Sensationalism Serves No One
The ghetto’s not all bad. There is more crime, because the people are destitute (in the US!), and not being able to provide for one’s family is a terrible burden to bear. It’s enough to make anyone crazy. Toss in the fear of sending your children to school alone each day knowing they might come home in a police car or ambulance, a little color hatred, and a whole lotta mistrust, and the place is a venerable powder keg.
My neighbors have mostly been assholes of varying degrees. The racism, or fear of racism, has been rampant. And true to form, we’ve got another set of assholes living upstairs.
They hate us because we’re white. They think that, because we’re white, we hate them because they’re black.
Thing is, we don’t like them because they’re dicks. Last I checked, black folks didn’t corner the market on being dicks. There are quite a few dickish white, red, yellow and brown people. A dickish person can be male, female, or transgender. They can have blue, brown, green, or hazel eyes; brown, red, blonde, black, gray, or unnaturally colored hair. If you’re a dick it’s just because you’ve chosen to be a dick. You weren’t predestined to it based on any physical attribute.
With these neighbors, it started out harmless. They have young, rambunctious children who, for whatever reason, don’t get to spend a lot of time outside, so they roughhouse indoors. It wouldn’t be such a problem, except they live upstairs in a building that’s close to a hundred years old, and is being held together by the dirt and grime. Even the semi-new drop ceilings are beginning to sag in places, and there are cracks in the walls. And eventually, the inevitable happened. The kids jumped so hard that one of the supports to the ceiling snapped and the stationary ceiling fan swung so hard it almost smacked the tiles.
So…I went upstairs. Though I was mad as hell, I kept my cool when a girl between 15 and 18 answered the door. I explained that the jumping is breaking my ceiling, and I asked her, politely, to ask the kids to settle down so no one in our place would get hurt.
She told me that it was the baby, who can barely toddle and comes up to my knee. She said she couldn’t hear him over the radio, but that she would watch him more carefully.
And then it got worse.
Shortly after the escalation, we had cause other than the shaking house and crumbling ceiling to talk to the neighbors. Someone had switched the meters to our power and we were paying their higher bill. So we took the opportunity, again, to ask them to keep the children from getting carried away, reminding them that it’s causing damage to our ceiling.
Again, the harassment got worse. Finally, after they kept us up till well after 1am, we called the landlord, who couldn’t care less. And it again got worse.
For a week they did everything in their power to try to make our lives a living hell, and succeeded. A ceiling tile in the bathroom fell multiple times. The more we tried to fix the situation, the worse they got, until finally, we’d had enough and we found a place to move. So then they started blocking us in.
This, I think, is when the landlord finally contacted them. I think he forgot to mention their car being in our way. Suddenly, it was silent upstairs, but the car was more obviously in our way.
Through all this, though I ranted on Twitter and to my friends, when I spoke to my landlord (who is required by law to maintain a safe living space for his tenants) and the neighbors, I kept it real while maintaining a respectful decorum.
Let me put emphasis on that, so you don’t miss it. I kept it real while maintaining a respectful decorum even though these people were endangering the welfare of me and my loved ones.
The neighbors, however, chose to hear what they wanted to hear. Instead of, “My ceiling is falling on my head.” they heard, “I want it absolutely silent upstairs.” and acted accordingly, even going so far as to make the baby sit still all day when he’s here.
That’s fucking stupid. And it doesn’t make me look like an asshole. It makes them look like childish, sensationalist morons who twist every situation to make themselves look like victims.
I know quite a few people, especially online, who do this on a regular basis. They think it makes them look edgy to call people out on calling them out on their bullshit, as if other people don’t have a right to hold their bullshit against them.
I have a better idea. Grow the fuck up and learn to accept the fact that, occasionally, you’re going to piss someone off. And when you do, don’t try to twist it around so you don’t feel or look bad for making someone else feel or look bad. Instead, face the problem head on, respectfully and with an interest in resolving it. Leave your temper at the door. And above all, when you’ve reached an impasse, accept it with grace and dignity rather than stomping your feet like a child and demanding your own way.
And if you can’t do that? Then let me invite you to go fly a kite till you’ve matured a little.
And that’s all I have to say about that.