On Saturday night the bogans across the road decided to hold another Billy Joel singalong after midnight. They do this every few months. They are in a flat on the first floor of their building diagonally across the road from my building, and I am on the second floor. They open the doors from their living room to their balcony and play their stereo loudly and sing along equally loudly. Perfectly normal suburban behaviour, or so I’m told.

The first time it happened, I walked over the road and tried to ask them politely to turn their music down. They ignored me, so I grew angry and yelled at them, which is about all you can do from down on the footpath. I’ve yelled at them at least twice more since then from the comfort of my balcony.

Living in high density inner city areas requires a different attitude about personal space than the attitude that prevails in the suburbs (where I lived as a child before growing out of it literally and metaphorically). Compromises should be made, and the rights of others should be recognised. For example:

  • I don’t put my washing machine on at midnight when I get home, because the noise would interupt my neighbours in my building – horizontally and vertically
  • I don’t play my music as loud as I would like to, because I like it loud sometimes but I don’t think I have the right to force everyone else around me to listen to my music
  • I don’t have the TV on as loud as I would like to late at night for the same reason
  • I don’t vacuum late at night or early in the morning on the weekends
  • I don’t leave my balcony doors open late at night when I have music on above a certain level
  • I talk with my neighbours about noise, and have even set my stereo to a certain level, then gone next door to actually hear what it sounds like in my next door neighbour’s place. He appreciated this and I now know how loud I can go without annoying him.

The point is that you can live and enjoy yourself while respecting the privacy and comfort of your neighbours. And if necessary, you can feel confident in asking them, telling them or even threatening them in order to make them treat you the same way. If you mistreat me, you may not like the response. If you initiate contempt, it will be reciprocated in ways you may not like.

When they ignore you at 1am, the best you can do is tell them the police are on their way. In my experience, the police hate having to deal with trivial matters and they have little patience for noisy idiots. They are supportive of residents with reasonable intentions.

The bogan morons have a choice: learn some sophisticated inner city manners or go back to slumburbia where they belong, where they can be oblivious to those around them.

go back to the suburbs

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