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Beyond the Lone Islands

Thursday, 24 June 2010



"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself"
Matthew 19:19

Easy to quote; a lot harder sometimes to know how to actually practice.

I have to confess that I’ve not been feeling very neighbourly this afternoon.

I don’t really know my neighbours in this building; but I’m also usually not much disturbed by them. Today, however, I got into a bit of a ‘tiff’ with the ones above me. I suppose it might be said I started the tiffing. But only because they emptied a bucket or two of water over me!

They call it cleaning their balcony.But it had rather the opposite effect on mine.

Attempting to see some Glad Game points (thinking of blogging friend GB who is a frequent player of that game), I’m trying to tell myself to be grateful that at least I was not sitting outside when it happened. (Not to mention even more obvious things, like I should be happy to have a roof over my head at all and so on and so forth.)

Nonetheless I still feel the need to whine a little bit before I let it go.

It was a sunny afternoon and I had been sitting on the balcony earlier, and thought I might do so again. So the cushions were still in my deck chair. But I happened to be inside as I suddenly heard a splash of water against my windows. This surprised me. There had been some clouds in the sky on and off, but they had not seemed like the threatening type of clouds. And as for rain to be hitting the windows of my living room with such noise, it would really take quite a stormwind (considering that there is another balcony above mine).

My immediate reaction though was just to hurry out to take in the cushions from the deckchair. Doing so, I noticed that the sun was still shining, and in spite of this water was pouring heavily down from above – and not just splashing down on the parasol and railing either, but also mysteriously right on top of my head and shoulders as I opened the balcony door! This was no ordinary rainshower. Neither was it just someone over-watering their flower-boxes a little. It was more like the Great Flood. And not just clean water either.

The deck chair cushion was already wet. I got it in, and then there was another Splash of water dripping down on both the outside and the inside of the balcony. It kept on drip-dropping for quite a while…

I took some deep breaths to calm myself. What’s the ‘right’ reaction to something like this? (How would you react?)

One alternative, of course, might be to just pretend it was raining, even though by now I knew better. But then that might leave the neighbours with the happy illusion that pouring buckets of water over their balcony floor on a sunny afternoon does not in the least affect the people living below. And who knows how often they might then get it into their head to repeat it. 

So I decided to go up and calmly tell them that it does actually cause some trouble for others (me) when they do this; presuming that they might just not realize that.

So I went upstairs and rang the doorbell and said to the young(ish) woman who opened: Excuse me, I just want to point out that when you wash your balcony floor, most of the water comes down onto my balcony.

She just stared at me and said that she needed to wash her floor and that she is entitled to do what she wants in her own home. Not even an attempt at saying “I’m sorry”. When I explained that I got everything wet, and had I happened to be sitting out there I would have gotten all wet too, she just said: well, it could just as well have been a rain shower, couldn’t it?! (I did not go into all the details of explaining to her why it could not.)

She also asked how else she was supposed to get her floor clean? I suggested that one way might be to mop the floor the same way you normally do indoors. Which usually does not involve emptying whole buckets of water over the floor. (It doesn’t for me, anyway!) She still made no attempt to say sorry or that she would think about that next time; she just kept staring at me, as if I were the crazy one.

So I did not know what else to say but just shook my head and went back down to my own flat – feeling more upset after that conversation (if it can be called that) than I was before, because I really hate getting into “discussions” like this. If she had just had the decency to say “I’m sorry, I’ll try not to let it happen again” I would have been okay with that. But the attitude I was actually met by, I do not feel “okay” with.

And because of that little incident I’m now letting my bad mood pour over you innocent readers instead…  Sorry! I hope it will not cause too much of a Domino effect

Here’s a picture of a pansy from my balcony to brighten up the mood again. Photo taken after a real rain shower some other day:



Ginny said...

Well, how rude! I can see where she may have been just thoughtless when she did it, but should at least have said she was sorry to cause you so much trouble!! But maybe after she thinks about it for awhile and it kind of sinks in, she might start feeling bad. YOU did not stoop to her level, so she is the only one who should regret things she's said. You have truly made her the total bad guy by just walking away and holding your tongue. Way to go!!!!!

GB said...

I have to say that the lack of consideration that some people show to others still never ceases to amaze me after all these years of experience. Like you I abhor such confrontations. Like you I would have been looking for a simple apology and perhaps at worst an 'I'll warn you next time'. But all too often the response you got is the usual response. The best thing (and the hardest thing) is to just let it go.

The Glad Game? Now there's a difficult one.

rae said...

I got agitated just READING this post! Inconsiderate neighbors are the pits.


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