LIVING IN PEACE AND DISTURBING THE PEACE: LEARN HOW TO LIVE IN THE BIG CITY
I. THE TRANSITION MISSION
Coming from Nashville and an area where there were large lots and homes well built to block out a lot of noise, and homes set back from the street and off the main thoroughfares, I became accustomed to not only keeping the noise level down for the benefit of neighbors and family, but to not having a lot of noise from the outside to deal with. People in my family were pretty civil when it came to not making a lot of noise in the evenings and at night. Mostly the noises came from storms and the occasional flurry of travel activity in some early mornings, along with jet noise from the airport a few miles away. Being polite and respecting others was just a part of daily living as regarded making unnecessary noises.
II. LIFE IN THE BIG CITY STILL REQUIRES RESPECT FOR OTHERS
In the big city however, in a place like Chicago, activity is constant and people have different schedules. Still, that does not mean that you can make as much noise as you want and not think whether or not it is disturbing others. Most likely it is to some degree, even though no one complains directly. No one should have to come to you or go to the complex managers or law enforcement to quell disturbances of the peace or check upon the belief that there is suspicious activity going on. In doing things very late or on a pattern take care in this instance, for patterns of activity might be taken by some to indicate drug activity, as in getting drugs ready for drops at certain times and places. By making unnecessary or late noises or noises in the early part of the morning you might attract attention from the law or from apartment managers or angry tenants who might not take kindly to the noises you are making once it is found out that you or your guests are the source of the disturbances. It is just better to keep the noises down and not attract attention in the first place.
No one should have to tell you to lower the noises; you should take care not to make excessive noises especially when you live in an apartment or condominium complex. That means simply that others do live around you and that you should have a care not to be loud after regular working hours. Many older buildings do not have soundproofing as some newer complexes do, so sounds such as slamming doors, toilet seats falling hard, heels on tiled surfaces, kids running around on uncarpeted flooring, and dropping tools carry through walls and ceilings, even though the actual action is not directly above or below where the sounds end up being heard.
It is simply keeping with what it means to be a “good citizen”. Now good citizens have certain qualities, among these being trustworthiness, accountability, honesty, and community service, keeping up with current events, voting and the like. But the golden thread that binds the other facets together is RESPECT FOR OTHERS. This is so vital, so essential to living together in harmony and maintaining discipline and good society. Respect is so simple, more so than being bad or rowdy or upsetting or arrogant. Being civil and polite are so basic, and really are easy to do, as to smile is better than to frown. It makes you look better, look good, have a better outlook on life and on daily activities.
In major cities with tall buildings, sounds can also carry oddly from the outside. Storms sounded very strange when I first moved here; echoing thunder and wind seemed to come from every direction as the storms came in and would whip around structures. Sirens seem to come from one direction when in fact they come from another, and yelling comes from corners, with horns, stereos from cars, and the humming, roaring motors of trucks or vehicles that need mufflers. Some noises are to be expected where, as in Chicago, there is a mix of old and new structures, high rises, apartment buildings in various states of repair and material construction, and people who do not pay attention while driving. With so much activity you can expect first responders to be active on occasion, and you might hear some shouting or screaming or the occasional brawl. First responder activity is part of big city life…
In-complex noises are not part of big city life.
You can take steps to prevent excessive noise or noises late in the evenings after eight or ten PM when people are settling down after hard days at work. Think of what it would feel like for you if someone made noise that prevented you from settling in or eating a meal in quiet or going to bed and getting up timely so you could do a good job at the office. I doubt it if you would appreciate someone making noises or being inconsiderate and impolite. You might take steps to see who it was making the noises and ask them to stop.
But then the noises should not be happening in the first place, should they? Remember, folks, you aren’t in a detached house with a yard or separate driveways. You live around others so changes are in order so everyone can live in peace and happiness and more contentment. You can take basic steps, such as closing doors quietly (no slamming), taking out your trash in a timely manner, taking off heeled shoes when you must walk on tile or other hard surfaces, setting down tools and parcels carefully (after all, tools can break too and they are expensive many times to replace, and if they belong to others all the more reason to be careful with the possessions), not allowing things to drop (yes accidents do happen but you can exercise care and caution and go slowly and not lift a lot at one time in order to lessen the chance of dropping something), holding parties in party rooms or outside of the complex, and making sure your guests are quiet and do not talk loudly in hallways.
Guests must be respectful as residents are respectful; they need to adhere to the rules of the complex and not use areas where it is required that they be accompanied by a resident. They should hold to the rules many bars and restaurants post, asking patrons to keep the noise down and leave quietly so as not to disturb neighbors. Everyone should take more steps to be mindful of the rights of others to peace and quiet and relaxation. Big cities have enough stresses and stimuli without people making more noise than is needed.
Civility does count, and that applies to EVERYBODY. It applies to me and to you, to all who deem they are good citizens. Civility has a place in every society.
Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2015.