The Problem Neighbor

Nobody gets to pick ‘em but everybody has ‘em. 

Ms. Johnson woke up to the sound of another loud party going on at her next door neighbors house. Mr. Brown was relentless with these regular disturbances, obviously not caring one iota about what the neighbors thought about him. The bass so loud, the vibration from the pulsating beats could be felt. Endless laughing and chattering of guests and the clinking of glasses and popping champagne corks was maddening. 

Squeezing her pillow tightly over her ears trying to mask the sound, Ms. Johnson wasn’t sure she would ever fall back to sleep.

The next morning, as Mr. Brown relaxed on his patio enjoying his sports magazine and fresh orange juice, he was rudely interrupted by the racket that started up next door. Ms. Johnson’s baby was crying again. What a wailer, thought Mr. Brown. That kid didn’t know how to shut up and its crying always made their dog go crazy. Ongoing yapping and endless bawling. He sighed heavily and tried unsuccessfully to block out the noise.

After a couple of days, as Ms. Johnson was tending to her front garden, she spotted Mr. Brown walking to his car which was parked in front of her house.

“Excuse me,” Ms. Johnson called out sweetly. She thought she would attempt to be nice—at first. “Could I speak with you a moment?”

He tried to act like he didn’t hear her, but she persisted. “Excuse me?”

Mr. Brown rolled his eyes and reluctantly walked over to her. “What?” he said bluntly. He really didn’t want to speak to his annoying neighbor. 

“You have a lot of parties, don’t you?” she asked.

“It’s a free country.”

“Yes, but it gets a bit loud sometimes and with my baby–”

He interrupted, “About that kid. It cries all the time.”

Ms. Johnson was done with her fake politeness. “Well, if you didn’t have so many parties, then maybe my baby wouldn’t cry.”

“And your stupid dog barks constantly,” Mr. Brown added, his voice increased in volume.

“Really?” she bit back. “Well, if you’d stop bringing all those people into your house, maybe he wouldn’t bark.” He threw his arms in the air and walked away. She pursed her lips in frustration and yelled out as he got into his car and screeched away. “And park in front of your own house!”

The next afternoon, Ms. Johnson’s head slowly slid up over the block wall she shared with her neighbor. She saw Mr. Brown standing in front of his smoking barbecue happily cooking with his spatula and spray bottle. His oversized chef’s hat flopped up and down as his head bobbed in time to the pounding music that was coming from another big party happening inside his house. 

He saw her and waved her away with his spatula. She rolled her eyes and ducked back down.

After it was dark, Mr. Brown peered out from his bathroom window into Ms. Johnson’s lit kitchen window. She stood at the sink as her baby screamed and her dog barked loudly in the background. He could hear the commotion even though his window was closed tight. 

Suddenly, she looked up to see him spying on her and held up a baby bottle and made a stern face. They grimaced at each other wondering how much longer they could stand being neighbors.

The next night around midnight, Ms. Johnson once again buried her head in her pillow trying to drown out the party hoopla going on next door. Unable to stand it one second more, she bolted upright and jumped out of bed, almost falling over as she tried to pull on some clothes.

Mr. Brown came out to his patio and was glaring at his neighbors house. He was beyond irritation with the sobbing kid and yipping animal.

Within five minutes, Ms. Johnson was beating wildly on Mr. Brown’s front door. The noise from the party mixed with the baby and the dog was making a head-splitting ruckus. She pounded harder and finally he appeared at the door holding a beer.

“What do you want?” he said rudely.

“You’re upsetting my baby,” she yelled at him.

“That’s your problem.”

Ms. Johnson grabbed her ears and started screaming,”I just want some peace and quiet!”

He drew in a long breath and slowly exhaled it. After a moment of intense scowling, he walked away from the door which swung open. She peeked inside to see that his house was empty. No guests. 

Walking to his laptop that was on a table, he punched a button and the party noise ceased. All that was heard was the loud crying and obnoxious barking coming from her home. Ms. Johnson’s mouth dropped open in total disbelief. He walked back over and slammed the door in her face.

Still stunned, she returned to her house and walked into her kitchen. She shook her head, then wandered by her laptop and nonchalantly hit a button. There was silence.

Hope you enjoyed that little light-hearted diversion. 

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