By Bill Primavera
Recently I was made aware that I’m probably a noisy person. Not to myself so much, but maybe to others. More and more, if I’m watching television in one room and my wife is in another, she’ll say mine is too loud.
I’ll always remember the surprise of once driving onto my property where I was to meet my trusty painter to discuss the job of repainting some of my interior spaces. I was a little late, so I jumped out of my car without turning off the motor or radio to unlock the place. My painter, who had worked for me for a long time, looked at me askance and said, “Knowing the kind of man you are, I never would have thought you’d play loud music in your car!” Yes, I like loud music.
For more than 40 years I lived on a property with no homes near me, but now that I’m living in a condo with neighbors across and down the hall, I guess my reverberating days are over if I’m to be a considerate neighbor.
Just last week, a gentleman across the hall asked if the piano playing he heard was coming from my unit. Oh, no, I thought! I’m only able to play the American Songbook and I’m so rusty after a 30-year absence from the keyboard that I’m sure Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers are rolling over in their graves. Since that time, I haven’t been playing late and have been using the soft pedal when I do.
Many of us have had some kind of proximity to a neighbor who is subject to noise we make. That can create problems, sometimes big ones. When I moved into my first apartment in the city, it was new, cheap construction and the floor above me had no carpeting. Living there was a single mother who must have regularly worn spiked heels and had a child who could only have been possessed by a demon.
When my wife and I married and shared our first apartment in another new building, there was an older gentleman who lived in the apartment right off the lobby who loved to share his life with the building’s other residents. He must have been involved with entertainment in the 1950s, because he would leave his door open and sing songs of that period without accompaniment. Only in New York, right? His favorite was “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation.” Whenever my wife and I want to refer to the intrusion of one person’s lifestyle, aka “noise,” into another’s, all we have to do is sing that song as code and it speaks volumes.
When we moved to the country, the vagaries of close proximity were lessened for sensitive ears and far different. There is the noise of lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and the biggest offender about which most of us complain, barking dogs, especially if they bark uninterrupted for too long. Most town codes have an acceptable length of time an owner can have a dog bark before a neighbor can ask that a warning be issued by the code enforcement officer.
For those of us who share condo or apartment walls, we have the same issues that those in the city have. I recently discussed this subject with a friend who told me that he shares walls on either side of his condo unit with other retired people.
“I know most things about their lifestyles,” he said, “like when the nice woman on one side of me can’t sleep and I hear her TV go on in the middle of the night. We just adjust.”
Sometimes it’s a matter of luck or circumstances. My neighbor in the condo across the hall from my top-floor unit asked me if I hear a noisy motor on the roof as he does. I don’t. He also indicated that he hears loud music until 11 p.m. and can’t determine its source, while my unit is usually like a tomb. But, you never know.
Just recently, the condo next to mine experienced a major water leak from a burst pipe in the sprinkler system, causing major damage. All the walls and flooring had to be replaced, and the loud drilling and hammering that ensued for more than a month was almost unbearable.
Failing all else, I employed earplugs, the only solution.
Bill Primavera, while a publicist and journalist, is also a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc. (www.PrimaveraPR.com). To engage the services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.