We feel we have been very patient with your child running and jumping in the early hours of the morning for the time you have been living here. We realise only a child but a bit of respect both for the owner and neighbours would be appreciated as the walls are thin and things echo.
We will be taking this to the Body Corp.
The above is a real and actual letter we received from our real and actual fuckwits for neighbours.
I’ve been thinking about how I might like to respond. I have an idea or two but I’m afraid I might come across as impolite.
And then, there are the things I really, really can’t say.
This isn't the letter I want to write. But this is the one they're going to get.
We were saddened to receive your recent letter. But not shocked.
In all our years together and the various houses we have lived in, we can not recall ever having neighbours who were so unfriendly. To be accused of not having ‘respect’ by people who refuse to give a simple hello or a smile should we happen to be outside at the same time seems incredible to us. To say that you have been ‘very patient’ when the only time we have ever been alerted to the fact that you could hear us at all was when you rang the doorbell at around 8am in the morning to tell us, very rudely, that you could “hear everything that is going on up there!” seems equally incredible. Especially when the ‘everything’ in question was the song “Puff The Magic Dragon” playing on my three-year-old son's stereo.
As to your complaint, the running and jumping you speak of we actually refer to in this family as ‘playing.’ What you are hearing is two very young children, one who is three and the other who is one, playing together. Yes, they rise early. Generally between 6am and 7am in the morning. Do we wish it was later? Of course! We would love it if they slept in. Unfortunately, they don’t.
And unfortunately, you are finding that noise carries. Do we want to disturb you? Of course not. We are sympathetic to your plight. But here is the tricky part. Exactly what would you have us do about it? How would you suggest we fix the problem? We turn the television on and the kids will often sit and watch quietly but we can’t force them to do this and we wouldn’t want to. So we are genuinely perplexed as to how you think we could solve this issue. Would you have us tie them down until an hour you deem appropriate to resume our normal living? At what time would that be exactly?
We have two very young and energetic boys who are playing in their own home. Don’t they have the right to do that? Are our rights to carry on as a normal family in our own home any less than your rights to sleep in when most of the world is up and preparing for the day ahead?
The EPA website talks about noise restrictions prior to 7am in the morning. But even then, they never once mention the noise of children. They talk about music late at night, machinery early in the morning. Children running and jumping? No. In fact, children aren’t mentioned AT ALL. Because you can’t regulate kids.
The issue, as we see it, is this. You have bought a townhouse which shares walls with the property on either side of you. And these townhouses have obviously been cheaply built in terms of insulation. If you weren’t prepared to hear some living noises, then it seems you have made quite a major error in choosing to purchase this kind of property. This is unfortunate for you. But not really our problem.
We are reasonable people. If you had come to us early on, let us know that you could hear us, perhaps tried to work out a compromise in a civil and friendly manner, we would have bent over backwards to help you out. But instead, the only contact we have had is a rude early morning visit from a scowling woman in a dressing gown and now this letter. Oh, and let’s not forget, banging on the walls of my three-year-old son’s bedroom. You have scared him on more than one occasion. Thank you for that.
In fact, that’s the most upsetting part. Some mornings we had been closing our three-year-olds bedroom door to stop him from playing in there so as to minimise the disturbance to you. We had sought to keep our son out of his own bedroom in an effort to ‘respect’ you. But what respect have you shown us?
As we said, we were not shocked at this letter. But we are sad. We can’t imagine living a life where the sound of children playing would become the cause of such angst and ill will. Perhaps if you had tried to get to know us, your neighbours, you would appreciate just how lovely the sound of our two little boys playing together really is.
Good luck with the Body Corp.
So, did I behave myself?
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