Friday, 24 September 2010

Absolute nightmare experience yesterday due to my downstair's neighbour turning up the volume on his television set to booming levels, making the sound travel up the airshaft into my little world. Some ridiculous game-show complete with a hungry-for-laughter compere and regular, explosive applause from the mouth-breathing bogans in the studio audience.

I pottered down to his landing and knocked on the door but there was no answer. So I went down to the front door and buzzed him with the intercom. "Hello?" he said when he picked up. "Look, sorry to disturb you. It's Matthew from upstairs." Silence. Then a loud 'click' was heard as he hung up the handset in his unit. I repeated the exercise. The second time I buzzed him he didn't even answer, he just hung up straight away.

Back in my apartment, I called the police and explained to them the situation. It was about 5.30pm at this time and the operator asked me if the noise was excessive. Not unbearable, I said, but it was as loud as a voice inside my room. "That's excessive," she said. She promised to send a car around soon, and hung up. I waited.

In the meantime the explosive television from downstairs continued to infringe on my privacy, making it impossible to work or even read stuff on the internet. I suffered in silence for a while, then resorted to my own television, which I switched on at low volume and settled down on the couch to watch a chat show on the ABC.

Finally, at about 6.20pm the police buzzed me on the intercom but by this time the guy downstairs had had enough of his own sonic effluvium and had turned off the television. I informed the officer of this and he said that it was better not to go up because it might "aggravate" my neighbour. What about my aggravation, I thought. But I said merely, "OK, thanks", and let the police go about their other business.

It would have been useless to bring them up as the way it works is that the officer must judge on the merits of the case whether there is a reasonable cause for complaint. It is an individual, on-the-spot decision. If there is no sound there are no grounds on which to interrupt a person's evening by knocking on their door.

I felt drained after this, and found it impossible to concentrate even on a book, so I switched off the light and spent the next hour listening to my racing heartbeat as the episode of aggravation started to morph into a full-scale panic attack. I fell asleep, at length. This morning, I feel tired but calm; a long way from the way things felt yesterday. There are still three stories to finish and another bout of noise pollution could make the whole enterprise jump the tracks.

Pic credit: Computer Arts

1 comment:

mollymalone said...

Commiserations. I've suffered noise pollution in many of the flats I've lived in, and now that I'm finally living in a detached house, I've got barking dogs next door that give me headaches from the stress they cause. Neighbour noise is definitely a health issue.