Monday, March 8, 2010

Okay, so I didn't yank her by her hair.

...But I did call the cops.
(Oh, no you didn't!) Shoot y'all, you know I did!

The party and the music got louder than it usually does. And for these neighbors, that is saying something. So at about 11pm, I went to our friend the Internet and found out what the local noise ordinance is for our area.

I had to laugh, though. On the website, it totally tries to talk you off the ledge. Listen to this:
There are laws that tell us what levels of noise are
acceptable. Yet how we respond to particular noises
depends on the type of noise and how we feel about it.
What is fine one day can drive us to distraction the next,
and noise that is acceptable to one person may
be unacceptable to another.
Recognising how our moods can influence our response
helps us judge when others are being too noisy.

It's basically saying, "We know you are totally cheesed off, but please do not take a cricket bat and smash your neighbour's windshield." I just loved that before they would tell me what my legal rights were in this instance, they wanted to talk to me about my feelings! The City of Sydney cares, you guys.

So right there in my kitchen I did some deep soul-searching. Like David in the Psalms--Search me, O God, and know my heart. Were the thumping bass and piercing screams getting on my nerves because of job stress? Was I extra sensitive because of hormonal changes in my body? Perhaps my mood at that moment was extra fragile due to lack of sleep?

No, nope, and I don't think so. It was bothering me because it was incredibly loud. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's it. But still, I had to read through 2 or 3 more pages of pdf before they would tell me what to do about it! I eventually found out that you can make lots of noise until midnight on the weekends. And then, neighbours can complain to their local police. (Or seek a mediation process through a local "Community Justice Centre". But I don't want to work on our relationship or anything, I just want them to shut their pieholes is all.)

Now here's where I got a little petty. I freely admit that. I went back to our bedroom. And with a fan roaring at top speed and earplugs in, the noise was much more faint. I could've probably gone to sleep at this point. But, oh no! I was full of righteous indignation! And once I am righteously indignated, watch out. In fact, if you ever need someone to get offended on your behalf, I am totally your girl.

It was the principle of the thing. I mean, haven't we all agreed on a social code, y'all? I will not pretend that I live by myself in the middle of a field? I will acknowledge that other people are trying to live their lives around me? Aren't there expectations? Sheesh! I just can't stand it when others are deliberately inconsiderate, you see. And so I decided to stay awake till midnight and then call the fuzz. So I surfed on Jason's Iphone, I emailed my family ("i think being inconsiderate is one of the worst sins, " I wrote.), until ding! The clock struck twelve. I pulled my earplugs out to find the party was going strong. Stronger, even. I slipped into the bathroom and called the cops.

And from here, the story is pretty anti-climatic. The young constable that answered the phone actually sounded like she was dying of boredom. Like my complaint was literally taking days off her life. She got more monotone the longer we spoke. I considered sharing my speech for the screaming young girls, but decided against it. Regardless, she said she'd send a car over there!

Since we can't actually see into their yard, I don't know what exactly happened after that. But we did notice that it got quieter after a little while. I do know they kept some music going because my neighbour Jules emailed me and said she could hear it at 4am. So, who knows?

Well, I'm not sure what the moral of the story ought to be. Sometimes you can do the right thing and get mediocre results? When in doubt, you're better off jumping the back fence? Stay awake and call the law? Stick by your principles even if no one else gives a flip?

Whichever it is, I am totally calling the police next time if I need to. Because yes, I am that neighbour.


  1. I'm also "that neighbor." We have folks that live half a block away that have these drumming parties in the summer, that involve drums (duh) and people changing in megaphones or something. And it goes on for HOURS into the night. I can hear it like it's in my GD living room. I always call the coppers when it strikes 12. We live in a small town with our own police force, so noise violations are big action for them and they always respond quickly.

  2. that's "chanting" in megaphones, not "changing." sigh.

  3. Oh wow - solidarity, sister (raises fist in salute). Not only do I feel your pain over the noisy neighbour (god have I ever been there) but I! too! am a righteous indignator! Could do it for a living. And I have no shame about being a curtain twitcher/maintainer of standards/that neighbour.
    I think I will grow into this role, by which I mean that people expect old ladies to act this way.

  4. I love it! The tone of that brochure is awesome, like, "Let's all just chill, if you have a beer go ahead and drink it, we'll get through this."

    And yes, you are that neighbor, and you've also become a person who spells "neighbour" with a "u." WHAT IS HAPPENING?

  5. oh I feel your pain! Our neighbour is constantly drilling and hammering and electric sawing in his backyard and the spot is less than a metre from ours so you can imagine the noise. Thankfully he only does it after work and on the weekends and not all day everyday! Anyway, on Sat night they also had a loud party and about 11.20 I had had enough and asked Ron to go over there to ask them to be more considerate! You know Ron, so cool calm and collected, in his wisdom said, let's give them ten more minutes and you would not believe it, less than ten minutes later, the noise had died down and we could finally sleep!

  6. Could you send me your number? Cos I'm thinking I might need some of that righteous indignigibation on my behalf pretty soon :)

    Heckyeah, I'd call too. Even after reading the soothe-your-savage-breast pdf pages. If we must legislate considerate behaviour amongst neighbours, well, we must.

  7. "Dealing with neighbourhood noise." 16 pages!!!
    And there's a chart for what noise is legally annoying when.

    "The police have special
    powers that allow them to seize equipment used to make
    Special powers, Amy!
    Sometimes you just have to call on the special powers.

    Sometimes we are the noisy neighbors (in our spread out 'hood of...lessee, 4 other neighbors): dogs barking, chainsaws, log splitters.
    Not that we're the only ones or that we do it during 'illegal' hours, but I still feel like a total pest.
    One of our neighbors loves to shoot his guns, rapid fire, days at a time. So at least we're not that guy.

    I bet all the neighbors were thanking you!

  8. The official Sydney noise website is so polite and touchy feely compared with the LA one -

    You have my complete sympathies, we live behind a Columbian restaurant, that I'm convinced is a front for a Columbian drug ring. They're crazy loud, but we're afraid that if we complain we'll get whacked.

  9. Oh no Amy, teenagers have a totally different social code. There's NO crossover. They are the center of their own universe...neighbors? sleeping children? where?