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I don't know about you, but when I read noise stories such as the
following they usually have a cathartic effect on my state of mind.
I hope it will affect you in a similar fashion.
President - NoiseWatch
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 11:33:35 -0500 (EST)
From: NoiseWatch <email@example.com>
Subject: Let the good vibes roll
The Globe & Mail
Welcome to the News Section
FACTS & ARGUMENTS
Let the good vibes roll - without me
The noise, fire, flood, the truculent tenants, the crazed
sermonizer were a bit of a trial, but the energy was good.
Friday, December 5, 1997
By Rachel Leigh
THERE'S something about me and renting. Some kind of weird energy that
draws me into the most awful situations. Chateau Apartments, like
Winston Smith's building in 1984 , smelled of boiled cabbage. The hot
water tap in the kitchen dripped continually, the bathroom was covered
in mould, and the guy next door had loud sex most nights. At
Montecello Gardens, the landlady's kids practiced piano at 7 a.m., and
the constant scratching of the basset hound's nails on the floor
nearly drove me mad. On Alliance Street, I lived above a dozen
dreadheads who spent their nights drumming, listening to The Dark Side
of The Moon, and smoking really harsh-smelling weed. But my last
renting experience topped them all.
Decent apartments were hard to find, but this one had a yard with a
pear tree and a shady rowan. Wild roses grew out front, and there was
even a view of the lake. And the landlord seemed like a nice enough
guy, despite his bright purple pants and slightly unfocused eyes.
"This is a building for quiet, mature tenants. I want to have good
energy in my buildings. And I get really good vibes from you."
So we moved in. The next day I broke out in red spots. Turned out I
was allergic to the new carpet.
"Gee," said my landlord. "Maybe you should put in a big fan for a
couple of days."
I vacuumed for two hours, borrowed a fan, and spent the night at a
friend's house. The spots disappeared, but the next week, I ran into
my landlord on my way home. "There are some new people moving in
upstairs, Lynda and Christy. They're kind of young, but I get really
good vibes from them."
That night, my new neighbours had a party on the balcony, right above
my windows. And the next night, and the next. I knocked on the door.
Lynda and Christy arrived a moment later, one small, anxious and
apologetic, one tall and coolly scrutinizing.
"I live downstairs, and I'm trying to sleep. Could you please keep it
"We're so, so sorry -- we just didn't realize we were making noise,"
the shorter woman assured me, eyes round, remorse accentuated with
thick rings of black eyeliner.
"Yeah," said the other, leaning uninterestedly against the doorframe.
But things didn't improve. I called my landlord, and he suggested we
all have a meeting. Good communication, he stressed, was very
important. And would I mind having this meeting in my apartment?
At the meeting, my landlord, cross-legged on a cushion and
communicating earnestly, looked like he was about to levitate. Lynda
was apologetic, Christy alternately bored and defiant.
"It's my apartment, and I should be able to do what I want," she
"I'm really sorry," said Lynda. "Christy can be kind of a bitch
Christy moved out and Lynda's friend Kate moved in.
"I hope you don't mind partying," Kate said, "because I like to
She not only liked to party, she walked like a sasquatch, slammed
doors, and took care to make extra noise at night. We went upstairs to
"MY MUSIC IS NOT TOO LOUD, YOU [UNPRINTABLE] LOSER BUMS," Kate
bellowed, as the kid she was babysitting watched wide-eyed.
"I'm really sorry," said Lynda. "Kate can be kind of a bitch
When we got back downstairs, Kate was jumping up and down on the
floor, still screaming "[Unprintable] losers!"
I phoned my landlord with an ultimatum.
"Either you kick them out, or we're moving."
Reluctantly, he agreed. "But I really think that a meeting would have
been a good experience for all of us."
He called back with good news. Within the month, Lynda and Kate would
be gone. After a few subdued days, he phoned, sounding dazed.
"Kate's cheque for the rent and damage deposit bounced today, and when
I called to tell her, she said she didn't owe me anything. I'll have
to take them to arbitration."
Two peaceful weeks passed. Then my landlord phoned. Lynda and Kate had
decided to take him to arbitration too. Could I write a letter saying
he was a good landlord? And by the way, he'd found a great new tenant.
"She's a single mom with a little baby," he said. "She's kind of
young, but I get really good vibes from her."
The landlord left on a trip to Arizona, and Sally moved in. She and
her boyfriend, Mike, seemed agreeable, and Sam, their one-year-old,
looked like a nice little boy. But they stayed up most of the night,
talking and smoking on the balcony right above our windows. And Sam
began to walk, his steps thudding down to us like large hailstones in
a prairie thunderstorm.
We talked to them about the noise, and things were quiet for awhile.
Then Kieran moved into the building next door.
Kieran came as a total surprise. I was mowing the lawn and stopped to
look at the garden.
"SLOTH!" proclaimed a voice from above. "He rewards those who toil!"
I turned in the direction of the voice. A hand grasped the thick green
curtain on one of the second-storey windows.
"Power! Power!" it continued. "He will give you strength!"
Kieran continued to offer inspirational thoughts as I worked, unseen
behind his heavy curtain. After that, the sermons came frequently,
often in the middle of the night. Sometimes he talked about morality.
Sometimes he described how They were out to get him. Invariably, he
We went to visit the police.
"Oh, you live next door to old Kieran, do you? He calls us up just
about every day. Most of the time we just put him on speaker phone and
he'll preach for hours. But he's harmless."
"He's up on charges for spraying someone with Raid," protested the
other officer. "He thought he was making an arrest with pepper spray."
We asked if we could charge our neighbour with disturbing the peace.
"Nope. There's nothing we can do about him. Maybe he can get some help
when his charges come up."
My landlord returned from Arizona and I told him about Kieran.
"Whoa, he sounds kinda dangerous. Maybe I should talk with the
Perhaps thanks to the police, Kieran calmed down completely. But
within a few days, loud banging and shouts of "FIRE!!!" disrupted the
Sally had gone out, leaving a hot curling iron on the bed. Nothing
much had been damaged because someone next door had spotted the smoke
We decided to give notice.
"Gee, I'll be really sorry to see you guys go," the landlord said.
"We've been through a lot together."
"Yup," I agreed, "it's been good communicating."
Just before we left, Sally came in from a late night of partying and
fell asleep in the shower. Mike had found her two hours later, still
fast asleep as water poured down the heating ducts into our apartment.
"Whoa," said my landlord, "Sally must be a really sound sleeper."
As I packed our things, the landlord showed the apartment to the new
"This is a quiet building for mature tenants. I'm getting really good
vibes from you . . ."
Rachel Leigh rents in Nanaimo, B.C.
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