Sometimes, all it takes is a fence to really set somebody off. Bulldozing four houses, a boat, a pickup truck and power pole, Barry Swegle might win Most Psychotic Neighbor of the Year. For some reason, we are kind of bad at living in close proximity to each other. There is always that lady who absolutely despises the young mother with four kids next door, the 40-something year-old bachelor whose mission in life is to make sure you haven’t violated any miniscule HOA rules and the crazy nomads who rent and throw barbeque parties in the dead of winter and hire DJs on the regular. We all know some kind of derivative of this bunch, but how do we know we’re not the culprits? Maybe someone next door is just waiting for us to screw up, host a rowdy party, or forget to take down our Christmas lights, cringing whenever our dogs poop on their lawn and brainstorming ways to seek revenge. Before that happens, take a moment to make sure you don’t fall into one of these scary-annoying categories:
10. Your Halloween decorations are still up. And they’re starting to mold.
Personally, I don’t think leaving Christmas (holiday) lights up is a big deal. They take forever to hang, and then you run the risk of crushing a delicate mini-bulb and either electrocuting yourself, or having to buy an entirely new set when you do get them down. Confession: I still have my lights up. And they look cool, so I don’t care. But I have a neighbor who left his pumpkin out until March! Do you know how gross that is? Pumpkins start to rot after a few days and we San Diegans are known to experience some warm weather. Simple rule: if your holiday decorations have an expiration date and run the risk of becoming stinky after awhile, do your best to take care them.
9. You blast really annoying music with the windows open all the time.
A part of me is becoming that old grouch who angrily waves at kids with his decrepit cane. I simply have no tolerance for certain things anymore. Especially if they’re loud and tasteless, like Linkin Park or Creed for five hours straight. This is a problem for apartments mainly, because everyone is so close. And it’s also a problem for people like me who cherish their naps and only desire the sound of soothing wind or gentle rain as I doze off into sweet, sweet sleep, only to be woken up by tortured singers and their hatred and agony towards the world.
8. You are more dramatic than all the Real Housewives put together.
Do you fight with your significant other more often than you have normal conversations? Do your fights with your parents escalate super quickly and last for hours because using your “inside voice” is not powerful enough to make a point? I understand that sometimes, we need to just let it out. Sometimes, we fight for stupid reasons, and sometimes we have legitimate reasons to raise hell. But must you really scream and shout for hours on end? Sometimes, I’m worried I’ll hear a gun shot and have to get all snoopy and call the cops, and I don’t want to do that because then I’ll have to get involved, and the last thing I feel like doing is dealing with a criminal and then I’ll really hate you.
7. You always call the cops.
Since we live in an allegedly free country, some of us like to host a few parties. Since I’m hardly any fun anymore, I usually only have 5-8 of my closest friends from college and high-school come over on a weekend night and have a few drinks. Things get a little weird, and one of us always ends up singing Shakira or Bob Dylan. Seriously, no big deal. Well, apparently it is to some, because they always call the cops, and then the cops come and sigh because they see we’re just sitting around with glasses of wine watching Sex and the City re-runs and issue me a “warning”. Trust me, I’ve had neighbors who have relentlessly partied till the break of day every single day of the week. And it sucks. And obviously, there are some nasty situations for which you need some legal reinforcement. But if it’s just a regular old party and you’re annoyed, just go knock on their door and ask them to turn the music down. You don’t just dial 9-1-1. That’s not cool.
6. You never close your blinds.
Just because you can’t see other people doesn’t mean other people can’t see you. You realize that at night with your lights on and the day’s lights off, people can see you getting ready for bed or getting all Discovery Channel up in there? For your sake, close your blinds. There are some creeps out there and we don’t need another sex tape star that rises to fame and gets her very own show, do we?
5. You are just a straight-up drama queen.
Are you nosy? Are you always asking your neighbors why so-and-so’s husband moved out two weeks ago, or how could the family down the block possibly afford a new Mercedes? Do you bake your neighbors apple pies just so that you can take a peek inside their house and compare it to yours? Okay, this is not only annoying, but it’s invasive and aggravating. Nobody likes a snoop.
4. You constantly post signs to remind your neighbors of THE RULES
You are a mega-stickler for rules, which can be okay. And helpful. To a certain point. Whether it’s a laundry or noise curfew, you find yourself stapling homemade signs that say things like, “REMEMBER TO DO YOUR LAUNDRY BEFORE 9 PM” or “REMEMBER THAT PETS ARE NOT ALLOWED HERE”. You were the kid in class who told the teacher whenever someone was eating their snack POST SNACK TIME, weren’t you? I had a downstairs neighbor who insisted on taping signs to the stairs that said “WALK QUIETLY” and expected everyone to tip-toe up to their apartments, and if they didn’t she either taped up some more signs, or complained to the manager. It was super fun when I was wearing heels or doing laundry.
3. You are always renovating your home.
A little sprucing up never hurt anyone, nor does it ever really hurt the value of your home. But when I see construction workers at your house every single day for a few years, then I’m wondering if the grass will ever be green enough. Also, I am wondering if I’ll ever get to sleep in past 7 a.m. ever again because the drills and sawing are really, really loud.
2. You have a meth lab.
Um, this is just not okay unless you are Walter White or Jesse Pinkman. And even if you defied logic and WERE in fact, one of the two members of Heisenberg Inc., I would be super scared for my life and the life of others.
1. You read this article and directly complain to our apartment manager about me.
Refer to #7, #5, and #4