http://www.one.org Dixie Peach: Friday Shuffle - I'm Begging You, Please Stop! Edition

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Shuffle - I'm Begging You, Please Stop! Edition

I like being the good neighbor. I like being known as the friendly lady who smiles and greets everyone. I like to be helpful to my neighbors. I'm happy to take packages from the postman for someone, collect their mail, water their plants. I'll hold the front door and elevator for someone bringing in their groceries. I'll drive people to the grocery store if they need it. Hell, give me a list and I'll do your shopping for you!

I don't want to be the grouchy, surly neighbor. The one that you don't like to see. The one you talk badly about. The neighbor you don't want to help out. I don't want to be the neighbor that has to avoid everyone for fear that I'll be fussed at.

I really want to be cooperative and fair to my neighbors but the people living above me? By the time I began to cook dinner at 7:15 this evening my nerves were shot and I was having warm, fuzzy thoughts of going out on the street and throwing bricks in their windows. Why should I want to resort to such drastic behavior? Because their kids had been playing the piano since 2:00 this afternoon and with the exception of about three 20 minute breaks, it was non-stop. The same two songs over and over and over and over. Two songs without end and both played badly. There was not one time that either song was played without at least ten errors. And they'd play a particularly troublesome spot in the tune again and again - sometimes not more than five or six notes in constant repetition for ten or fifteen minutes straight.

And I tried desperately to tune it out. I turned up the sound on the TV but I hate a blaring TV so I'd turn it back down again. I simply try to ignore it but the same songs over and over were beginning to feel like a meat hook embedded in my brain. Finally I could not stand it any longer. Just before 7:00 this evening I began to bang on the heating pipes. She'd plink out the same five notes over and over and I'd rap on the pipes which had no effect on the plinking what so ever. She'd pause for maybe 90 seconds and then start again. Then someone else began rapping on their pipes (I suspect it was my next door neighbor who I believe doesn't like the piano playing either - she once asked me if it was me playing or the people above me and when I told her it was the people above me she seemed a bit disappointed...I think she wanted to tell me to knock it off). I was a little nervous that the other person banging on their pipes was banging on them in response to me but I don't think that was their impetus since they were rapping on their pipes two or three minutes after my last bang.

I know I should probably go up and tell these people to stop but, to be honest, I'm chicken shit. I don't want to get into a tangle with these people. Under normal circumstances, they're nice folks. I don't want to rain on their kids' parade. I like them and I like saying hello to them and being pleasant. If I say something about that horrible piano playing, I'm afraid it's all going to come to an end and I'll end up skulking through the halls trying to avoid seeing them and getting glares of contempt from them. Plus I really, really hate confronting people while speaking German. I get flummoxed and upset and my grammar all goes to shit and it's hard being effective when your grammar has all gone to shit. German isn't my first language and German isn't their first language and I'm afraid misunderstandings may fly around needlessly. I've already lived through one neighbor war that caused me to move. I don't want another battle with someone living above me.

In my dream world my next door neighbor would go with me and she'd do all the talking. I'm pretty sure she doesn't like this piano stuff any more than I do, especially since she's a nurse and works night shifts on rotation and so sometimes sleeps during the day. I've been trying for a year of this piano stuff to just grin and bear it and say it's not so bad but today has proven to me that I'm not made of the sort of stuff that can withstand five hours of the same six notes over and over. However, if the Bush administration needs a place to carry out a new form of their, so called, enhanced interrogation, they can try my living room. Hell, after five hours of that piano torture I was ready to confess to being an insurgent.

Let's have some real music. Time to shuffle.
  1. The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot
  2. Good Woman Down - Mary J. Blige
  3. Baby's In Black - The Beatles
  4. Let's Stay Together - Al Green
  5. Be Gone - British Sea Power
  6. The Grand Tour - George Jones
  7. Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine - The Killers
  8. The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead - XTC
  9. I Started A Joke - Bee Gees
  10. All I Need - Radiohead
Have a good weekend, y'all.

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14Comments:

Blogger Princess Cat's Pajamas said...

Well, at least their piano teacher loves them. My mom teaches piano and can't get her kids to practice enough. Maybe you should suggest that they move to San Antonio to study with her?

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are REALLY too scared and cannot go up- how about leaving a letter? I know, I know- but do it. I think you can explain this well. You are living my Hey Jude nightmare of 1990. Nip it NOW. You cannot live like this.

Best case scenario- get your neighbor to write one and take them up together.

Invite them down and have Burkie tell them. They need to know.

Mollie

12:42 AM  
Blogger sari said...

at least bixente came through!

7:49 AM  
Blogger heather said...

Hopefully they will either lose interest quickly or improve.

Not sure what is worse, your situation or mine, with a guitar playing adult above me, at 00.45 on a work day? (At least mine plays well!)

