Hey, Shut Up! (Tips On Neighbourly Etiquette)

Based on a number of once hilarious but now numerous and incredibly grating situations wherein the flat downstairs have shown a severe lack of basic respect for everyone in this house, I’ve decided to write something…

I’m well nice, save for my more awkward, shy and uncool moments. And sometimes the term “blunt b*tch!” applies to me more than any other person in this world. But when being a jerk is noticeable even to me, that’s when you know there’s a serious problem.

So, as practice for the soon-to-happen bitchfight, here are some tips I’ve formed on Neighbourly Etiquette, which are in no way aimed directly at the residents of Flat 2 in a shared house in South Manchester.

1. Unofficial Noise Abatement Orders

My flatmates and I are a handsome bunch. We’re cordial, smart, and keep personal parties exactly that: personal. Sometimes we’re noisy – but reasonably. And when we want to be rowdy, we take it out on the world and go out, rather than creating insomnia for the other residents. You see, when you insist on your white male friends practising really bad dancehall sets that keep stopping and starting in the evening just so’s to impress them with your space – but still they won’t sleep with you – (we all know this because you also like to TALK REALLY LOUDLY ON THE PHONE ABOUT THIS WITH THE WINDOW OPEN, JUST BELOW OUR BATHROOM WINDOW) – and you have all this audible fun and *not* invite us round, of course we’ll take issue.

Yet we’d never go so far as to complain to the landlord about it. We’re cool, see, and we understand your predicament. We were even nice about the time your dickhead mates kept slamming the weak-ass door at 5am on a weekday night, talking loudly like actual dickheads about all the drugs you’d taken. Again, we understand. So when you complain about us having a film on – once! – that’s a bit reverberate-y in your kitchen at 8pm, then expect aloofness from us. You’re complete jerks. And jerks who won’t stop abusing kindness. And so, like whack-a-moles: these jerks need to be hammered back into place.

Memo/moral of the story: Keep consistent, legally-upstanding notes of actual noise disturbances post 11pm, and send to City Council next month.

2. That’s When Good Neighbours Become Good Friends

The above applies to Australian soap operas. They become good friends, usually, when they sleep with each other. But for us it applies when members of Flat 1 and Flat 3 join forces after bumping into each other in the corridor, and we’ve had our situation reciprocate again: with one on the phone being berated by the landlord about another mythical complaint from Flat 2. This time, it was my turn to knowingly acknowledge her long, pained and despairing facial expressions while Girl from Flat 3 was cutting out of the converation to say hello.

“Hey.”

“Heya.”

“You OK-”

“Yeah, Flat 2. They said we’ve been making too much noise. Can you lot hear us in Flat 1?”

“No, even though you’re directly below our living room. Why?

“It’s the landlord. Flat 2’s been wailing. I’m sorting this out.”

“Oh god! The wankers. Not again.”

…Cue mutual rolling of eyes.

Memo/Moral of the story: If you want your neighbours to like you and not pretend to that there’s no spare baking powder, plates or milk or internet, then don’t complain about ALL OF THEM all the time.

3. The Postal Service

Wake up and collect your own goddamn mail. Or simply, return the favour ONCE so I don’t jump on my High Horse, Mr High Horse the Third, and rage about it.

I had the pleasure of being woken up three times – as did Guy from Flat 3 – this morning for some big-ass parcels. Hey, nice if you can afford it, right? Fine. Then take some adult, big-ass responsibility for them. If you know you’ve ordered something important and URGENT that’s arriving through early-dispatch on a Saturday morning, don’t get so wasted on Friday night (see point 1) that you cannot wake up and collect your parcels personally again. Because what this then leads to is Next Time, I Will Actually Leave The Boxes Out In The Rain And Also Invite Number 35’s Jack Russells To Relieve Themselves On Them.

And I will tell Graham/Dan/Ian the postmen to do the same. It’s  fine: they’ve seen me often enough over the last three months (usualy, in pyjamas and a towel) to assume I am Flat 2’s in-house postlady.

Memo/Moral Of The Story: It’s my (fake) signature on those parcel receipts, bitches. It your own fault that you didn’t make friends with the postal delivery services first.

4. Your Own Bin Is For Your Own Sh*t

Or maybe you should stop eating and buying so much crap with giant, eco-unfriendly wrappers.

Memo/Moral Of The Story: Don’t act surprised when we haven’t taken your bin out for you on Friday morning because you forgot again.

The golden rule is this: humans, generally, want to get along. Living in the same converted space together as 20-somethings – making our own paths in life, figuring out what we want and need, not owning said living space and probably, planning the next move – the last thing we want is a reminder of a petty world that screws us over at every turn.  The world revolves with people on it, not at the centre of it. It’s just a case of letting them know that, without them reacting badly, thinking once again, they’re at the centre of the world…

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