Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
Our neighbors are addicted to power tools. Specifically weed whackers
and drills, both of which they operate at unreasonable hours,
especially on weekends. My husband and I both work, so sleeping in
on Saturday/Sunday is our only form of luxury, and on a weekend
evening our preference is to sit in the yard with a cold gin and tonic,
preferably acconmpied by silence. Is there a polite way to ask them to
keep things down during our rest periods? For the record, they’re
retired and could make a racket anytime. But they seem to want to
bother us, even though they smile and are cordial when we interact.
Dear Had It:
Before you talk to them, equip yourself with knowledge of local
ordinances. Sadly they may not be sufficiently stringent for you to get
your way. But at least you’ll know what the prevailing community
standard is. The next time your neighbors are making noise, go visit.
You could soften the message with a plate of cookies, but go together,
and ask if they can talk, two and two. Explain clearly and simply what
you want. Be prepared for them to give you all the reasons it’s not
possible. Under no circumstances lose your temper. Just quietly repeat
what you are asking for, that they work with their power tools during
weekday working hours, and respect that working folks need
weekends to rest up.
Most people would cease and desist, at least a little, for a while. If
they do not, try to enlist other neighbors to make the same visits. It
may take a few tries, but the message will penetrate. As long as
everyone is smiling while they talk, even if it’s fake, there’s still hope
for peace as well as quiet. I’ve seen these noise wars escalate, and
they can get ugly as well as noisy. Avoid that at all costs.