HomeLife & StyleI Don’t get it, do you?. . . neighbourly etiquette

I Don’t get it, do you?. . . neighbourly etiquette


I am a 36 year old — I’d like to think — lady, but feel as if I’m 1003. Every other day I look in horror at things happening around me, and say to myself, “never in my day”.

I have come to believe that I am so old school that my kids’ great grandmother is more modern than I. So much so that I felt the need to communicate at large and find out if it’s just me who doesn’t get things or what!

I will share with you certain events that occurred, leading up to New Years’ Eve.

Firstly, much to the dismay of all pets in our neighbourhood, we had the pleasure of being treated to amateur fireworks displays.

Back in my day, fire-crackers or fireworks at home were a definite no-no.

Treated as highly illegal, you had to seek the police and fire brigade’s permission to even think of buying, let alone setting them alight.

Nowadays, firecrackers are as available as bread in a supermarket.

Free for all to buy, and free for all to set alight as and when they please. Secondly, as a matter of principle, we would write letters to inform our neighbours of our intent to have parties, or gatherings that would produce loud noise beyond 10pm.

Should anyone even have attempted to do so back then, believe me, the law was laid down swiftly, as police came in full force to literally keep the peace.

It seems this is not done anymore, or is it that people are not complaining anymore? Is it that, because we either own our houses or are paying rent, we feel we have the right to make full use of every nook and cranny, even the air outside, which unfortunately happens to spill over to our neighbours.

Is it my right to play music or make noise — even at my gate in my car — because I am still in my space?

Or is it that in this era of globalisation, we are all supposed to be on the same Facebook page, where we freely share everything on and over our wall?

Anyway, going back to my story, a week prior to New Years eve, sadly our neighbour lost the mother of the home.

As is tradition in our African culture, a red cloth was tied outside to signify that there was a funeral.

Mourners gathered to console the family (again as is custom) and sung comforting songs throughout the night.

Across the road, as if in competition, the house dwellers there happily blasted music, and I assume, were having the time of their lives.

Help me here, because I really don’t get this. Is it or is it not neighbourly etiquette to show respect by playing music at a decent volume past 10pm, and even more so whilst your fellow neighbour is in mourning.

Should we assume that they observed one minute of silence, and then hey, life goes on!

Not only were they playing music at a phenomenal volume, they also treated the entire neighbourhood to songs with such profanity and vulgarity that we were tempted to put ear plugs in our kids’ ears.

Just so I know that I am not as ancient, and backward as I think, I ask of you “Do you get it?” If you do, please e-mail me.

Until next time, in my world of horrors, take great care.

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