Friday, July 06, 2007

And So It Begins...

We have lived in our current place for a year now. This has been the first time in six years that there hasn't been some unbearable issue with the other people in our building, and it's been wonderful. All that has ended now. A new reign of terror has begun.

We live in a duplex, and this has worked out pretty well. We weren't friends with the two girls who lived downstairs, but we were friendly and everyone seemed happy with it. We didn't bother them, they didn't bother us. Sadly, they moved out last weekend. The new tenants are a husband and wife and their two year old daughter. They just moved in yesterday, and already our life has been adversely affected by them. We are great respecters of space and property. We don't mess with anyone else's stuff. We expect the same in return. I don't have very much hope that this will be the case.

I'm not going to rant about the state of children today, or the parents who seem to bear no responsibility for their children. That's a page for another day. And as a preview, it would be a very long page. However, my thoughts about that do have some bearing here. The child in question is two, so I hold nothing against her. At that age, the parents should be the ones responsible for their behavior.

It starts out with the child running back and forth across the length of the building, shrieking at the top of her lungs. Then she gets out in to the communal hallway, runs screaming up the stairs to our front door and starts trying to open our door. I hear the mother telling her to be careful on the stairs. Not, "don't bother those nice people," just "be careful on the stairs." No, I have a better idea. Why don't you come get your shrieking kid and get her away from our door. The door opens directly into our living room, and silly us, we like a little peace and quiet in the evening.

Next, I hear someone on our back steps. It's the kid. These stairs run from the back yard up to our back door, where we have a private little deck. This is where my tomato plants and herbs are growing. It's private. It's ours. Not anymore. This child is out there completely alone, digging dirt out from the planters with the tomatoes. Who the hell lets a two year old run around alone in the backyard? Where the hell are her parents? This may sound extreme, but if anything happens to those f***ing tomatoes, I'm going to lose it. Seriously.

I'm trying to be understanding about all the noise related to moving, because I know that's difficult. But the moving truck sitting in the driveway beeping (you know, that obnoxious beeping that you get when backing up? They weren't backing up, they were just beeping) under our bedroom window at ten-thirty last night? Not cool.

They have apparently decided that they want the parking spaces we've been using for the past year. Now, I don't really care which side of the flipping driveway I'm on, but is there absolutely no courtesy anymore? Ask. That would have been polite.

They have decided to keep the communal front door locked when they are home, which appears to be all the time. How do people pay rent when they don't have jobs? I really would like to get on that train. I don't care about the front door except that the lock has no key. When I park on the street, I can't get in to my house anymore.

There are two storage areas in the basement. One for us, one for them. We don't have a lot of stuff, but it's there in a small, yet obvious pile in a corner. I went down this morning to find that they had piled ALL THEIR SHIT from floor to ceiling in our storage unit. I can't even see my stuff, let alone get to it. There isn't a speck of anything in their storage unit directly to the right. What kind of people do that? "Huh, someone else's stuff is here. Oh, well. Too bad."

I'm just at a loss. I don't know how other people can behave this way. I don't know how to talk to them about this with out starting an on-going feud. I just want a little respect from these people. Is that so wrong?


Kate said...

want i should send down some "friends" to help convince your neighbors that finding their manners might be a good idea? they probably sat down on them, and couldn't find them after that. it'd be so easy to look for their common sense, since their heads are already up there...

ccr in MA said...

Just want to send sympathy. The last place I lived, I had bad neighbors, too. Why do people have to be like that? I'll cross my fingers for you.

Jennifer said...

I just want to say that I would be pretty embarrassed (and apologize a million times) if my kid tried to open someone's door or dig in their garden. (We don't even let our dog run up to people unless they go to pet her first.) People are thoughtless!

Kali said...

I vote for writing it down. Sleep on it, edit it, and then leave a welcome tray of cookies with the letter. If you don't do this for yourselves, who will? Maybe it didn't occur to them that there is no key for the front door lock--As for the child, she is old enough to take direction from adults other than her parents. Since they have been too busy/occupied/frazzled with moving (I am being charitable, here) it would be a kindness to all concerned if you helped the child learn sound and space boundaries such as outside voices should be used outside and your porch is your special private place, not a public park. -- Repeat ad nauseum with a smile and a firm redirection to her own area...good luck. I do not believe people are mean, just thoughtless.

Heather said...

Thanks for the sympathy! I really can't understand why people are rude, but it seems like a national epidemic these days. We have spoken with these people, and I guess they're not complete ogres, but they really aren't very nice or particularly smart.

Kate- sure! Send 'em down! Will you come too?

ccr & jennifer- I'm glad there are still people who can see my point of view.

Kali- it's been a week and there has been little if any improvement. I'm all for letting things rest and work themselves out, but even a couple of conversations with these folks haven't helped. During the first porch incident, I was at the top of the stairs, kid was in the middle with the tomato plants in her paws, mom was at the bottom. I was asking please don't touch, she was shreiking that yes she could, and mom was just watching her. I can't imagine that what I wanted was a mystery to this woman, and she should have been more active about fixing it. I am not going to get in the habit of trying to teach or direct this child because 1.) it isn't my responsibility, 2.) parents rarely appreciate it.

The second porch episode was over the weekend. We were heading out and stopped to talk to the husband in the yard. The kid heads up the stairs to the tomato plants. He says "Those aren't our stairs, honey." But doesn't bother to turn around and get her down. Of course, she ignores him, laughs and does it anyway. Is that were their responsibility ends? They say no and it's out of their hands if she chooses to do it anyway? That isn't right, and I would challenge any one who thought it was. What am I supposed to do? Take this shreiking demon physically off my porch? I'd probably get sued. The overwhelming sense of entitlement that people seem to have never ceases to amaze me.

They do know there is no key, and don't care. Since we talked about that, they have continued to lock it and also filled the hallway and the stairs up the front of the building with their crap, including a rolled up rug. Now, not only are we inconvenienced, but in the event of a fire we're screwed.

I hate confrontation, so I'll probably end up just living with it. I just don't know.

Kali said...

Botheration! I don't suppose there could be any help from the landlord? The fire hazard is a serious concern......If the only way to keep my patio space safe from invasion was a locking gate, I'd consider it in a flash. Is that an option for you?.... How dreadful when home is a stressful place! I wonder how long their lease is for? ... I am a firm believer in the "It takes a village to raise a child" philosophy. I do it automatically without concern for whether or not it is appreciated. It probably isn't. If they have a shred of decency at all, these people should be mortified that someone else has to teach basic manners to the urchin. A part of me admits it is in self-defense when I redirect a child towards more suitable behavior. It just gets worse if you don't! MUCH sympathy and caring concern is sent your way.

Alex said...

We are all only avatars in someone else's personal video game. That's my theory. "Kids Today" (oh that phrase) have grown up with constant bombardment from "pretend people" (on TV, in games, etc.) that the idea that anyone besides themselves is any thing other than a holographic projection is alien to them.

Anonymous said...