If you’re big into City Living in the urban core, you likely have imprinted experiences that can foretell precisely what will happen before it happens when it comes to those living around you. Today, I will share with you my secret for instantly knowing if your new neighbor is a good person or not — and you don’t have to meet them, or speak to them, to find out. Their one behavior will tell you everything.
When you live in a building with other people, you always have to negotiate the tricksy totems of living. Loud music, wild children, stomping feet above you, and banging on walls can quickly descend into ongoing fights and rifts that can never heal.
In my experience in apartment dwelling, I have learned that some neighbors are never worth the time it might take to ask them to temper their behavior because they are so totally unaware of how they come across in the building community; and to waste even a moment of your time trying to help them fit in is time lost when you could be out doing something useful like banging your head against a concrete wall to get them out of your mind.
The one and only indicator of a good neighbor — is listening for how they close their apartment front door. Good neighbors always catch the door and then close it quietly with their hand on the inside doorknob — even if their arms are full! — and they close the door in human speed and not hyper-accelerated-gravity-provoked-door-on-its-own-speed.
Lousy, boorish, neighbors always let the front door shut on its own — and that not just slams the door, but it also shudders the entirety of the wall around the door frame as well.
Neighbors-Who-Let-The-Front-Door-Slam are unreasonable and irrational. Never ask them a favor or to turn down their music or to give you a helping hand. They are incapable of human compassion. They are unaware. They are selfish. They refuse any glimmer of human kindness — unless, of course, that consideration is 100% directed their way. You just have to wait them out until they move, or you move on by moving out.
Neighbors-Who-Catch-The-Front-Door-And-Close-It-On-Human-Terms are great candidates for best friends. You can always reason with those neighbors. They are aware of others around them. They comprehend the notion of social dwelling and how selfishness and boorishness belong only in the street below and not inside residential hallways.
If you are a door-slammer — there is hope for reformation of your bad behavior! You’ll have to think of others around you first, though. I know putting yourself second is hard, but you can do it one-less-door-slam-at-a-time by consciously closing the front door of your apartment with your actual hand. Once you stop letting your door slam, you’ll discover a whole new world around you filled with eager and thankful neighbors who will be thrilled you’ve finally been clued in to the merits of living a proper humanity in a communal complex. Enjoy the quiet you create — your hand has earned it!
In the synagogue I attend in the morning there is a door that goes between the kitchen and the main sanctuary and it at one point was slamming all the time — if you didn’t catch it, it would slam and slam very hard. People went into the kitchen during the time for prayer and it drove me mad. I actually had my mother and stepfather buy a mechanical door closer and a friend of mine installed it — now no matter how hard anyone tries, they just can’t slam that door! (I made up a song about it slamming — that’s a good sign that something is bothering me 🙂 )
I’ve noticed the same thing with neighbors, David! It’s always nice to have a door catcher as a neighbor and not a Slammy Slammerstein.
I remember that story about the slamming door during prayers, Gordon, and it made no sense then — or now! — that people around you couldn’t pause a half-second to make sure the door didn’t slam. I’m glad you were able to mechanically solve the problem.
Yes, neighbors slamming doors is something that can rarely be addressed or fixed — because they are so unaware of their behavior. In their minds, they don’t think they’re “slamming” anything… they’re just letting the door close on its own… even if the result of their inaction ends in a door slam!