Noise pollution or in this case a form of torture…

The polite woman who returned my call Saturday evening assured me the problem should be resolved today, Monday*. Apparently she had been unaware of the terrible noise emanating from her building’s sky fan until Friday by which time it was too late to have any maintenance person fix it. True or not her neighbours have been suffering the most ghastly assault on our hearing, to say nothing of our fraying nerves for nearly a week. The piercing screech of metal on metal screams from the rooftop of the new building complex behind ours and reverberates down the alley ways and rebounds from neighbouring buildings to such confusing effect one at first had difficulty pin-pointing its source. Even with all the windows shut it was impossible to block the tortuous sound and only by thinking of it as not dissimilar to the chorus of summer cicadas did I manage to sleep..

I have just dared to open the French doors, tentatively hoping the problem has already been fixed, but alas no. Perhaps even as I write a skilful technician is already on the roof investigating. I’ll take a look when Max gets his mid-morning walk. While doing so earlier a neighbour, busy watering her desperate garden popped her head above the wilting shrubbery to give her up-date. She too had phoned the building manager but evidently got a rude husband rather than his very civil wife. This lovely neighbour, who devotes her free time to rescuing distressed wildlife wasn’t having any of his nonsense. She promptly phoned City Hall to complain and was assured they take these matters seriously. The important thing is to keep phoning apparently, thereby moving the complaint further and further up the registry until the bureaucratic wheels physically head in this direction to investigate. She recommends I do the same which I shall certainly do before much longer.

I have to say it amazes me just how much city noise one manages to blot out, not least considering my ideal habitat by comparison is in the woods of Nova Scotia where only the delight of Nature’s chorus assails one’s ears. In the space of an hour the other evening a building fire alarm down the road suddenly sprang to life but since the building is new and evidently unoccupied only the emergency services responded. Thankfully they managed to silence the wretched thing. But understandably they didn’t respond 30 minutes later when a near by car alarm inexplicably came to life, and neither did its owner. Does anyone pay attention to car alarms? All this of course in addition to the daily hubbub of fire engines and ambulance sirens. I suppose we are meant to hear these whereas the clanging of the train bells and cruise ship horns from the port somehow register in a different manner, in fact quite pleasing, especially in the dead of night. Not that our nights are ever that dead mind you; drunks, whores and party goers passing on bikes can punctuate the brief episodes of nocturnal silence at any hour. It’s all about adjustment I guess but I can’t believe consciously or not, the noise pollution doesn’t take it toll! On that sobering thought I may venture outback in hopes of seeing a man clambering about on our neighbour’s roof and if not, City Hall will be getting my call.

* Up-date: the problem was indeed fixed Monday afternoon to the great relief of the entire immediate neighbourhood!


It’s Raining bread….

Actually I think today the shower from our third floor neighbour looks more like tortillas; anyway the gulls, a gulping grey and white commotion of them have arrived within minutes to feast upon the unwholesome largesse. And thank God for them although its consumption can hardly be beneficial I at least have high hopes the lawn outside my window may soon be cleared of this annoying litter which rains down daily from the moron two floors up.

I assume he thinks he is doing the birds a favour and not in fact poisoning then and or their offspring with food I wouldn’t even feed to humans let alone wildlife. In any event he clearly has no regard for other residents or the fact he may well be attracting rats to say nothing of the horrid appearance of the newly cut grass. Last night I happened to look out the window as a local very fat skunk scurried past, hardly pausing to give the day’s bread remnants so much as a disdainful sniff. Sensible creature!

I know of course I could and perhaps should complain in person, and I would certainly have grounds for mentioning my displeasure to the landlord. But the reality is our predecessor frequently expressed her annoyance to this neighbour as does the woman immediately above us; all to no avail! Even the post woman bemoans his actions citing the harm it probably causes the feasting birds. All dog walkers, of which I am one, have to wrestle with their pooches who usually make a grab at the ghastly garbage, although it has to be said Max, not a canine too fussy when it comes to roadside snacks, now actually avoids the white chunks.

A passer-bye recommended I report the man to City Hall for violation of whatever rules govern the proper recycling of food scraps but how far down that combative route does one really want to go? I’ve tried sweeping up the mess but the wretched man seems to regard the absence of bread as a clear sign the birds have consumed it all and now need a fresh helping. It seems like a no win situation so as I sit here watching the house sparrows tuck in (the gulls were scared away unintentionally when I got up to take their picture) I resign myself to bread showers for the foreseeable future.


Perhaps it is just that time of year when the status quo gets changed around a bit but a lot seems to be happening with our neighbours and I’m not exactly over-joyed.

This morning I was awakened at 3:30 by the expletives of the normally quiet woman immediately above us evidently arguing with her boyfriend; that in itself a novelty. The loud voices eventually fell silent only to be superseded by the obvious sounds of a passionate re-bonding. I’m not sure which was worst but in any event, just to add insult to injury, the couple then got up and decided to take her dog for a walk. It’s a large beast and decidedly noisy as it gallops down the stairs the other side of our bedroom wall.

Another couple, our very good neighbours in the adjacent apartment have just split-up. This morning I watched his pathetic figure leave the building carrying only a plastic bag and climbing in to his daughter’s car. He has fallen victim to a mother’s decision that she prefers offering shelter to her recently homeless daughter, a single mother fleeing the brutality of a violent lover. I suppose as excuses go it is reasonably plausible. We know the daughter and haven’t heard her baby son exercise his lungs. Fingers crossed!

Yesterday I learned another neighbour albeit in the adjacent building but well-known to us, has also departed, more dramatically to be sure: he hanged himself in the back of a paddy wagon! We called him the ‘Veggie Man’, a reference to an incident involving another neighbour, the former occupant of the apartment above us. This unsavoury character whom I named ‘The Hag’ was the bi-polar, prostitute partner of a minor drug dealer who delivered his merchandise on roller skates which he didn’t bother to take off in between the many visits back and forth to the apartment. Their day began roughly around one o’clock in the afternoon when they awoke, and ended, with any luck when they and their retinue fell unconscious at six in morning.  Needless to say it was a living nightmare of which we bore the brunt. But ‘Veggie Man’ was also a victim and one morning, around 3:00am, observing ‘The Hag’ from his third floor apartment leaving our building he rained down upon her an assortment of vegetables and  a couple of eggs.

Thankfully ‘The Hag’ and retinue have gone although it took a three-month fight with the Residential Tenancy Board to get them evicted. All things considered I suppose one disturbed night is nothing to complain about but you can understand my slight apprehension!