Respect

OK, so this is a bit of a deviation. This isn’t fiction. Also, trigger warning blah blah blah, you might find someone’s attitude offensive. My parents for their disrespect, the neighbors for their choices, or mine for being the devil’s advocate.

This concerns our neighbor. We live in an condo, with 6 units in our building. We’re on the second floor, so is she. She has a name but let’s call her Tyra.

Tyra has lived in the building longer than we have. It’s hard to know where to start, but here—Dad told me when we first moved in, about 11 years ago, he was freaked out, thinking there was a banshee or something paranormal. She yells at night. And sometimes in the daytime. Like real woman rage scream that’s quick, like YAAAAA. It’s hardly ever woken me up, but it bothers the heck out of my parents.

My parents have other issues with her, too. She smokes, and they always open the windows in the hallway, which bothers me. I mean, the closing of the windows bothers me.

To add the cherry on top (?), Tyra has a boyfriend. We don’t know what his name is, but I feel so bad for that man. She yells at him. They get in huge dramatic fights, and once Dad called the cops. Tyra freaks out for what sounds like unfair reasons, and the guy just tries to defend himself. I literally found myself on loveisrespect looking up when to call the cops. Why the heck he stays (they don’t live together, he only comes to visit) is beyond me. But he does. And he did a few days ago.

This is where the “respect” part comes in. My mom always sighs, right on cue, whenever Tyra yells. The other day, when she was screaming all day (I feel so city-kid writing about this), Mom was sighing and shifting around all day. I told her to please knock it off, shhhh, and have some respect for Tyra’s lifestyle.

Yes, I’m weird, I thought we settled this.

Dad isn’t any help either. He insists on turning on the heater (it’s a space heater and he sets it to fan to cover the sound) when Tyra annoys him.

Then the downstairs neighbor called. It was a little while later (a week? IDK). When I was little, I liked to roller-skate in the apartment, and she didn’t like this. We went to mediation (where you talk it out to avoid suing) and we put down rugs, etcetera. We try to be quiet, too, but Mom threw that out the window with spring cleaning, Dad with his out-loud reading of The Princess Bride and me with my new habit of spinning things in the air and catching them (I don’t always catch them). So the downstairs neighbor, let’s call her Vivian, called.

Again, my parents showed no respect. All she said was that she was tired of things hitting the floor and if we could please put down rugs (we have a rug, we’re just HEAVY AMERICANS so we stomp). So my parents made fun of the call, deleted the message, and ignored it.

Moments like these are why I’ve already decided, when I grow up and have my own phone, to pick up the phone every time I’m home (oh yeah, and we have a landline, so we don’t hear calls till we get home). No snubbing people or even robots, that’s just rude. The Red Cross calls about 10 times a day, maybe they’d stop if we answered.

This time Dad is the main disrespectful one. Vivian works from home and she doesn’t like going out, and Dad keeps making side comments that it’s bad for her mind to stay in so long (she’ll stay in for a week or more). I keep telling him it’s her lifestyle choice, he shouldn’t complain. People tolerate us, and we have a very weird lifestyle (almost no stuff-shopping, vegan, matriarchal, only basic rules, travel all the time, homeschooling, total lack of razors, lack of genders, other potentially annoying stuff).

I’d be interested to hear the reader’s opinion on this. Do you think I’m right to want Mom and Dad to cut the neighbors some slack, or do you think the neighbors are truly in the right to yell and complain respectively, or do you think my parents are right? I just think my parents should accept other people’s lifestyles.

(Wow, I just wrote a lot. Why can’t I do that when I want to write stories.)

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