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Killing Us Softly: Renovation Work Next Door

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Aug 31, 2016

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PROBLEM: Our adjoining flat is about to get its new occupants and don’t we know it loud and clear! They’re going for some massive renovation work and all we hear is the drilling, hammering and sawing. All day. And in our nightmares.

On weekends, our throats hurt trying to top the racket. Should we approach them and risk getting off to a poor start? Or do we just live with this, slowly turning deaf?


SH: It might make sense to make your new neighbours’ acquaintance anyway. And while you are it, feel free to judge them on decency, congeniality, ability to pass on your messages to the maid, interest in baking, etc.

If they pass with flying colours, ask them when you can expect to have them next door (and calculate how many more days to go, and preferably stay quiet). If they don’t make the cut, tell them it’s in their interest to not share their wall with people driven to insanity.

MM: You’re very patient to have waited this long. The next time the owners are around, invite them in for a cup of chai. Chat them up, figure out what makes them tick. Are they foodies far from home who miss the goodness of mom’s parathas? Promise them a batch the next time they visit, and find a way to slip in how noise pollution isn’t good for home chefs.

If they don’t get the hint, just take the direct route and tell them they need to keep it down. If that turns them into foes, even better. You’ll be saved from any requests to keep their keys for a day or receive their mail. Win-win, if you ask me.

SB: It seems to me that your throat will go hoarse either way, be it from topping the noise or from complaining about it. Only one of those has the potential to end when your new neighbours move in.

If you can tough it out until then, your neighbours’ noisy renovations might turn into the closest swanky hangout spot you could ask for. If not they could at least help you out in times of crisis (lockouts, etc.), and if they continue to be noisy and inconsiderate, there is always time to have your complaints heard later.

LG: Nothing more to add — these ladies covered it — except while you’re making your decision whether to be passive, aggressive, or a gin-based cocktail of both, look on the bright side: At least it’s not sex noises coming from next door. Here’s hoping your new neighbour’s audial exhibitionism begins and ends with knocking down a wall, rather than knocking boots.

MM: In my book, sex noises are a lot more tolerable than an electric drill. Sure, it’s a lot more than you want to know of your neighbours, but at least it won’t give you a migraine.

LG: Ultimate next-door noise pollution: sex noises that sound like an electric drill! You know, the ones that make you think, “I think they’re doing it wrong?” (Question mark, because to each their own?) I feel like there’s a Friends episode about this maybe ….

MM: I hadn’t considered that! And it sounds a lot worse than the few noisy neighbours I’ve had the good fortune of hearing through thin walls. Looks like you just found the silver lining to this troubled human’s sound woes.

First World Problems is a funny advice column wherein The Swaddle Team weighs in on their own and others’ ‘problems.’ Write to us at contact@theswaddle.com or tweet @The_Swaddle with a #firstworldproblems hashtag if you’ve broken a nail, felt a little blue, yellow or green lately, or had a strange encounter of the any-numbered kind. We’ll help you sort it out.

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Written By The Swaddle Team

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