Dear Annie: My neighbors aren't exactly the kind of people you could describe as -- how do I put this? -- quiet. And really, that isn't a problem. I've always loved the fact that my neighborhood is full of life. I actually like hearing the sounds of kids playing outside, a loud backyard barbecue, even television and music.
A new family moved in next door about a year ago, and let's just say that the people in the family do not get along very well with everyone else in the neighborhood, and they are well aware of that. They also are the loudest house in the neighborhood. I believe the two aren't a coincidence. They yell at one another, use foul language way too loudly and blast their music at all times. However unpleasant it may be, though, this is something that I have gotten past. I feel that it should be OK to act as you please within the comfort of your own home.
But there is one problem I can't get over: They are a honking house. And I don't mean they just give a quick beep to let others know they're outside. No, no. The mother, the father, the sons -- all of them -- they lay on the horn for an inordinate amount of time. This happens multiple times a day, at all hours, and it seems so unnecessary. It sends me outside every time to make sure everything is OK.
How do I ask them to stop being so outrageous with their horn honking? I know that other neighbors have complained about other noises and have gotten less-than-pleasant responses and no results, so I am nervous to approach them. How do I quiet the horns? -- Horn-Induced Heart Attack
Dear Horn-Induced Heart Attack: Despite your reservations, try having a chat with them about their volume problems. Focus on the impact it has on you. I, too, doubt they'll listen -- but at least you'll be able to say you tried. If and when they raise a racket again, call your police precinct on the non-emergency line. Though it's unfortunate when we can't settle neighborly disputes ourselves, it seems that for these particular neighbors, a visit from the police might be the only thing able to cut through the noise.
Dear Annie: Many years ago, when I was younger and had a factory job, my next-door neighbor would mow his lawn while I was sleeping. I always let him know what shift I was on and when I would be sleeping. This didn't matter to him. One time when I got off work at 4 a.m., I decided it was turning light enough for me to be able to mow my lawn. I never had to put up with it again. Whenever he saw me outside after that, he knew it was time to do his outside work. Maybe others have ways to stop neighbors from making unnecessary noises. -- Tired of the Noises
Dear Tired of the Noises: One of the downsides to working unusual shifts is that your quiet hours are most people's living hours. Though it's worthwhile to let neighbors know your schedule and ask them to take it into account, I think it's unrealistic to expect that all of them will. Focus on making your bedroom a sanctuary by investing in blackout curtains and a quality sound machine and normal neighborhood noise will be less of a nuisance.
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