7:00 PM  
Blogger The Big Finn said...

I'd suggest that you invest in a pair of noise-reduction headphones, and listen to bixente during the practice sessions for the next couple of years. After 2-3 years, the playing should improve to the point where it will be a joy to listen to them.
I took piano lessons for ten years. I'm sure the first couple of years were pretty grating, but after about five years of lesson I literally had people who were walking by the house stop to ring our doorbell just so they could tell me how much they enjoyed listening to my "concerts".

9:09 AM  
Blogger Ragan Knits etc... said...

Yikes...sorry to hear that. Grr...the downside to apartments.
I hope that you had a good weekend all the same, and thank you for leaving a comment about my socks on the SAM5. I will have to come back and visit again...since I lived in Germany for 5 years...ahhhh...memories.
Tchuss....sorry no umlauts on my computer...hahha (nor the letter that replaces two ss)

4:02 PM  
Blogger dkaz said...

I am in a tough position here. I can totally empathize with you, but I am also the mother of an aspiring musician, so I can see your neigbors' point too. I live in an end unit townhouse, and my son plays the drums. In order to be considerate to the neighbor, my son is only allowed to play for short durations with 20 minute breaks between, and he can only practice between 4 and 7 PM. I have tried to accommodate my neighbor, but she is always at home when he is at home. It isn't against any ordinances for him to play - he could play from 7:00 AM until 10:00 PM if he wanted to. However, I want to be a good neighbor, so 2 years ago when my then-12 year old took up the drums, we asked her what practice times would be convenient for her. She very uncompromisingly said, "None,” so he just tries do the best he can and tries to practice when he sees that her car is not parked outside.
My son is very serious about music. He plays four instruments, but I know that listening to an inexperienced musician can be torture.
I suggest that you think of a time that you can stand to have your upstairs neighbors practice, and a duration for the practice (5 hours is outrageous). Write the neighbors a note and make the suggestion. Maybe they don't realize how well you can hear them? They may even appreciate the suggestion, especially if you compliment their 'dedication'. I know we would definitely confine my son's practice to a neighbor-approved schedule, if she would just give us one.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Chelsea said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Chelsea said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Chelsea said...

Oh my gosh! I can't believe that I'm not the only one who feels EXACTLY like you do. My husband and I have been trying to remind ourselves that we are kind and good people. Except that every time that I back out of my driveway and towards my neighbor's place, I wish that their piano was right behind my car. I've even resorted to complaining to our (awful!) landlord. No good so far. Oh - and I've also talked to my neighbors about 30 times. I asked if they could please move the piano to a different wall away from our only shared wall. They said that they would compromise and wrap the piano to sound-proof it. They didn't even do that (which is dumb anyway). Instead, they installed hard-wood floors. That helped (can you tell that I'm being sarcastic)!!! Anyhoo - I totally empathize. Why does it have to be crappy piano playing for all 8000 hours, too?! Sheesh!

5:44 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

I like the idea of going with your next-door neighbor (so she can do the talking AND so the upsatirs people can be aware that it's not just you). I understand that there is an inevitable phase of bad playing, but 5 hours does seem excessive. I like the idea of complimenting the kids' dedication, but asking if the sessions could be shorter.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

I think I've been pretty patient and accommodating to these people. First, there are noise rules in this apartment building. No loud noises (which means TVs and radios played loudly, loud appliances, drilling or sawing unless it's done by a company you've hired and the noise is unavoidable) between the hours of 1:00pm and 3:00pm and all day on Sundays and holidays. They break this rule all the time. They've also played as late as 10pm - I'm not asleep then but others are.

When I first moved in here 2 years ago I believe they had an electric piano because you could barely hear it. A year ago they got a real piano and at first the practicing was about 20 minutes 3 or 4 times a day - which falls within the laws in Germany about practicing music...pianos can't be practices more than 1 1/2 hours a day total. And honestly, these people should have come to me and told me they got a piano they can't turn down the sound on and asked me when and how much practicing would disturb me.

On Saturday they practiced 2 1/2 hours. And that's been it. No playing on Sunday - first time that's happened in a year - and weirdly none today either. I don't know if someone else has complained or what but until I get another 5 hours torture session I'll not rock the boat.

9:27 PM  
Blogger UmmFarouq said...

The good (perhaps the only positive I can think of) thing about living in a house built out of concrete is that it does block out the sound well. Upstairs from us there are two unmarried older ladies and their elderly mom. I never hear them except for late at night when they are moving furniture to clean under it. They are night cleaners. I can live with it.

As I type this I can see my breath in the living room. Ah, concrete homes.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Oh I do live in a concrete building. The floors, ceilings and walls are made of concrete plates. Can you imagine how loud they're playing that piano if I can hear it through concrete?

9:43 PM  

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