DEAR AMY: My husband and I live in a gated community. About a year ago, we were shocked to see a player from a major league sports team buy the home directly next to ours. My husband was absolutely thrilled. We became friendly with him almost right away, as his dog and our dog liked to play with each other in our connected front yards. Then suddenly, his notoriety increased overnight and the “chaos” began. Constant partying, loud music, a nonstop flow of people and cars going in and out. I was leaving for work one morning, and an insanely expensive car was blocking our driveway, and a young woman was passed out drunk in the passenger seat. She was fine, but the situation was frustrating, especially for me because I had to get to work. My husband and I agreed that he would talk to our neighbor. We agreed on a firm but polite approach. Several hours later, my husband came back home, completely drunk and raving about what a nice guy he was, saying he invited us over to hang out, and we should let it all go. I understand my husband likes to be connected to our neighbor’s celebrity status, so I feel alone in dealing with this situation. How do I handle this one?
Not a Fan
DEAR NOT: Your neighbor has co-opted many of your rights: the right to the quiet enjoyment of your own property, the right to privacy, and the right to have access to your vehicle so that you can go to work.
He has also co-opted your husband.
Do not drop this. Write down your specific concerns. The process should commence with an in-person, neighborly appeal from both of you (together): “We work in the morning and the volume of the music is so loud that we can hear it in our bedroom with the windows closed.” And, “Last week I couldn’t get to work because a car was blocking the driveway and a woman was passed out inside it. I was so worried about her I wanted to call the police.”
I assume that this personal appeal might not have much of a long-term impact, but now you would have modeled the kind of polite behavior and respect that you would like him to adopt.
Keep detailed notes of dates and times and take photos or videos during disruptions, as well as your conversations with him about this. In the future, if nothing changes, call the police if necessary.
Take your overall concerns to the organization that runs your gated community.
And then get your lawyer involved.
DEAR AMY: I have a pet peeve about wasting food or water. At my local aquatic center, after swimming I have noticed that some bathers just stand in the shower upward of 15 minutes, allowing the water to merely run down the drain. It drives me crazy, knowing that there’s such scarcity of clean drinking water in many parts of the world, and these clueless women are wasting so much of it! (I only use water to wet down and then to rinse off the soap. In between, I turn it off.) I’d like your opinion on what I should say or do. Would it be impolite to call this to the attention of the perpetrators, or should I just grit my teeth and mind my own business?
Not Water Logged
DEAR NOT: Do not disturb fellow swimmers in order to tell them how to behave. It is not only impolite, but obnoxious. You could approach the management of your center to ask them what measures they take to preserve water. Perhaps you could have an impact through this advocacy, versus lecturing fellow swimmers.
I need to point out that the fact that you have access to an aquatic center in the first place speaks to your willingness to use (or “waste”) water for your recreational needs when you want to. How many thousands of gallons does it take to fill that swimming pool?
DEAR AMY: “Job Concerned” was being pressured by his father to leave his current job and join the company where his father works. Your advice was good, but I would add that he should try to get an offer from the second job; his current boss might value him enough to give him a good raise.
DEAR EXPERIENCED: I agree it is smart to leverage offers, if possible.