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Question of the Week

Can You Tell Your Neighbors to STFU and Still Invite Them Over for Dinner?

I want to preface with an absolute truth: We like our neighbors.

The Dans moved in the day after my roommate and I made the trek to Boston and we were excited to see some friendly faces in East Boston. Seriously. That’s not an expression. The faces we’d seen the previous day weren’t friendly at all. We said hi to passersby on the street and got nothing. No greetings, eye contact, or smiles. So when we saw them, young and in love and thrilled about living in a new city, we felt like we could be friends with them.

Two years later and we never actually got around to being friends although we’re all incredibly friendly. Every two to three months my roommate and I would casually talk about inviting them over for dinner and drinks. But we’re minimalists around here and never felt inclined to spruce up our place enough to invite guests over.

Looking back,  I almost wish we had. They’re the kind of neighbors you actually want as friends. Just last month when the boiler went out and we spent three nights shivering in our sleep, The Dans were so quick to offer my roommate some assistance. And that’s a good thing, because my roommate couldn’t tell the boiler from the furnace and I didn’t make a single step towards the basement to help her. There are mice down there.

Get on the floor? Lie down on the floor? To light a boiler? No. I’d rather freeze. I’d rather the thermostat read 50 degrees, catch pneumonia, and freeze then touch anything other than the washer and dryer in that basement. And thanks to our neighbors, I didn’t have to. Love them.

And then there was the time my roommate was going to NYC for the weekend and it coincided with my grandmother’s 87th birthday and I really wanted to go but didn’t know what to do with my dog. A day’s notice and they came to the rescue. Mr. Chew got two walks a day and was perfectly content to stay at home with plenty of kibble and water and none of the dramatics from staying at a kennel. (Not that I would ever board him because I’m too cheap. If Chewy can’t go with me and no one can watch him, I just don’t go.) They saved the day and I never even gave them a thank you card, never mind a dinner invitation.

So when it sounds like they’re remodeling the house, I blame the shitty construction. When it sounds like there’s a hippopotamus high on ecstasy doing jumping jacks on my ceiling, I remind myself that it’s just their puppy releasing pent-up puppy energy from being crated all day. And I remind myself that at least shes crated for most of the day. She’s also super cute. It helps that she’s so cute. So cute that even after she bit me on the chin, I laughed it off. I took the chin bite as a token of affection.

But what I’m enduring right this minute might outweigh how much I like our upstairs neighbors.

What’s that, you ask? They sing. They play music. Drums. Guitars. Songs. The whole nine yards.

Drumming and strumming and humming at a quarter past 9 o’clock at night after I’ve worked a thirteen hour day. I can’t deal. I’m not here for this. I’m not here for it when they schedule sing-a-longs during my Saturday evening nap time. I’m not here for it on Federal holidays when I’m awakened to the sounds of “music’. The only thing that stops me is my love for God.

They’re playing Christian rock. It’s always Christian rock. And so as blunt and confrontational as I can be, I couldn’t possibly in good faith tell them to knock it off when I know they’re practicing for Sunday morning worship service. But in about ten minutes, a new episode of what I suspect will be my new favorite drama of the season airs and I will not sit through an hour of booming kick drums and clanging cymbals in the background. I’m thinking I could knock on their door and invite them to watch with me.

Subtle. And then to prove there’s no love lost, I could get around to formally inviting them to Sunday dinner.

What do you think?


About Bella

I’m an (almost) 30-something free-lance writer, blogger, genealogist, and friend. Yep. If you pay me, I’ll be your friend. Initial fees are subject to negotiation. You can also contact me about product reviews and ad space. Everything is for sale around here. I make my home in Boston with my roommate, Jane Doe; my 12 year old dog, Chewy; and Jane’s feral cat, Felix. I’m addicted to reading Mormon mommy blogs, Huffington Post, Jezebel, and Facebook status updates.


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