If you move into a recently built house, bring your neighbors cookies
When you hear the house next door being torn down at 7 a.m., you desperately try to convince yourself that surely they won’t be building another house in its place. The land is likely being converted into a zen garden, or reflecting pool, or a park that has a memorial plaque dedicated to the memory of the fallen house.
But then machines much different than the ones that tore down the house show up the next week and you realize your neighbor is now a construction site. It probably won’t take that long. Two hours tops, maybe three.
This has been the daily schedule for the house being erected next door the last four months:
7 – 11:30 a.m.: Beautiful collage of hammering, drilling, and sawing
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.: More hammering, drilling, and sawing with bad rock music in the background
1 p.m.: Lunch (still bad rock music)
1:30 – 6 p.m.: Trees sacrificing themselves to the construction site, followed by hammering
Now let me be clear: No one is actually doing anything wrong here. It’s not like owning chickens in a city or having kids who should be sent to boarding school (God, I whine a lot). The contractors are simply doing their job and it’s not like I can tell them to keep it down or build the house somewhere else and then just airdrop it into place when finished.
The only thing that would help get rid of the noise faster is picking up a hammer and helping out (Local headline the next day: “Unhelpful Man Dies in Accident on Construction Site”).
The forward thrust of civilization is a constant and that means houses must be built regardless of the selfish bum next door who wants to sleep a little later. Surely the building I’m living in had to be constructed at some point, and that noise likely irritated neighbors who lived here before me.
But putting logic and reason aside, who do these future, hypothetical house owners think they are? They’re being bad neighbors without even living there. Right now, they’re nowhere near their future home the rest of us have to listen to being built, and do they think we’re going to forget?
Usually when people move into a new house, neighbors welcome them to the area by bringing over cookies or pie. It should be the opposite in this case. Since we had to endure the noise of their house being built, they should bring me cookies when they move in — every week, for as long as it took to build the house. That’s just common courtesy.
And they never get to complain about any noise I or anybody else makes next door. So what if I own a dozen rock tumblers and a howler monkey in my apartment?
There’s little to be done in the meantime. When my girlfriend was over the other day and heard the noise, she remarked, “I understand that it’s annoying, but you don’t need to get so angry.” (She says that to me about a lot of things.)
So I continue to wear ear plugs most of the day and blast my own awful music in an attempt to drown out the sound, none of which works. It’s probably best to just wait it out. They’ve got the roof up, so it shouldn’t be too long until the house is done, the owners move in, and I knock on the door and say, “I’m here for my cookies.”
On Twitter @chasongordon.