Thursday, January 20, 2005

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours

Although it is now a trite cliche (and one that makes me want to spontaneously break into song), everybody really does need good neighbours.

So when I saw someone moving in next door this afternoon, I was a little worried.

You see, the last people who lived there were probably really lovely - though due to a fairly major language barrier, I never really got to know them - but boy, were they LOUD. Not just the occasional bang or short period of objectionable music - but long, sustained loudness, combined with an inability to understand that even if they'd never had a problem in other places they'd lived, there was a problem here. Oh, and their cigarette smoke blew into our place.

They were all lovely boys, I am sure, but all in all I was not too sad when their 6-month lease expired and they moved out. They and their merry band of friends, hangers-on, and other random short- and longer-term guests.

So we had no neighbours for a little while - long enough, in fact, for the boy to notice that the door was unlocked, and take me in there to see what it looked like. Pretty much the same as our place, albeit a lot more run down. He'd been in there before, but to me at least, it felt like being naughty schoolkids sneaking in somewhere.

Being polite (and curious as hell), I introduced myself to the neighbours. They were women who spoke good English and seemed nice and polite, and quite a bit older than the former neighbours. So not yobs. I didn't like the look of the bits of furniture I could see, but that's OK - I think (hope) that they will be a lot better than the previous incarnation.

The only problem is, they've bought the place - so if we hate them, we're kinda stuck with them. Unless we move out.

I like the idea of being able to veto people who want to buy into a neighbourhood or a building, like in those swanky New York co-ops that reject people they don't think will fit in. (I wasn't thinking of a minimum level of liquid assets - more like only allowing people in who wash regularly.) I know it is perhaps a little elitist, but wouldn't it be nice to have some control over who your neighbours are?

I guess it's a bit like choosing flatmates, which I hated and sucked at the one time I had any choice. But that's a story for another day...


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