging on pots and pans. The sound is just a little sweeter at 6 in the morning. Sorry.

3. And from back in my partying days, I can't even begin to list all the things I need to apologize for. But probably the biggest offense is ABBA's Greatest Hits karaoke on repeat. Sorry.

First world problems, I know. But still, these things grate. What annoying things do your neighbors do?

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Vicki Lesage, Author