For more than two years I have lived in a rather nice and quiet block of units. There are not too many of us. Some are owners, some like me are renters. I get on well with my neighbours. I make a point of never doing anything to my neighbours that I would not want done to me. I regularly ask them if any noise I am making is disturbing them, and they do likewise. In short, it is a great place to live where most of the time all is in harmony. Or at least it was until a couple of months ago.
On the opposite side of my courtyard a woman moved in. Older, with some grey hair. Almost immediately she started playing her television up late at night at a volume that was not excessively loud, but loud enough to be heard very clearly in my unit at night, even with my door to the courtyard closed. So I went around and politely asked her to turn it down. Which she said she would. But she didn’t. A couple of nights later, after having endured some more sleeplessness I go around and politely ask again. And I do mean politely.
This woman immediately gets irate and insists I come in saying that her television is not making any noise. Only it is not only making some noise, it is making quite some considerable noise. I try to point that out to her, but she stands there and yells at me that it is not, and is clearly getting quite irate. I explained that from my courtyard I could hear her television over my own television and invited her to come listen to it but she won’t have a bar of it. She insisted she was not making any noise and is clearly now very angry at me. So I decide to leave and say that the next time she has the television up I’ll call the police.
I have to admit I was pretty unhappy at her aggressive behaviour, and her total inflexibility in admitting she was making noise. Well, so begins two months of living hell.
This woman started to play her television up loud from the moment she got home to the moment she went to work the next day. That is ALL night, EVERY night. 🙁
Now I need my sleep, so I did the only thing I could do, which was to call the police. One night I had to call them three times because after they left (I could hear them talking to her at least once) she just turned the television up again. I didn’t want to annoy the police over what would seem to be a trivial thing. but when you get only 3 hours sleep a night, then some one keeping you awake is no trivial thing. To make it worse, she was clearly repeatedly playing a dvd or video as I soon came to recognise repeated sound tracks and words. This woman was playing some show over and over again!
I’m not the only one affected. My other neighbour who is an insomniac also heard this and we’ve spoken about it. Initially She was kept up by the incessant coughing of the noisy neighbour.
Anyway, before Christmas I contacted my real estate agent and the Queanbeyan Council about the issue. Thankfully the real estate is looking in to it. They can sympasise with the issue, and as I’ve always paid my rent on time and never done anything wrong, as well as looking after the place, they value me as a tenant. So I thought things were on the up and up.
Then this morning I get a knock on the door and there’s a couple of police officers wanting to know if I turned off her fuses this morning. Of course I have not. Though the thought had crossed my mind several times. Why the heck would I climb out of bed when I am sleeping, to turn off the woman’s power though? Early morning is the only time I ever get any sleep. Besides which, as a public slave I know full well that I could loose my job if I do something, anything illegal, and subsequently am extremely law abiding. I mean here’s this rather nice and polite police officer explaining how we all have to make allowances when we live in close proximity and I’m standing there thinking I know that, I live by that, I hope he told her that as well. I was also thinking that I’ve called them enough, they should know by now that if I have an issue with this woman the first thing I’m going to do is call them, not play with her fuses. It also occurs to me that some of my neighbours simply don’t have my patience and have probably flicked the fuses to shut her up. This silly woman has probably put 2 and 2 together and come up with 16.
Then again, as I said, the thought had crossed my mind, but if I was going to resort to sleep deprived insanity I’d make a proper job of it and take to the fuse box with a nice insulated hammer and reduce it to small unworkable parts and then I’d yank out the cable from it to the meter box ensuring that she could not have power for weeks. But in reality, I’ve always been a pacifist, and it is far simpler and easier to just move if she insists on continuing to make noise.
So, I’m in the situation where I barely get any sleep, the noise is enough to keep me awake, but not loud enough to be heard from the street. Ear plugs are not effective, and give me instant headaches. If I leave the courtyard door open I get a full blast of the TV. If I leave it closed I boil in the heat and can still hear the television. I’ve called the council, I’ve called the police (lots), I’ve spoken to my real estate agent who is progressing. Now I’m being falsely accused of flicking switches which may or may not have even happened (anyone crazy enough to play their television all night and isn’t a shift worker, is probably crazy enough to make stuff like this up to cause me trouble). On top of that I’ve become so fatigued I’ve had to take time off work, my doctor has prescribed sleeping tablets and I have noticed I am not as focussed driving as I normally am. I’m basically a walking zombie.
The frustrating thing about this though is that this woman has not bothered to do anything reasonable to come to a compromise. Right from the start she said she’s made no noise. Instead she could have spoken to me calmly instead of being intimidating and we could have worked out any number of compromises. She could have used teletext on the television, headphones, wireless headphones. If she needed the television on to get to sleep why not use a timer to turn it off when she was asleep? Why not close her courtyard door at night?
If anyone knows of any approaches I have not yet taken to remedy this situation please let me know. They have to be legal though. While I may have evil thoughts of jumping up and down on her television that will not solve anything. In the mien time I will probably have to spend yet another night sleeping in the heat in my van in the back yard.