About a year ago, we bought a home on a quiet cul-de-sac in a nice neighborhood. We noticed that the next-door neighbor’s backyard had a concrete half basketball court, but every time we came to the house for showings, inspections, etc., no one was ever playing basketball. We figured it wouldn’t be a problem…
It turns out that our neighbor’s five kids and their friends use this court on a daily basis, from sunup to sundown, each on their own practice schedule. Recently, they started a nightly basketball camp where dozens of kids come to play. Inside our home, with windows and doors closed, we hear the bang of the balls being bounced and hit against the backboard, along with occasional yelling and music.
Upon moving in, we were welcomed to the neighborhood by these neighbors, and they told us to PLEASE let them know if the noise level was ever a problem. When the music level became too loud, we kindly asked them to turn it down, and they complied. A second time, they responded that due to the nature of their backyard, there will be extra noise here and there, and that is part of living in a neighborhood.
Short of moving away, how can we escape all this noise without making enemies with our next-door neighbors?
Dear Double Teamed,
I (bang!) know (boing!) exactly (clang!) what you mean (nice shot!). Seems like every neighborhood has their local “teams.”
Hopefully, with back-to-school underway, this problem will slowly disappear. But there’s no guarantee that it won’t come back again on weekends, vacations, and school shutdowns in the spring. So, use this opportunity to sit down with your neighbors, since they have less at stake at the moment, and explain that the full day schedule got to be overwhelming. Ask if there is a way that, going forward, they could limit the playtime to not before 9:00 AM and not later than 9:00 PM (or some other combination). Maybe they can even alternate days by using the houses of their boys’ friends.
If they are reasonable, they will work on a compromise. If not, you have to take the Hafetz Hayim approach:
As a young man, he thought he was going to change the world. Then he realized he might only be able to change his city. And then perhaps only his community. And then he realized, he can only change himself.
As difficult as it is to live with (and I KNOW what you mean), change your attitude. Do what you can to limit their playtime, soundproof your rooms by putting up heavy drapes and high-pile rugs, and then learn to accept the test. What did we just read on the High Holidays? Hashem is long-suffering, forgiving, overlooks transgressions, and doesn’t hold on to His anger. I’m not saying you’re not already doing this, but use this opportunity to become even MORE Gd-like. If you can’t change your neighbors, then your other option is to change yourself.
I hope that’s not a long shot.