Living with Difficult Neighbors, Part One
All of us have one time had to deal with difficult neighbors. Like chicken pox, it’s pretty much a universal thing. Unlike a vial contagion, however, sometimes bad neighbors are a bit harder to shake.
My history of rentals in the Philippines has been rather horrific. Whether finding a place that’s too far from the conveniences of the city, homes over run with bugs (no screens) or one’s that are lackign provision for air conditioning (yeah, that was pretty stupid), having me go scouting for a place was pretty much a certain recipe for disaster. Our present place in Dumaguete seemed pretty ideal – a small, 2 bedroom house with window screens to keep out the mozzies and giant flying beetles, provision for the installation of air conditioning, and a nicely landscaped yard with a steel gate, heavy security grates over the windows, and 2.4 kilometers from the city center. As with everything however, sometimes you just have to wait for the other shoe to drop.
That shoe came in the form of a fellow American. “Tom” appears to be in his late sixties and first introduced himself by informing that that he had PTSD, was bipolar, and was also an alcoholic. I am not sure if he meant an active alcoholic or not, and if he is in recovery, I’d just like to apologize in advance for breaking his anonymity.
Our problems with Tom first started with noise – specifically, him playing his disco-grade audio system (complete with multi-thousand watt amplifier and full size PA speakers) at a ridiculously loud volume. Michell was the first victim of this sonic assault. She was trying to sleep after a long night shift at her job when the walls started to shake to some old school blues. As dust fell from the ceiling, she voiced her disapproval but didn’t complain to him. The next day – while she was at work – Tom started in again with the wall of sound. I got his attention by peeking over the wall between our lots and giving him a holler. He was out working on his gardening, and he likes to listen to his music while doing so. I told him quite diplomatically that Michell was coming home from work and needed some sleep, and requested that he turn it down. He hemmed and hawed a bit and then stomped inside to aquiesce. Cool, I thought, he’s not so bad after all. Later on that night, we got hit with a boat load of videoake music, and Tom told me later that his wife/girlfriend had gotten drunk and said “Ah, screw the new neighbor…..”
I ran into Tom a few days later at a market down the street. He approached me and asked – rather aggressively – “Are we cool” Informing him that we were never “uncool,” he then let me know that he wasn’t going to be told what to do by anyone. Remembering his bipolar/PTSD/alcoholic introduction, all I was pretty much capable of was a rather lame “Ah, OK………”
Since then, Tom has been kind enough to only blast his music about 45 minutes a day. As long as it’s not when Michell or I are trying to sleep, I guess I can live with that.
One last note: I find it extremely ironic that after hearing about the horrors of Filipino neighbors in regards to excessive noise (roosters, dogs and karaoke), the biggest issue that I have here is with a fellow American. LOL – yet another reason for me to be telling people that I am actually Canadian. 🙂
Tomorrow, I’ll relate the other half of the story of how Tom achieved the title of “Bad Neighbor.”
My First Internet Drama
Well, I guess it was only a matter of time. After a time of steady growth on our Youtube channel and website, I encountered my first real negative experience with a subscriber today. The day had actually started pretty well. I had my coffee, had played a little Borderlands 2, and was settling down to repsond to viewer comments when I saw that someone had noted that I still had an active profile on FilipinoCupid. Now, I hadn’t used that site for years, but that was beyond the point. He then went on to say that I was 47 years old (true), had used a photo taken when I was much younger (mostly true – it was an eight year old photo that I still use as an avatar on social sites), and was looking for a 23 year old (false – looking for a 23 to 40 year old) for a long term relationship (he left out friendship and penpal, but hey, it’s his comment). Basically he was trying to say that I was a phony as I said that I was looking to learn more about the culture and language of the Philippines when I was on the site that I met Michell. Then he went into how I was a “creepy, old, pervert” just like all the other deviants that are living in the Philippines chasing after younger women. Now, until this point, the subscriber in question had been one of most prolific posters, having nothing but good things to say to us. Then, this morning, he turns a 180 and starts throwing his dreck on our sites without even giving the respect of doing it privately. After some debate, I decided that I had to remove his comments and stop him from posting anymore (ban). Ugh – so that’s how a beautiful morning turned into a drama fest. I even had to wait til Michell got home so I could show her the old FilipinoCupid account (I had forgotten the username and password but remembered the email) and take it down.
I honestly have no idea why the subscriber completely turned on us like this – I can understand him feeling betrayed by seeing an old dating account of mine (and I KNOW he saw the “”Last Active” listing which showed me not using it for years), but this was really unexpected and just a shame on all levels. If he had only asked me about it privately, we could have avoided this whole drama. Well, that and not publicly called me out as a “creepy, old, pervert……”
I’m not old!