My neighbor came over this morning and ripped me a new one. She and her middle aged roommate were livid that my children filled the air with laughter on a Saturday morning. As soon as I heard the loud pound on the door I knew who'd be on the other side, Lorraine the angry, pot growing hippy from next door. As she literally trembled with rage she barked "This is ridiculous. I'm so tired of this shit. You have no idea how much we have to put up with your noise". She went on along these lines for another minute or so at which time I asked "Are you done?" She gasped indignantly, I said "good bye" and calmly closed the door. I would have engaged in conversation with her if she wasn't so hostile and aggressive. I knew the wiser move, given her demeanor, involved few words and better timing. I've got to confess though, I was pretty irritated and did the oh-so-common "I shoulda said this or that kind of thing". Let's just say I was ruminating on my next move when low and behold, guess who shows up at my house again!
This time she was much calmer and her bark had regressed to more of a lecture. I listened to her for a few minutes and then unleashed my own best monologue. This is what I said, please keep in mind my tone was very gentle all the way through even though my words were very direct. "Please don't come to my house again if you're going to approach me with the kind of disrespect I saw this morning. You should have come to me a long time ago, before you were livid if my kids laughing and playing was so bothersome to you. I honestly didn't realize children's laughter could be so infuriating. You clearly have a low tolerance for noise. If children laughing makes you so mad, then do you hate puppies and rainbows and kitty cats too? Have you noticed that you have conflicts with all the neighbor's? Everyone else seems to get along fine but I heard you and the other neighbor screaming obscenities from over the fence just the other day. It seems like the common problem is you. But that's not the point. My big question is what do you want from us? I'm happy to keep my kids quieter if that's what you need, but I don't know what you consider loud. I don't know the times to keep them quiet. When?" She says, half laughing at herself "Twenty-four seven". "Ok" I say "We both know that's not realistic. How about you tell me (she works from home as a new age astrologer) when you're going to meditate or do your guided imagery and I'll make sure to have the kids in the house for an hour or two. I only ask that you speak to me with respect and well before you're about to rip someones head off". "Ok" she says, "I'll do that". At one point in the conversation she did acknowledge that she should have approached us about the noise before she was livid and that that was something she is working on. I appreciated her humility on that one point and I think my willingness to work with her schedule disarmed her a bit as well. Overall the conversation ended ok. It was definitely a spicy one though! I'm just glad we're moving.